Are you a giver or a taker? Do you get to get, or do you get to give? One of the earliest arguments children have is over their possessions. “Mine, Mine!” The struggle begins at an early age and society does not make the battle easy. Often our self-worth is closely tied to our net worth. Most people would not want to be known as takers, but upon close examination, it might be an accurate description. God calls His people to be generous, to be happy in giving of what they have to help others and to promote His kingdom. In Malachi, God says to bring the tithe (a tenth of your income) into the storehouse (your home church) so there will be meat in His house. This is to feed, to fuel, to support His work, His mission, His purpose, so that ministry can thrive. Scripture states that withholding from God is theft. Robbing God, the source of all we have, is probably a really bad idea!

Scriptures
Mal 3:8,10; Pr 11:24-25; 1 Ti 6:18-19; Mt 16:18

Verse
Will anyone rob God? Yet you are robbing me! But you say, “How are we robbing you?” In your tithes and offerings! Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house….”
(Mal 3:8,10)

Thought
So, why give? Aside from not stealing from Almighty God, which is a pretty good reason in and of itself, giving is fulfilling. When we give and consider others before ourselves, we feel good about who we are. It boosts our self-esteem. In addition, God has commanded us to give. He gave His Son for us; we are asked to give so others will come to know salvation through Jesus Christ. Giving opens the windows of blessing into our lives. Blessings come in both tangible and intangible forms. God’s favor upon those who give cannot be measured. And when we give, we defeat the hold of materialism. It’s difficult not to be preoccupied with “things.” Things are ok, when you own them and they don’t own you, and when you have open hands to pass on the blessings to others. When you give, it’s exciting to see what God is going to do next. It’s a true adventure to launch out into the depths of giving. God says to test Him in this and check out what plans He has for you. God also tests us to see how we measure up…if He count on us to love His church, which he built for spreading the Good News of Jesus to the world? Finally, generosity sets an example. Most of what our children and grandchildren learn is caught, not taught. Giving reflects the character of God.

Questions
Are you drawn to generous people? Why or why not? How do you feel about takers? On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being “taker” and 10 being “giver”, where would you put yourself on the generosity scale regarding your family and friends? Re: those in need? Re: your church? Have you ever given until it hurt? If so, what was the situation? What is the benefit of giving the first 10% of income to God rather than the last 10%?

Response
Write down on paper: Your income. 10% of that amount. How much you now give to God. The difference between what you give and the tithe. If you are giving the tithe or more, keep on keepin’ on! If there is a discrepancy make a plan to get where you need to be. By adding 1% every 3 to 6 months, you can reach the place where God wants you to be and the blessings he wants to give.

Prayer
Dear Lord, fill my spirit with generosity. May I give because of all you’ve given me. May I honor you with my wealth, which is simply a loan from your gracious hand! In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.