One of the things I like to do with my nieces and nephews is when they turn 16, I take them to dinner. We talk about using money versus making money. We then talk about what they love to do and how they can turn that into income. We also discuss college and the importance of education. The conversation then shifts to giving tithes and offerings. I explain how our offerings are holy to God, and that you and I have a greater need to give than God does to receive it. I believe that if God is the source of my income, my job is just a tool that He uses to provide for us. That also means that everything I own and all my income are His. My tithe and offerings are a holy thank you to Him in return for blessing me.
After that, I ask them if they know the Parable of The Talents. Either way, we turn to Matthew 25:14-30 and read it again. I ask them for their interpretation of it. Of course, like all of us, they focus on the servant who buried his talent and then gave back what was given to him. In the story this man gave back everything that was given to him, yet he got in trouble. What God gives us is able to be multiplied by us. That’s when I pull out a crisp $100 bill and set it on the table as we talk. I explain that this money is holy because it’s my offering to God. I then slide it across and tell them that I’m going to trust them with it to multiply it and we can give a joint offering. The catch is they don’t know when I’m going to return and they’re going to have to spend some of that money to make some.
All of us have a need to give our tithe (10% of our increased income) and offerings to. I believe God’s blessings are in direct proportion to our giving. Malachi 3:10 says, “Bring the full amount of your tithes to the Temple, so that there will be plenty of food there. Put me to the test and you will see that I will open the windows of heaven and pour out on you in abundance all kinds of good things” (GNT). I used to think I couldn’t afford to tithe, but since then I’ve learned I can’t afford not to. We don’t give in order to get. We are to give as appreciation for God supplying our needs. He loves a cheerful giver who isn’t giving begrudgingly. When people ask how much should they give and off of what amount, I ask back, “How much do you want God to bless you?” Giving isn’t just about the amount, it’s about your heart. When we recognize that everything we have it God’s, it’s easy to give Him back what He asks for.