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Giving Out of Gratitude Instead of Hoping for Rewards — 20 Comments

  1. Good sharing William, now, the Bible is awash with many "if you do this i will do this" promises and the most commonly quoted in line with tithe is Malachi 3: 8-12 which, not only prescribes a blessing for the tithe returners but even goes on to prescribe a curse for those who will not return tithe. What is you comment?

    • I have heard many stories of the blessings of tithing and while these stories are encouraging, there are other stories that are not told. I want to tell you a story that I have had to hide the details because I don't want somebody accusing me of telling their story when they did not want it told.

      Two tithe-paying Seventh-day Adventist market gardeners in the same district saw an approaching hailstorm and prayed that the storm would not hurt their crops. The first gardener ( I will call him Alan ), had his crop spared, but the other gardener (I will call him Bob) had a fair bit of his crop wiped out. Now Alan wanted to praise God that his crop had been spared but when he heard that Bob had lost most of his crop, he decided to keep quiet. He made sure that there was food on Bob's table and that he was supported until a new crop could be planted and harvested. Alan would have done that for his friend even if he was a hard-headed card-carrying atheist because that was just the way he lived his Christianity. Alan would be embarrassed if he knew I was telling this story. Thankfully I know of quite a few people who fit his description. These folk are the "salt of the earth". And I hope that you know folk like that too.

      While I rejoice with those who have been blessed as a result of their tithe paying, I recognise that the true blessing comes not from receiving but from sharing the blessing.

      • Thank you Maurice for sharing this not only with Pascal, but with the rest of us. Surely we curse ourselves when we do not follow God out of love with the same Spirit that He loved us with. With tithing as well as with everything else we obey out of love and not a hope for reward or blessings. We love Him because He first loved us.

        "It is not the fear of punishment, or the hope of everlasting reward, that leads the disciples of Christ to follow Him. They behold the Saviour's matchless love, revealed throughout His pilgrimage on earth, from the manger of Bethlehem to Calvary's cross, and the sight of Him attracts, it softens and subdues the soul. Love awakens in the heart of the beholders. They hear His voice, and they follow Him." -Desire of Ages, Page 480.

      • Maurice, thank you so much for the story. Sounds as if you know me and decided to call me Bob!On several occasions my story has been quite similar to Bob's save for the storm part and perhaps God prompted William to write "Giving out of Gratitude Instead of Hoping for Rewards" post so that i and so many others in my shoes can learn one or two things. However, i have also seen several extraordinary moments of joy and abundance, it is only that the human nature is such that we want to dwell in good times and nobody wants to face bad days! You see, Malachi 3: 11 says and i quote: "And i will rebuke the devourer for your sakes and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground, neither shall your vines cast her fruit before the time in the field says the Lord of Host" Surely, It is too difficult not to quote such a verse in times like Bob's, and the situation turns dire when you quote it in vain! The christian journey is tough, God help me to pull through!

        • Pascal, I have been there and when my children were younger and there was no money or food on the table they would ask, “But mommy, didn’t you pay your tithe?” I continue to return my title ‘blessing’ or no ‘blessing’! As always, thanks for the post William.

    • Unless I missed it, I didn't see Pascal's question responded to.

      First, let us see whom God is addressing in Malachi, which was a wayward, ungrateful people. Obviously thanksgiving was not a motive for them, so God is there encouraging their faith in Him who ALWAYS blesses the faithful who acknowledge God's ownership and requirements, and see them as privileges due to His amazing grace for sinners. The whole sanctuary system centered around the Greatest of Gifts from God to sinners, of which none are exempt.

      So the promised returns are there to encourage the faithless, and will not be needed by the faithful who see clearly how "merciful, gracious, longsuffering" and "forgiving" our God is due to the spotless Lamb of God who removes our sin from us.

      God in His infinite mercy holds up His "exceeding great and precious promises" so that even the most faithless soul will be drawn in whatever way will draw them to see at last the best reasons for being faithful in acknowledging God's grace for sinners in Christ. God has out-given the whole world, and once we see that, and recognize how much we are forgiven(as Mary did), the motive will be proper and our gifts the best that we can bring.

      And yes, the promised blessings will continue, at times disguised as something else. While not having the full backstory of Alan and Bob, Bob WAS blessed with a godly friend, who also was blessed through meeting another's true need. Lesson: learn to identify the promised blessing, which may come from a different direction than we might expect. Still and always a blessing. If we seem to fail of the blessing in this life, in heaven our eyes will see with clearer vision and we will realize just how great the blessing was that we didn't recognize then.

      • Thank you so much for the comment. You are very right that sometimes, we concentrate on things of this world and forget about the bigger picture of a fixed abode that we have in heaven.

        • Nice comment Robert. God is so utterly gracious...does He know how to be anything but gracious? As you said, He keeps promising, keeps giving, to the just and the unjust. To the just because He is faithful, to the unjust because He is gracious and merciful, longsuffering, and full of goodness and truth. He will draw us to Him using whatever means He has at His disposal, if Christ and Him crucified doesn't immediately accomplish it, then He will continue to use more 'worldly' incentives until we come and He is able to open our eyes, to more grander and more selfless motives.

  2. It's really great when we understand how stewards supposed to be done we gat to be inspired in giving what belongs to the Lord .

  3. Thank you brother for this valuable insight. Most of the time we give tithes looking forward to the reward. This is definitely a conditional love. Let us remember that despite all our tithes and offerings and regardless of the daily blessings God bestows on us we can never pay back our redemption. I thank God that He freely and willingly has sent His only begotten Son to save us from an utter destruction.

  4. Indeed the focus should not be on the blessings, but on our relationship with God. If we are in a good relationship with God it is the greatest blessing that we can imagine.

  5. Thanks for sharing this, William. Yes, indeed, God wants us to give from a grateful heart, not just a hope for rewards. But He meets us where we are. For those just learning to trust Him, He will come through to fulfill His promises of blessings in a way they can recognize.

    But when we have more experience with the Lord, He allows us to be tested. Consider the story of Job. He was highly honored of heaven with the responsibility of demonstrating selfless love for his Creator God. So when God does not seem to keep His promises of blessings, we can remember Job and recognize that God trusts us to continue to have faith in Him, and He will bless us in less tangible ways.

  6. William, I appreciate your recent posts because they have caused an exploration on the nature of our relationship with God, specifically the motive for giving, that is, love. When my son was a toddler, I would give him a big hug and a lip smack on the cheek and tell him “I love you” when I put him to bed for the night. One night, as I began this routine, he surprised me by wrapping his arms around my neck and planting a big gooey “kiss” on my cheek. Looking at him, I saw his face lit with a joyful love in his accomplishment and it melted my heart. It is love that begat giving and it is giving that is the evidence of love.

    Jesus spoke of this principle in his nighttime discussion with Nicodemus (John 3). God saw the deadly peril that we are in and did what any loving parent would do; he gave all to save us. When this truth dawns in our hearts and we return small tokens of God’s love, it is joy in the heart of God. (Hebrews 12:2.) Just as kisses and hugs without love are worse than meaningless, so too are tithes and offerings—they are a travesty. The gifts we return to God may not be perfect, but they are perfected in the spirit of the love by which they were received from God. That is why, in his last spoken words to the church at Ephesus, Paul quotes Jesus: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 29:32-38.)

    God cannot help but love the giver whose tokens returned reflect this godly love. (2 Corinthians 9:7.)

  7. The most puzzling thing to me is that God sometimes blesses us even when we hesitate to return the tithe. That one brings me to my knees in tears. Once I hesitated to return the tithe because I could not give it with a cheerful heart but only grudgingly and of necessity. I would have nothing left for the monthly needs. I left it in the bank while praying that God would change my heart so that I can give the title cheerfully. To my utter surprise and astonishment one my children deposited in my account the exact amount I needed that month, even before I had returned the tithe. And my children knew nothing of my needs. I wept as I saw the hand of a loving Father, not a God waiting to curse us when we withhold the tithe. That has made me love Him more and has made me determine never to withhold the tithe, not because I want to be blessed, but because of His great love for me.

    • Eudora, I have often proclaimed in my sermons that God is more wonderful than He even says He is. Your testimony points to that. It is His goodness that leads to our repentance. Romans 2:4. When God's people had weak faith He opened the Red Sea before they took a step. But later after their faith was strengthened, the stepped into the Jordan before He parted it. God knows where we are in our walk with Him, and He knows when to part the water first or tell us to step into the water first.

  8. I may not have similar experiences that many of you have. However I am thankful for help that our awesome God provides, whatever our needs. Incurable illnesses usually take a position near the top. Our physical needs are priority number 1. Seeking a text to read for promise and consolation during trying times, Psalms is chosen often. One that is often quoted is Psalms 27:1. I'm sure there many others.

  9. In the story above, I think they were both blessed.
    Alan was blessed by being able to help out his friend.
    And Bob was blessed by his friend providing for him.
    Both were blessed.
    We are blessed when we have the opportunity to help others.


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