First Fruits Not Leftovers

Author: Daniel Stalliviere

What is leading your motivation to give tithe? Is it to honor God by placing the resources He has extended to you back in His hands? Or is it out of guilt and obligation?

I’d like to address a passage I’ve heard used improperly numerous times. It’s a passage that more often than not is being used to justify giving less than a person can give. The passage is 2 Corinthians 9:7 which states, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” When taken out of context it sounds as if Paul is saying “The choice is yours to give whatever amount you are willing to give.”

However, if we were to put this verse back into context and read the full passage (2 Corinthians 8:1 - 9:15) you will find that the money that was being collected was for a benevolent offering to support Jerusalem. This offering would have been in addition to their normal tithe. Paul is stating that the people of Corinth were the first to start taking up an offering and he is encouraging them to see it through to the end, willingly rather than reluctantly. Furthermore, 2 Corinthians 9:10-11 he promises that their generosity will be rewarded.

This is not the only passage we find in the Bible pertaining to giving back to God. In Malachi 3:6-12 we find God admonishing the priests through His prophet in regards to withholding tithes. God accuses them of not giving their first fruits but instead the leftovers. He says they are robbing Him by not giving what is due Him. He tells them to bring the whole offering to Him and they will be blessed accordingly. This is the only time in the Bible God directs His people to test Him and see what He does. (Malachi 3:10)

As children of God we should first recognize that everything we have has been given to us by Him. Whether He provided you with an unexpected check, a gift from a co-worker, friend or family member, or the ability to earn enough money at your current job to support you and anyone depending on you. It all came from God. Giving back in tithe should be done to acknowledge where “your money” came from and as a show to God that you are trusting Him to use it wisely while still providing for your needs. It should be done with your first fruits, not your leftovers. And yes, it should be done in cheerful obedience to God, the provider of all your needs.

Motivation here is key though. If you are giving with the expectation that your tithe will be blessed dollar for dollar you may find that the blessing God wants to give you will be withheld until the time that your desire to give is to honor Him. It is my prayer that this post will drive you to look at what you are currently giving and to ask God if this is the amount He wants you to give. Ultimately your tithe is between you and God. But listen in truth to what God says to you and respond in obedience and you might be surprised at the blessings He pours down on you.


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Background courtesy of John Wayman