|Sons to Glory book by Paul Jablonowski
Part 1 - Thinking Like Mature Sons - Doctrine
Another characteristic of mature sons is that they are able to handle their financial affairs in a God-given manner. A good father will not give an inheritance to a son who is not properly trained with the Spirit of Wisdom to manage the estate. Many of Jesus' parables deal with correct ways to handle possessions and finances. This is because God created mankind to have dominion over the earth and therefore, He also has a blueprint for proper management of earthly resources. Deuteronomy 8:18 tells us why: "You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day."
Having wealth and finances is all about establishing His everlasting Kingdom in the earth as it is in heaven! This has nothing to do with giving to organized religion as Jesus showed us when he overturned the money tables of the merchandisers in the temple: "Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who sold doves." (Matthew 21:12)
Jesus said, "He who is faithful in what is least is also faithful in much. For if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?" (Luke 16:11-13). Jesus calls money "least" and gives us the impression that money is a really minor issue in the kingdom of heaven, but nevertheless it is still a test for us here on earth because money is a major idol in this world. "You cannot serve both God and mammon." (Luke 16:13)
In the Age of Truth (Covenant of Law) financial giving was measured in tithes and offerings. In the Age of Grace (Covenant of Redemption) it upgraded to gifts and free will giving. In the Kingdom age (Covenant of Peace) that we are now entering, giving finances is measured in sowing and reaping or free will exchange. Each age brought more freedom and liberty in giving of finances. Ultimately the Kingdom age will bring about abundance for everyone, but as a whole we are not there yet.
Jesus said: "Woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass by justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone." (Luke 11:42) "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone." (Matt 23:23)
Understanding the love and justice of God is more important than finances. Jesus is looking for the fruits of the Spirit in our lives which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. However, finances can be used as a means towards this end. Our intent and desire in our heart as a giver is EVERYTHING in God's eyes, and not the money itself or the amount of money given. Finances are just a way to connect with others in expressing these fruits.
Jesus encouraged the practice of giving in these verses by saying "not to leave it undone" and it is therefore important that we give as well as understand the principle of tithing. The words "tithe" "tithes" and "tithing" appear 40 times in the KJV of Scripture and 8 of them are from the New Testament. Forty is the Scriptural number of testing, and Jesus said that money is a test to see whom He can trust to handle the true riches of heaven.
Tithing was the starting point for Abraham in the Old Covenant in learning Kingdom finances. A "tithe" means a "tenth" and the Israelites were required to give 10% of their increase to the LORD. Abraham was the first person recorded in the Scriptures to give a tithe (Gen 14:20), and he taught his children to tithe because his son Jacob did it as well (Gen. 28:22). Abraham tithed by faith because the law of Moses (which discussed the tithe) had not even been written yet! Although we should follow Abraham's example in principle, we should not give a tithe out of an Old Covenant mentality under obligation or fear of retribution.
In the New Covenant, we don't give finances in order to earn "brownie points" with God or to win favor with Him. We do it because we love God and want to obey Him like any loved child would want to obey His earthly father. Romans 4:4-5 says that, "...to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness." Likewise, giving finances toward charitable works does not make us any more righteous in God's eyes than those who don't, because only those who are giving for the right motives (from faith) will be honored by the LORD.
A slave or servant mentality is often found in the current church models of tithing. Giving 10% of your income to church organizations as a duty is not even how the older covenant worked, much less the newer covenant! Instead as sons, we give finances based out of relationship with our heavenly Father. Therefore giving finances is not done out of obligation, but rather honor:
"Honor the LORD with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine" (Prov. 3:10-11). This verse shows that when we give, God blesses us. However, we should not give money to the LORD for the purpose of getting. This is the false message behind the popular "prosperity message" that is commonly taught today. This false teaching says if you will "plant a seed" of money in certain ministries then the Lord is required to bless your finances. While the Lord does operate by certain principles set in His word and His desire is to bless us, He is not "required" to give us anything. Faith and obedience is what He honors, not money. After all, Jesus' perfect obedience led Him to a cross and not to a pile of earthly riches.
The man Job is a perfect example of one who walked in covenant with God and had God's "hedge of protection" due to his obedience, yet God still allowed Satan to attack Job for the purpose of refining and perfecting him (Job 1-2). We can never put God in a box and use His goodness for our own purposes. His covenant principles work, but they are so manifold that we cannot totally understand His works from beginning to end as Job learned and Solomon wrote about in Ecclesiastes 3:11. Even when we are faithful, sometimes God takes away our finances temporarily to put us in a wilderness where we will learn to trust in Him alone.
Nevertheless, this example of Job is the exception and not the rule. Spiritual laws work just like the natural laws and it is a spiritual law that you reap what you sow. Those that give much will receive much: "Give, and it shall be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you." (Luke 6:38)
The current world economy is based on working, doing and performing in order to gain prosperity for yourself. It revolves around being concerned for yourself and what you can "get." However, God's kingdom economy is very different. Although there is much work to be done in God's Kingdom, the Kingdom economics are based on giving and not getting. It is based on being your brother's keeper and giving without expecting anything in return. If everyone operated with this attitude, then life on earth would be so much more like it is in heaven. An even higher principle of giving is in trading or leveraged trading. This takes sowing and reaping to the next level where you "invest" into things eternal here on the earth!
These eternal things that we can trade into in the earth can include any revelation that Holy Spirit may show you. For example, the revelation of the blood of Jesus or the cross of Christ can be "traded" into when we are praying. Also, when other revelations come forth at meetings through servants of Christ, we can give financially towards that revelation. This is a much better way to give as our heart leads us, instead of being manipulated to give ten percent of our income.
There are many lessons or principles that we can learn from the Old Covenant tithe regarding our financial giving. The first, is that the LORD considered the tithe His own (Lev. 27:30). This law of the tithe can be applied to a New Covenant heart when we ask the question: WHERE should we give finances? Because without obedient hearts investing resources towards His purposes, the Kingdom will not come on earth as it is in heaven. We all need to be asking where to sow our finances.
This is a question that the Scriptures answer directly and one that has not been understood by a majority of those who give generously. The bottom line is that the LORD's tithe went directly to PEOPLE and not to building projects or organizational overhead expenses. Deuteronomy 26:12-13 specifies four different types of people that were eligible to receive the Lord's tithe: 1) "Levites" - which include apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, singers and psalmists; 2) "the stranger" - which is anyone who doesn't know the LORD; 3) "the fatherless" - orphans or homeless, and 4) "the widow" - people who do not have family to care for them.
Deuteronomy 26:12-15 - "When you have finished laying aside all the tithe of your increase in the third year, which is the year of tithing, and have given it to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, so that they may eat within your gates and be filled, then you shall say before the Lord your God: "I have removed the holy tithe from my house, and also have given them to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, according to all Your commandments which You have commanded me; I have not transgressed Your commandments, nor have I forgotten them. I have not eaten any of it when in mourning, nor have I removed any of it for unclean use, nor given any of it for the dead. I have obeyed the voice of the Lord my God, and have done according to all that You have commanded me. Look down from Your holy habitation, from heaven, and bless Your people Israel and the land which You have given us, just as You swore to our fathers, a land flowing with milk and honey."
Tithing in the Old Covenant was never meant to be bondage as Deuteronomy 14:22-29 indicates that they could have even spent the LORD's tithe to finance a feast in His Name: "spend that money (the tithe) for whatever your heart desires" (vs. 26). The tithe strengthened FAMILY during feasts as well!
The LORD's tithe was used to build PEOPLE and not ministry centers. Moses' tabernacle was built with the wealth of Egypt and the Jewish temples were built and maintained from free will offerings and not the LORD's tithe. The key thought in WHERE the LORD's tithe went was to PEOPLE, and not to things. We should also give directly to people and not in the name of a church or organization because His body was meant to be an organism and not an organization. This is why the early church in Acts 6:2-4 had to appoint "seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom" over the matter of distributing the treasury that was delivered to the apostles. This is part of the true "work" of the church, and it requires men and women of wisdom to deliver it properly as the Spirit leads. It is an important matter to get finances WHERE the LORD says to give it, and this requires being led of the Holy Spirit to give it into the hand of the people whom He desires to have it.
"For God so loved the world that He GAVE..." We can be cheerful givers too if we ask God for the grace to be like Him. If we love God, we will obey His commands to love one another. Giving financially to whom He tells us is an important part of loving God and loving one another. If we love and fear God, then we will want to give towards things that please Him, and give with the right attitude, "not grudgingly or out of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Cor. 9:7)
As New Covenant believers, everything that we have is the LORD's. Everything we do with our finances is like sowing seeds, and whatever we sow into we will then reap. Therefore, it is important to ask Him to whom we should give.
Finally, be directed in your giving by your LOVE for God. It is all about Him, and the reason we give is because we want to be a model of His great heart of giving. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength." This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." There is no commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30-31)
More important than giving finances on earth, is exchanging on the trading floors of heaven. Ephesians 2:6 says that we are seated with Christ in heavenly places, so we need to conduct business here in the heavenlies as well. The way this is done is by trading back to Him the revelations and gifts and blessings that Abba Father has given us.
We each have a treasury room in our hearts where we store up the experiences we have with Christ. All these blessings can be given back to Him in the same way that the 24 elders in heaven cast their crowns before the throne. (Rev. 4:10) These are the TRUE riches and treasures of heaven. The revelations that we receive can also be traded back to Him for more intimacy instead of showcasing them for others. His presence that we experience is like frankincense, and the true "meat offerings" are the deeper things that He shares with us in the secret place. We can offer these on heaven's trading floor as priests unto our God and not man.