“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.”
It’s easy to look at our society and draw the conclusion we are financially “bankrupting our nation.” It’s not that the conclusion isn’t factual. It’s that the sentiment is misguided and reveals our idolatry.
Christians are just as guilty too (maybe more so than our non-believing brothers and sisters). Our priorities and where we seek solutions is all out of whack. It’s true the government doesn’t have infinite resources, but the Church does! (Remember loaves and fish.) It’s just that we, the Church, choose not to exercise our authority for a bunch of reasons. Trust being one the most prevalent and long-standing.
But God says, “Trust me.” He says, “Test Me in this, and see if I do not open up the storehouses.” According to the Barna Group, only about 13% of the U.S. population attends church regularly (2 or more times a month). Of that 13% of regular churchgoers, less than 5% give the tithe (10% of earnings). The average giving is 2.5% of income. So if less than 5% of the 13% tithe, then it should be obvious why the government feels like it has to “bankrupt” itself to cover what the Church is equipped to do.
When I was a kid, my church wanted to build a gym to serve as a safe haven for the kids in the community. The gym was going to be built in the vacant lot next to our church. It wasn’t a massive project. It was really just big enough for a basketball court, an office and a few bathrooms. The estimate was $50,000 in all. We spent the next few years trying to raise the money. A few families gave. Now, this was not a congregation of means. The average annual household salary was less than $30,000. No one family would have been able to cover the whole cost. After about 5 years, we had raised about $12,000. Since building costs had increased in the subsequent years, the project was canceled. The money raised was used to fix other issues with the church building (pop-in AC units, windows, the alarm system). The city didn’t build a gym or after-school programs either. Instead the city funds were invested into prosecuting and jailing the kids who would have benefited most from the gym. It was sad. Even though no 1, 2, or even 10 families could afford to cover the cost, 50 or 100 or 150 probably could have. Imagine if 100% of the congregation’s families had just given something…
Daily Battle Order:
So what about us… What if 100% of church goers returned 10% to the Lord? What if 50% even gave 2.5%. Think about the tangible impact the Church would have on society. A few years ago, I was one of those who would say, “The government is bankrupting our future.” I felt like I was off the hook because I was giving to my church. Then, I took a look at my tax return, and I wasn’t giving as much as I thought. It was eye-opening, and we made a change. To keep us even more accountable, I shared the charitable donations and Adjusted Gross Income with a trusted friend.
The challenge for today is to look at your return: is what you tell the government you give away 10% or more of what you tell the government you make? Share the answer with a friend. Ask God to test you as He tests His Church to bless our nation with His infinite resources.