Warning: This will disturb you.
If you don’t want your quiet existence to be disturbed, stop reading. Get out of this page, quick.
But if you want to open up your life to more abundant generosity (both flowing out and flowing into your life!), keep reading.
There’s this Old Testament verse that’s, uh, how should I put it… a bit bothersome. In this controversial verse, God said, “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings.”
Why is not giving your tithe stealing from God?
Let me explain it via a story.
The Story Of A Generous Business Partner
One day, a very wealthy man was walking on the road. Along the way, he saw a beggar on the sidewalk.
The rich man looks kindly on the beggar and asked, “How did you become a beggar?”
The beggar said, “Sir, I’ve been applying for a job for a year now but haven’t found any. You look like a rich man. Sir, if you’ll give me a job, I’ll stop begging.”
The rich man smiled and said, “I want to help you. But I won’t give you a job. I’ll do something better. I want you to be my business partner. Let’s start a business together.”
The beggar blinked hard. He didn’t understand what the older man was saying. “What do you mean, Sir?”
“I own a rice plantation. You could sell my rice in the market. I’ll provide you the sacks of rice. I’ll pay the rent for the market stall. I’ll even give you food allowance everyday for the next 30 days. All you’ll have to do is sell my rice. And at the end of the month, as Business Partners, we’ll share in the profits.”
Tears of joy rolled down his cheeks. “Oh Sir,” he said, “you’re a gift from Heaven. You’re the answer to my prayers. Thank you, thank you, thank you!” He then paused and said, “Sir, how will we divide the profits? Do I keep 10% and you get the 90%? Do I keep 5% and you get the 95%? I’ll be happy with any arrangement.”
The rich man shook his head and chuckled. “No, I want you to give me the 10%. And you keep the 90%.”
For a moment, the beggar couldn’t speak. When he tried to speak, it was gibberish. “Uh, gee, uh, wow, I mean, huh?” He couldn’t believe his ears. The deal was too preposterous.
The rich man laughed more loudly. He explained, “I don’t need the money, my friend. I’m already wealthy beyond what you can ever imagine. I want you to give me 10% of your profits so you grow in faithfulness and gratitude.”
The beggar knelt down before his benefactor and said, “Yes Sir, I will do as you say. Even now, I’m so grateful for what you’ve done for me!”
And so that was what happened…
He Forgets Where The Blessings Came From
Each day, the beggar–now dressed a little bit better–operated a store selling rice in the market. He worked very hard. He woke up early in the morning and slept late at night. And sales were brisk, also because the rice was of good quality. And after 30 days, the profits were astounding.
At the end of the month, as the ex-beggar was counting the money, and liking very much the feeling of money in his hands, an idea grew in his mind. He told himself, “Gee, why should I give 10% to my Business Partner? I didn’t see him the whole month! I was the one who was working day and night for this business. I did all this work! I deserve the 100% profits!”
A few minutes later, the rich man was knocking on the door to collect his 10% of the profits. The ex-beggar opened the door and said, “You don’t deserve the 10%. I worked hard for this. I deserve all of it!” And he slammed the door.
If you were his Business Partner, how would you feel?
Friend, this is exactly what happens to us…
God Gave You Everything
I’ve got an announcement to make: God is your Business Partner. And your Business Partner gave you everything.
God gave you your life–every single moment, every single breath, every single second… God gave your talents–your ability to talk, to create, to earn money… God gave you your body–your eyes, your ears, your mouth, your hands, your feet, your heart… God gave you your mind–your imagination, your emotions, your reasoning, your language…
In the Old Testament, your Divine Business Partner only asks that you give 10% of your profits.
But I’ve noticed that many don’t want to tithe. Because they feel they own everything they earn.
Some Christians believe that they don’t need to tithe because it’s an Old Testament Law. They say that in the New Testament, God tells us to give as the Spirit of God leads us to give.
I totally agree. But does that mean we should give less than the Old Testament?
The story I gave you above is the Old Testament Version.
Let me share with you my second version…
Here’s The New Testament Version
In the New Testament version of my story, it begins in the same way. The rich guy tells the beggar that he wants to do business with him. And after the beggar gets flabbergasted, he asks, “Sir, how will we divide the profits? Do I keep 10% and you get 90%?”
Instead of the rich man saying, “Just give me 10%,” he says, “You decide how much you want to give me. Give according how grateful you are.”
Wow. Tell me. Will that guy just give 10%?
Here’s my interpretation: Giving 10% is the starting point of grateful giving. A lot of people think that 10% is the maximum. I don’t think so.
I believe 10% is kindergarten. 10% is like a kids bike with training wheels–it’s for someone who doesn’t know how to be generous yet but would like to learn. And as you learn to give 10%, God will teach you to give more generously.
Do You Want Blessings To Flow?
It’s easy to give once in a while.
Even a selfish man can do that.
But for happiness, life, blessings, and abundance to flow into your life, you need to give faithfully.
I visited Israel again last month.
And I visited the three bodies of water in Israel. All three are connected to each other. The first is the Sea of Galilee; the second is the Jordan river; and the third is the Dead Sea.
Both the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River are filled with fish. But the Dead Sea is called dead because there’s no living thing in it. No fish. No shrimp. No plants. Even some bacteria have a hard time living in it. Because it’s 8.6 times saltier than any ocean in the world.
Let me give you the difference between these three bodies of water. The Sea of Galilee gives water to the Jordan River. The Jordan River gives water to the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea gives water to… no one.
All that water that it receives gets trapped–and the only way the water escapes it is through evaporation, leaving all the chemicals and salt in the Dead Sea.
Here’s the lesson: If you don’t give, you die.
What Kind Of Sea Are You?
Friend, you can be the Sea of Galilee or Sea of Death. It’s your choice.
The only way for blessings to flow in your life is if you give.
This is the law of God’s universe. This is how nature works.
Do this experiment with me. For the next five minutes, inhale. Inhale as much as you want. And as many times as you want. But don’t exhale for 5 minutes.
Cool? Try it. (Is your insurance policy up to date?)
Here’s another experiment. For the next 7 days, eat. Eat anything you want. Eat as much as you want. But don’t visit the toilet. Just for 7 days.
What am I saying?
The universe is designed for you to inhale and exhale, to earn money and to give money away.
3 Most Frequently Asked Questions
People ask me about tithing a lot.
Here are the 3 most frequently asked questions.
Q: “Where Should I Give My Tithe?”
My simple answer: Give to the spiritual family that feeds you spiritually. Think about it. You want to support the spiritual body that supports your spiritual life. You want to feed the spiritual community that feeds you spiritually.
Q: “Should I Give Based On Gross Or Net?”
Answer: This is really up to you. How grateful are you?
And let me answer this question with another question: How do you want to be blessed? Based on gross or based on net?
But giving based on net is fine. If you’re a business person, give 10% based on your net profits. If you’re a salaried person, give 10% based on the cash that you receive each month.
Q: “Can I Give My Tithe To My Poor Relatives?”
We should help our poor relatives. I suggest you create an Alms Fund apart from your Tithes to do this noble work.
Let me tell you why: Imagine if every Christian will do that–give their tithes to poor relatives. Do you think the spiritual family that nourishes you spiritually will survive? Do you think it’ll be able to do God’s work of building His Kingdom on earth? I doubt it.
Overcome Your Fear
The Bible talks about giving the “first fruits” to God.
In other words, your tithe should be your first expense. That means the moment you receive your income, set aside your tithe and give it to God.
Some people spend first and give to God whatever is left. Believe me, nothing will be left.
Hey, I know it’s scary. If you’ve never tried tithing before, it’s terrifying. I heard one guy tell me, “Goodness Bo, if I tithe, will I have enough money at the end of the month?”
When someone is tithing for the first time, I tell them, “Just try it out for six months. That’s what God says. The Bible says, Test me, says the Lord. So test Him! And see what will happen in the first three months. See how God will stretch your finances. See how He’ll cause promotions to happen. See how unexpected gifts and opportunities will come your way.”
And here’s my challenge. After tithing for six straight months, evaluate your finances. If during those six months, you believe that you were more generous than God was generous to you, stop tithing. (Based on my experience, this scenario is highly unlikely.)
Obviously, you’ll have to do your part to receive God’s financial blessings. Remember–this “Giving” message I’m giving is only one of three talks in this Overflow series. So don’t expect financial blessings to come just because you gave. Apply also the other two messages you heard in this series: (1) giving your core gift to the world and (2) investing for the long-term.
Aspire For Greatness!
Let me digress.
Many people believe that to be a Christian, you have to think small, dream small, act small, live small.
These are remnants of a wrong brand of faith given to us by Spanish colonial powers for 333 years. That foreign Government worked with the Church to teach us to be content with our small place in life–to be subservient–so that we won’t become an Andres Bonifacio or Jose Rizal.
Those colonial powers have long been gone but remnants of that wrong faith are still in our culture. We need to throw these vestiges away.
Because God has a great plan for your life. He wants you to aspire for greatness! Be the best that you can be. And earn as much money as you can.
Why? Because it’s not for you! It’s to be given away. Earn as much as you can so that you can give as much as you can.
The Biggest Reason Why I Want To Earn More
I started tithing ever since I was a 12-year old kid. After more than 30 years, I’m still tithing.
For me, it’s the only way to live a happy and peaceful life.
If you want to be happy, tithe.
Through the years, God has returned to me whatever I gave to Him, multiplied many times over.
Today, God has blessed my businesses so much, I don’t need to earn anymore. I can just shut down all my businesses and live on the interest of my investments. If I wanted to, I could just simply go around the world and live from beach to beach.
But I don’t want to do that.
First of all, I love my customers. I want to keep serving them.
Second, I want to give more. The ultimate purpose of wealth is to love.
Call me crazy. But I have an insane dream: I want to donate one billion pesos to the ministry. I can see myself doing it already. Writing a billion peso check. Imagine–writing 9 zeros.
It may take me a few decades to donate a billion. But I know it will happen.
Why is this my dream? I’ve come to realize that the only money that you keep is the money that you give away.
May your dreams come true,
PS. Support The Spiritual Family That Nourishes You. Have you been spiritually blessed by our ministry? Help us continue to bless you for a long time to come. How? You may give your love offering through KerygmaFamily, our online community. In this way, you support God’s work. To give regularly and be blessed forever, click here now.
PS2. Do You Want To Earn Through Non-Traditional Real Estate? Just in case you’re interested, Larry Gamboa is giving a Think Rich Pinoy Seminar this March 17 (Saturday). To attend his seminar, click here.
PS3. Attention Preachers: Do want to learn how to preach better? Arun Gogna is giving a 12-week Power Preaching course starting March 15, 2011. It’s designed to give you the tools you need to be an effective and powerful preacher. For more details, click here now.