G I V E N O W
What releases the blessing on our finances is not the amount, but the rather the order in which it is given.
What is a Firstfruit Offering?
The Biblical rationale undergirding a firstfruit offering is a scriptural principal that must apply to everything that we give to God - a key spiritual principle presented throughout scripture that we teach here at Hope Center Tabernacle summarized as follows: Give God your first and your best and God will bless the rest
Exodus 23:19 The first of the firstfruits of your land you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God…
Proverbs 3:9-10 9 Honor the Lord with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase; 10 So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine.
At some point in January of every year Hope Center Tabernacle joyfully offer a “firstfruit offering” unto the Lord. This offering is meant to represent the first of what we have personally received from God for our support in the new year. It can be our first day’s wage, first week’s wage or even our first month’s wage. The amount is not the most significant factor. The order in which we give it is the key.
Again, it is not meant to be a legalistic practice (or a rule), but rather an exercise in faith and obedience (adhering to a principle). If you would like God’s blessing on your life and finances, be faithful to guard and maintain the spiritual principles presented to us in Scripture [all of them]. This is what God uses to mold us into the people of God that He wants us to be. Essentially, it makes us more like Him. This would include the brining (not giving) of our tithes and offerings specifically from the firstfruits of our labor.
In 2019, we will be collecting our firstfruits offering on Vision Sunday, January 20, 2019. You may give it during the service or just bring it online. To give online, just follow the simple instructions on our webpage under the GIVE NOW tab > Online Giving / Pledges . You will be given the option to choose “firstfruits” once you are directed to the giving module.
What is a Biblical Offering?
The biggest misunderstanding about an offering is that it is optional, which actually is a totally understandable misconception. To grasp what God thinks about offerings that are to be given to him, we need to examine Malachi 3:8-12 which also addresses tithing (discussed more in depth below). Here is a portion of this passage:
Malachi 3:8-10, 8 “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”
What is most significant about this passage is God’s assertion that Israel was “robbing” Him. Note that he doesn’t assert that they were “stealing” from Him. There is a legal difference. As an attorney I can tell you that robbery is a greater felony than theft. It requires not only misappropriating something that doesn’t belong to you, but to do so by using force or the threat of force right in front of the person. It involves, to some extent, metaphorically emasculating the person being robbed. It is a base violation of that person. God says that we rob him when we don’t give Him offerings that He identifies as belonging to Him. One generally knows what belongs to them. So does God.
As such, when you give an offering to God, it is critical that you first hear the heart of God. That we ask Him what it is in our possession that belongs to Him. He’s not asking for what belongs to us. He expects what belongs to Him. When we don’t give Him this, we are essentially insulting God by taking and using something that belongs to Him for our personal benefit without his permission or approval.
Money is like fly paper. It offers a sweet, honey-like substance, which is also very sticky. The fly approaches saying, I want the honey! He lands and begins to eat, saying, I got the honey! He tries to leave but the paper says, I got the fly! Many live saying, I want the money… and before they know it, the money has them! So what’s the point: The point is that God Must Be First.
Exodus 13:1-2;12-13 1 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Consecrate to Me all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and beast; it is Mine.” 12 that you shall set apart to the LORD all that open the womb, that is, every firstborn that comes from an animal which you have; the males shall be the LORD’s. 13 But every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb; and if you will not redeem it, then you shall break its neck. And all the firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem.
What is a Tithe?
Leviticus 27:30 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’s. It is holy to the LORD.
It is set apart to the Lord. It is the first because He uses the exact same language with the firstborn. He says, “It belongs to God”, "...it is the LORD's". People say, "Well, tithing was under the Law, and I'm not under the Law as a Christian; I'm under grace so I don't tithe".
Abraham commenced it in Gen 14:17-20.
Jacob continued it Gen. 28:22.
Then Moses came along, and God gave him the law in Lev. 27:30. He commanded it.
A few hundred years later, Malachi confirmed it in Malachi 3:8-12.
Then, years later, Jesus commended it: Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, 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.”
Abraham commenced it, Jacob continued it, Moses commanded it, Malachi confirmed it, and Jesus commended it. Who am I to cancel it?
Tithing was before the Law. We see it in Abraham and can go back even beyond Cain and Abel. The principle of giving the first to God is found in the Garden of Eden where God said; 'You can eat from any tree except that one; that one is mine'. This principle of putting God first in stewardship never changes. "Tithing was under the Law. Now it's bad!" There were many things under the Law. Are they bad now? Honor your mother and father: "Well, I'm under grace, I don't need to do that anymore." "You shall not murder"… is that okay now because I'm under grace?
Spiritual Principle: What releases the blessing on our finances is not the amount, but the rather the order in which it is given. The tithe is the first 10%.
Tithing is your real “Trust” Fund. The word literally means tenth, or 10%. It’s God’s perfect plan, completely fair and equal to all who will obey no matter what you make.
Tithe where you are fed; you don’t eat and run. You wouldn’t at a restaurant. So, don’t send your tithe to other organizations! Try going to McDonalds and saying, “I have a burden for Burger King.” Then go eat at Burger King. God never uses “give” when He talks about tithing because you can't give what doesn't belong to you. He uses the word “bring”. Bring the tithe into the storehouse because IT belongs to God.
Try it and see what happens in your family, marriage, health, and your finances. This isn’t my suggestion, it’s Gods…
Malachi 3:10 “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it…”
Just try it! God is not a liar.