Letting people know your vision as a leader is vital as a pastor as people give to vision. At Tree of Life, we want people to understand God and His nature and His principles, and how to live by faith in every single area of their life and finances is no exception. It would be hard to be at the Tree of Life for any length of time and not understand the principles of tithing and sowing and reaping. As a result, people in our church are getting promotions and new jobs all the time – finances are coming to them in abundance.
But we are still not at the place where I want to be, and that is at the place to bless London. And to progress in wealth increase, understanding must increase. People must understand what money has to do with the kingdom of God or people will not give and then they will not receive. If you don’t know something – you can’t walk in it. That’s why people are destroyed through lack of knowledge. I know pastors who are scared of talking about money, but if the shepherds of the sheep don’t talk about money and the prophets of God don’t talk about money, then people will only ever understand prosperity from a carnal, worldly point of view and that will never help them!
I would never want to be someone who did not teach the importance of the tithe. James 3.1 says teachers will be judged more strictly – because as a teacher of God’s Word you are not just judged on your lifestyle and your investment in the kingdom, but you are judged on what you taught the church. I would never want to be in a position where I am judged for failing to teach people the truth about tithing and how giving in faith is the single most important key to financial freedom. Paul taught the Corinthians and the Galatians about sowing and reaping, and in Hebrew’s he said that:
And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth (Hebrews 7.8)
So, here on earth you tithe to a human being – a ministry, a church, a para-church organization – but something that is human. But as you take your tithe and give it to the local church and the leadership of the local church, in heaven, that money is presented straight to Jesus. That is an awesome truth. and one that people need to know. When you tithe, that gift is part of your worship, part of your sacrifice of praise to the Lord Jesus Christ!
So when you tithe, realize that your money is not just going to an earthly organization – it is reaching Jesus. Jesus receives tithes today. Worship the Lord through your giving.
And with the tithe, the local church then pays for pastors to love you, and shepherd you and teach you, it pays for training for musicians to lead worship, for children’s pastors to train your children in a godly way, for meetings and special speakers who bring you truth and freedom.
The tithe is doubly amazing as it produces fruit on two levels; the heavenly level and the earthly level.
To bless London as a church is more than just a gimmickly slogan with us, it’s what we genuinely want to do, it’s the life we want to life. We want London to be a better place because Tree of Life is there. Tithing is one of the ways we can lift people’s lives: we can encounter Jesus as He receives our tithe, and we can spend the money on earth to impact the city. Tithing is one of the keys to impacting a city with the love of God.
In Abraham’s life, tithing was a step of faith. In the Old Testament it became a mandatory law. Now in the New Covenant, it is back to being a privilege, a step of faith in God’s goodness and graciousness. Tithing is a step of faith which says that I believe God is first with my money, I believe God is the most important source in my life, I believe that God is first. If the church cannot make Him first with money then the city will never be challenged or inspired to make Him first in anything.
The tithe also is a step of honour and gratitude. By taking 10% of our income and giving it to Jesus, we are showing beyond the shadow of a doubt that we are grateful for the other 90%! Never pressurize someone to tithe, but do teach the Word and do press people to make a decision to honour God with their finances.
Finally, giving 10% does not mean you can then afford to be a poor steward with the other 90%. Some people think: right, I have paid God off now I will spend the rest on me how I want. Don’t be that person – ask God for wisdom and boldness with the other 90%, the way He leads may surprise you but I bet you end up better off living off of God’s wisdom than living off of your own!