Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty. Malachi 3:10-11
Eleven years, five months, and five days ago, I took my first step on a faith journey of tithing. Even though I had attended church my whole life and attended Life Church for six years, I had never really understood God's promises regarding tithing until one Sunday God revealed it to me in a way that would be revolutionary. Even right now, as I'm writing this to my faith family, I'm reminded of God's goodness in his timing. Many, like me, experienced the economic downturn from 2007-2009. This time proved to be the toughest season of business that I had ever experienced. I knew without God's direct intervention, our family business would not survive the financial storm we were sailing into. Even though I had begun taking baby steps of faith in my tithing, months would go by without any clear evidence of God honoring His promise. Nevertheless, week after week, God brought financial increase. I honored Him with the first fruits of our business. (Exodus 23:19) Given all we were up against, there can only be one explanation for why we continue to thrive years later…GOD KEEPS HIS PROMISES! In the passage above we see two benefits of tithing. In verse 10 we see a promise for provision, while in verse 11 we see a promise of protection. I can think of many examples of ways I've seen his hand of provision over the years of this adventure. I have had my own "Luke 5" kind of seasons where I pray for work contracts to come in so we can keep the shop busy. Then He is so generous He gives us more than we can possibly accomplish! Then I'm back on my knees asking for help to get all the work done! More than a couple of times I've seen Him provide just the right person at just the right time - His time. (Word of caution about that timing: He's never late, but He is rarely early, in my experience.) As for His protection, I can think of an instance a few years ago that I will never forget. There was a particularly large project up for bid, and I wanted it, real bad. I had been faithful with tithing at this point, so I just knew if I asked God for this job, believing, He would give it to me, right? He didn't. We weren't awarded the job, and I was crushed. I could hear voices of doubt creeping in. It caused me to question His promise. I thought, "Here is a perfect opportunity for You to throw open one of those windows of Heaven and fling that project on down!" Later, I'd be thankful He didn't. Little did I know, the contractor I had been trying to work for was on the FBI's radar for unethical business practices. Not only was their company investigated by the FBI, but so were all the sub- contractors that worked for them! I don't have anything to hide from the FBI, but there was a cloud of guilt that hung over all those companies for years to come. This is just one example when God quite literally saved me from myself. Aren't you thankful he does that for us? Most of us will never know this side of heaven how many times He rebuked the devourer on our behalf, just as He promised He would do in His Word.
Question: Are you trusting God with your firstfruits?
Challenge: Consider taking God up on His promise of provision and protection by giving Him the first 10% of your increase, and see what God does with your obedience.
Prayer: God, I'm grateful for your offer of provision and protection. Grant me the faith to trust you with the tithe of my first fruits