Although not raised in any church, I did happen to read my Bible.
Christians are exhorted to give.
Well, if you want to get your prosperity bucket filled, work hard, and invest your money.
Yet if you want your blessings bucket filled, you might be surprised at how faithful God is to His promises.
I began tithing out of my poverty...I had just been in my life changing auto accident, my husband had deserted me, my pride had gotten in the way of seeking the appropriate help for claiming the various insurance policies I had, and I was left with a total of $731.00 per month.
Now, no matter how you deal with it, $731.00 is not enough to live on in the US, much less in So. California, particularly if you have a house payment to make, prescriptions to fill, debts to pay, and so forth. And even if I was willing to starve, which I wasn't, 2 oversize Doberman's and a Coyote Mutt were not willing to go without their morning Dogbones, or their rabie's shots.
I call it the year of no mortgage.
Never having giving much of anything to anyone until that time, tithing seemed ridiculous.
Even so, I did that a word search through the Bible on giving, tithing, alms, and so forth in the Bible, and you know...it's there!
Jesus spoke of it when He criticised the Pharisees for their hypocrisy.
And grace only takes away the burden of the law unto death, for Jesus has already died for us.
The laws don't disappear, or why are we still following the Ten Commandments?
The penalty is gone for not being perfect, if we place our lives in Jesus' hands.
But what about those laws that are supposed to be written on our hearts?
Handing over my 10% of that $731.00 didn't bother me, after I read all the blessings that come with the law of tithing and first fruits.
And if you know you can't pay your bill, why not pay your tithe? I knew I was going to lose my house unless God took care of it for me. I knew I might lose it regardless of my tithe.
I didn't. The loan company gave me a signature loan refinancing my house and past due interest before I even got the few dollars that I could collect, my attorneys having missed the filing days for my lawsuits.
My social security went up over $500.00, but where I live, that's not enough to pay the house payment.
Then my family decided to pay it for me.
Their income went up the same year by 10,000 per year, and to this day, they do not understand what happened to make that extra money start coming in. They don't know or understand how God works.
They gave to me, so I could keep my little house.
God honored them helping the poor in their own family, and multiplied their giving.
I kept tithing...not being in a church, I give to Israel's orphans, to the Los Angeles Mission, supporting just one family with food for the month; for water wells and emergency food in Africa, for prison ministies, for missionaries, even for a Christian radio station that I think does a lot of good.
God just saved my water rights to the lower aquafer in my mountain valley...some of the purest, cleanest water seen in decades in California. Co-incidence? I don't believe in them.
I always have enough, and I don't know how it stretches. And what I give, well, it's not a lot, because I don't have a lot.
But God certainly seems to care that I tithe.
The blessing of the Tithe is one we can pick up, simply by listening to Jesus on giving.
In Luke 6:38. Jesus says, "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again."
And please do remember, Jesus was talking to Jews! They knew the laws on Tithing!
What they did not understand was the blessing that comes from tithing. No, not riches, but a constant, vigilant care of the Father for my welfare, because I choose to obey Him in this.
Under grace, I'm positive it wouldn't hurt my salvation not to tithe.
But my absolute trust that God keeps His word has been proven to me, so many times, that I am positive that it would hurt my circumstances if I choose not to give that 10%+ where He leads me to give it.
And it is always strange how 90% of my money pays for more than 100% of my money used to.
As for going above 10%? Definately, bit by bit, as I stretch to pull a few dollars more as the Holy Spirit prompts me.
And while I want to have enough to enjoy in this world, once I have all I need, I'd just as soon have my spiritual bank account growing, and accoumulating blessings!