Spirit & Truth # 262
“Harvest of Righteousness”
By Greg Smith
Each Sunday when the offering plate goes around, every believer has an opportunity to give. There are many reasons for putting an offering in the plate. Some donate because they feel that people are watching them, and their reputation is on the line. Others give because they can get a tax write-off. Still others give out of gratitude for what God has done for them, and a desire to see God’s work done locally and around the world.
Many churches teach tithing, or giving 10% of one’s income to God. Theologian and author C.S. Lewis says, “I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare.” Yet Brian Kluth, author of A View from the Pew: Financial Statistics of 750 Christian Households on Income, Job, Debt, and Giving/Tithing[i], writes, “While most people only give 1-3% of their income to charitable/church/religious causes, survey responders indicated their household made it a priority to be faithful and generous givers.” I find it interesting that people say that giving is important to them, and that they want to be generous, while not even coming close to the Biblical tithe.
God wants us to be generous givers, but He also wants us to be cheerful givers. Many find it difficult to do both at the same time. That’s because oftentimes people are afraid that if they give now, they won’t have what they need later. But the apostle Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 9:10-11 (HCSB), “The One who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for all generosity, which produces thanksgiving to God through us.”
Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us today our daily bread (Matthew 6:11),” but Paul goes a step further, saying that God provides not only the bread for food, but He also provides the seed necessary to grow the wheat that produces more bread! In other words, God provides for today and for tomorrow. He says that when you give, God will repay you—not because tithing is a “get rich quick scheme,” but so that you will be able to give even more!
If God generously gave His Son as a sacrifice for us, what can we give to Him to show our gratitude? Many have said that they can’t afford to give, but I have personally found that I can’t afford not to give to God’s work. Instead, I have been greatly repaid in every way. Industrialist and philanthropist J.D. Rockefeller said, "I never would have been able to tithe the first million dollars I ever made if I had not tithed my first salary, which was $1.50 per week."[ii] So you can start small, and let God grow your giving. Today, I invite you to give to your local church and to other godly endeavors as well. You never lose out for having done so. Instead, you gain a harvest of righteousness.