I was sitting in a meeting once where the topic of church finance came up. The topic was evangelism and the statement was, “We have got to get more people in here to pay these bills.” No one disputes that it costs a lot of money to maintain and operate a church. If we are to do ministry and mission, it takes money. However, evangelism just for the sake of paying the bills, is not good theology, nor is it good evangelism.
Another person sitting quietly in the room spoke up. “We need to get more people to tithe,” he said. The earlier gentleman said, “Tithe, I don’t tithe and I won’t tithe.” The quiet man said, “The answer is in tithing.”
I have never been so proud of the man who offered the idea of tithing. For twenty-three years I have watched this man grow, from a young man starting out in marriage and a job, to grow into the leader he is today. Twenty-three years ago he wasn’t a tither either. But he listened to the sermons, he checked it out in the Bible. He asked questions in Bible study. He made the commitment and “wow” how he has grown, in his spiritual life and his personal life.
I could have said the same thing to the earlier man. But I am only the preacher. It is in my self interest to teach tithing. My words have never had the impact that this gentle soul had in his words and challenge.
“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. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the Lord Almighty. (Malachi 3 NIV)
It is never too soon to start!