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October 2019

Financial Freedom God's Way

During August, the sermon series was on forgiveness; then in September we moved to worry; in October we take on tithing. Through this entire period, my hope is that we make a determined effort to see our life as an open book and allow Scripture to guide us.

For some time, I have been an admirer of Dave Ramsey and his teachings about attaining financial freedom by using Godly principles as our guide. It is important to know why you want to become financially free. His teachings stress finally breaking free of debt through determination and sacrifice. His most quoted statement is this: “Live like no one else, so that one day you can live like no one else.” Dave stresses that you and your family have to be motivated to change the way you live to overcome the obstacle of debt.

But with this article, I would like to share Dave Ramsey’s principles on tithing, because again, I like Dave’s plain and simple wisdom and Godly guidance on tithing. As the old saying goes: We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. Three big principles of any solid financial plan are to save, spend and give. Most people forget about the giving part, though, because they think mostly about saving and spending.

But giving—specifically tithing—is just as important. It softens the heart of the giver and frees their soul from dependence on money. You’ll never walk away from giving feeling bad! Giving comes in many forms, with your tithe being the most important, because it’s a biblical mandate.

What is a tithe? Let’s start with the basics. Simply put, the tithe is the first 10% of your income that should be given to your local church. It’s strictly measured in money, so you can’t replace it with giving your time or your talents.

What does the Bible say about tithing? According to Leviticus 27:30 (TLB), "A tenth of the produce of the land, whether grain or fruit, is the Lord’s, and is holy." And 2 Corinthians 9:7 (NIV) says, "Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."

What’s the difference between tithing and offerings? A tithe is an amount (a percentage of your income) and an offering is anything given beyond that, but not in place of the tithe.

After you’ve tithed, you can give in other ways: Giving a cash offering to your church above and beyond the tithe, giving money to a charity you support, giving to a friend or neighbor in need, or giving of your time or talents. Not only does giving of your money or other resources generate good in the lives of others, it also generates contentment in your heart.

Why should I tithe? The tithe was not put into place for God’s benefit—He already has everything He needs. He doesn’t need our money! (And "our" money is already His anyway.) Tithing is an act of obedience and should be given freely with pure motives. In other words, we give without expecting anything back in return. And it teaches us to be good stewards of what God has given us.

Tithing was created for our benefit. It teaches us how to keep God first in our lives and how to live unselfishly. Unselfish people make better spouses, friends, relatives, employees and employers. And they usually have better finances. God is trying to teach us how to prosper over time.

Finally, please remember, whether you’re giving a tithe, offering, or some other special contribution, it should come from your heart. It’s an important part of any financial plan, and it’s really the most fun you can have with your money! For God loves a cheerful giver! Blessings and financial peace to you,

Pastor Greg