“The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it…”
PSALM 24:1As Christ Followers, we believe that we are stewards of God’s resources because He is the owner of all that we have. Throughout scripture, we are reminded of the importance of giving back a portion of what God has so generously provided. His Word tells us that giving is an act of worship that should be done with a spirit of thanksgiving.
As Christ Followers, we believe that we are to follow God’s command regarding tithing. “Tithe” means “tenth” or 10 percent. Leviticus 27:30 says, “A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD.” In Malachi 3:8-10 God speaks to His people, “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me. 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 you will not have room enough for it.”
We also recognize that Jesus talked more about giving than the subjects of heaven, hell, or prayer. In Matthew 6:21 and 24 Jesus says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also…No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” In Luke 6:38 He says, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
The apostle Paul spoke to the new churches about giving. In 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, Paul admonishes the Corinthian church, “Now about the collection for God’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.” He prompted the believers to be generous. 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 says, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” And in 2 Corinthians 8:7 he encourages, “But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.”
Harvest Time believes that we are mere stewards of what God has given us. Therefore, we see tithing as giving back what is God’s to God (and He lets us keep the other 90% to use appropriately). Any amount above 10% is considered an offering to God. This type of giving is over and above and should also be done with a happy heart. An offering is used to meet a special need to connects with your heart. This is why the Word of God tells us to give as we purpose in our heart (2 Corinthians 9). Giving can be to meet the need of an individual such as a gift for a person with some form of lack. Giving can be to meet the expand the ministry of the local church. Giving can be to extend the Gospel in the case of missions or international ministries that you may choose to support. These are only a few examples of venues of giving – in summary, an offering is simple something you willingly and cheerfully do as you are stirred in your heart.
Giving is a commandment. The storehouse spoken of in Malachi is what we consider the local church. By partnering our monies together, God’s work is done more effectively. Even Paul recognized this in the newly formed churches of the New Testament. He tells the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 8:13-15, “Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, as it is written: “He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little.”