Stewardship

WE TITHE TO GOD

 HECTOR & RENDI GONZALES
Most tithing testimonies start with “We didn’t think we could afford to tithe”. Our testimony is different. We didn’t think we could afford NOT to. Not because we had lots of excess money each month, but rather we had recently gone “all in” with our commitment to Christ. Nothing in our lives was more important than growing in our relationship with Him. Work, social engagements, sports, etc. were put second to Him. Notice we didn’t say finances. 

We were convicted with how can you say you trust God with your life, health, marriage and children but not your finances? How can you say to your children, “God will always provide,” if you are acting contrary by not tithing? To call ourselves Christians, to be true followers of Christ, and not follow God’s clear instruction to tithe made us walking hypocrites.

Could we afford it, no. But we often found money for things we couldn’t afford, so that really wasn’t a legitimate excuse. We decided that if God didn’t provide for our mortgage payment after we had given to Him, one of the pastors would have to provide us a comfortable couch to sleep on. It was then we took Malachi 3:10 out for a spin.

“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 not often you get to test God, so if He says to test Him, who are we to not listen? 

Did we start with 10%, no, but we started with something that was uncomfortable and scary? It’s not fair to say we trust Him with something we could fit into the budget. We needed to start with an amount that forced us to put our faith in God to provide. 

Every time we’ve had an increase in finances we’ve increased our giving. There have been random increases that would make no sense if trying to understand by a human standard. God handled the IRS for us on multiple occasions. Every time God provided money we gave back to Him and He has truly opened the floodgates of blessings.

We don’t tithe to AFBC because we want to see our pastors employed. We TITHE to GOD. AFBC is just who God has gifted our money to. Our tithing isn’t contingent on anything other than our relationship with Christ and our commitment to loving Him the best we can and following His direction in all aspects of our life. We don’t give because of the tax break at tax time. We give because nothing we have is ours, everything is His to start with and we are more interested in our eternal kingdom in heaven than anything on earth.

Our Collections

By Karen Polich

You don’t become a more generous person by changing your income. You’ll become a more generous person by changing your heart. – Michael M. Cook

Everything we have belongs to the Lord. There is nothing separate from His hand in our lives. Yet, it can it be so difficult for many of us to tithe on a regular basis. Why? Do we think it will be easier to give when we have more resources? Do we give sporadically because we feel like we should?

What if we didn’t wait to give? What if we didn’t give out of impulse, shock or emotion?

Pastor Michael M. Cook’s sermon series, Work in Progress, teaches us we are capable of making an impact and being who God designed us to be. Sunday’s message examined God’s plan for our resources. (Listen here.) Here’s a list of the important principles related to our giving. 1 Corinthians 16:1-4

  1. Principle of planned regularity. This is a vital habit to develop. Our giving should be an act of worship.
  2. Principle of individual responsibility. God has called each one of us to give.
  3. Principle of proportionate return. Stewardship becomes a matter of God’s prosperity in our lives. Our giving should be reciprocal to His giving in our lives. Proportionate giving is fair and flexible.

As the tide of our income comes in, the first tenth is the starting point for our giving. Even when the tide goes out, we should remain faithful to our commitment to give.

How do we make that commitment? It speaks to our trust in God. Making the commitment is the first step in being fully obedient to God and giving Him what we are called to give. We do it by faith. We seek Him and give Him our best.

Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. Malachi 3:10

As Zig Ziglar said, “You cannot out-give God.” He has already done so much for us. Examine your heart. We are all a work in progress. Are we giving what God has called us to give as an act of worship?