The first time I heard this saying was from my pastor of 30 years Bro. Ray Newcomb. This particular remark couldn’t have come at a better time because God was convicting me to start changing my tithe from 10% of our net to 10% of our gross income. I struggled for quite a while with this conviction because there is a far cry difference from net and gross. That difference includes items like taxes taken out, 401K taken out, mandatory corporate charities like United Way taken out, and other nickel and dime deductions. Once one adds it up the difference was a huge additional sacrifice when you tack on 10% of that figure. So like most, I negotiated my actions. “God I’m being obedient in giving my 10% of my net, that’s better than what others are giving right?” Or my favorite, God let’s get through the holidays and we’ll start fresh in the upcoming year…I promise”! I actually thought I could negotiate with God.
I opened the bible and searched for every scripture about tithe from the Old Testament to the New Testament looking for an out. One would’ve thought I was a lawyer trying to prove my case in front of a judge and jury. The Old Testament did mention several references about giving of the 10% of your BEST fruits and offerings, and strangely enough the New Testament really did not cover much ground on tithing except for stories Jesus told like the mite and the widow. Then there are the passages surrounding the opposing camp of “Give on to Caesar’s what is Caesars and give unto God what is God’s”. I read through that multiple times trying to justify if this would fit into my particular case. However every time I turned a corner and thought that I had proven my point the conviction was still there. So I finally took the matter to my pastor. His remarks were simple and straight forward as most of his remarks have always been. “Would you rather God bless you on 10% of your net or 10% of your gross”?
The answer is obvious. Any person would rather be blessed on their gross opposed to their net but that in itself begged two questions. The first question regards the additional sacrifice that one would have to make to give of their gross. The second that struck me was should I feel right in giving to God to expect an equal and greater return? To me that seemed in a way very selfish on my part to expect a blessing from my giving. God had reminded me of several verses in the bible about sacrificial giving and will we have enough at the end of each month to live on. There was Matthew 6:26 Where Jesus said “Look at the birds in the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in their barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they”? If my family and I are sacrificially giving with a grateful heart then Yes My God will provide for my every need. Malachi 3:10 answered the question on receiving blessings in exchange for obedient tithing. Malachi said “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food for 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”. God openly blesses us and provides for us.
After much research, questioning, running, and avoiding my pastor’s words came back to me “Delayed Obedience is still Disobedience”. Scriptures will back my conclusions but it was GOD who convicted me to give. It wasn’t by pastor, or friends but the conviction from the Holy Spirit that said “Steve, test Me with your tithe. Trust me with your finances and your family’s needs; I am God I will provide”.
By postponing God’s demand I was still being disobedient because I was too busy looking for an out. God can convict anyone one of us to go be a missionary in Zimbabwe wearing a monkey on our head, and if we delay this conviction because the world will think we’re nuts, then you are still being disobedient. God taught me that very day that when He calls or convicts, to seriously consider it. Walk blindly with Faith and obey His commands. That very moment I bowed my head, asked for forgiveness for putting this off for so long, and my wife and I immediately started giving 10% of our gross. Does this make me a better person than the one who throws a $20 in the plate when passed? No. Am I much richer today than when we started obeying three years ago? Not significantly, but I have seen His hand pull me out of some pretty impossible situations. Have I missed a meal, or has my family gone without clothing since I followed Him in obedience? No. If God is convicting you today to do something that makes absolutely no sense at all in your eyes or the worlds eyes, consider trusting Him. Otherwise we’re just going thru the motions living our mundane lives, and missing out on all of the blessings God could be giving us if we had only chosen to Obey.