Rarely does a month go by where I’m not asked by an Impact! Church attender, “So pastor, do you prefer for us to tithe online or in the offering plate on Sunday?” My usual response has been, “It doesn’t matter to me as long as you tithe.” Yesterday, however – as we began our new “The Blessed Life” sermon series – I made it clear that I preferred online giving as the easiest way to follow Scripture with regular tithing.
Deuteronomy 26:1-15 is pretty clear about the concept of firstfruits – that you are to take the first and the best and RETURN it to God. All resources come from God – you can’t give Him something that you do not own – you can only return to Him a portion of what He owns – and has entrusted you with. Scripturally that is 10% – a tithe – which MUST be the first and the best. This is supported throughout Scripture (Proverbs 3:9-10, Ezekiel 44:30, Nehemiah 10:35…). Firstfruits is an important part of the process for tithing…it is also where most of us get messed up. We get paid on Monday…but worship services aren’t until Sunday. We deposit the paycheck on Tuesday, pay the house note on Wednesday, get a haircut on Thursday, hand the kids lunch money on Friday, grab a bite at Cracker Barrel on Saturday and then tithe the 10% (if we still have it) on Sunday morning in the offering plate. That is all well and good…but it is not the firstfruits. The firstfruits – the first payment out of the paycheck – went to the mortgage company!!! The tithe amount may have made it into the offering plate…but the blessing that God wanted to extend for our firstfruits giving has passed. Some may argue that this way of thinking is legalistic. Yet the Scriptures seems to make a BIG deal about firstfruits…therefore I think it a BIG deal to God.
Denise and I learned this several years ago…before we had the option of online giving. We’d deposit the paycheck and then make sure that the first money coming out of the account was the 10% we wanted to RETURN to God. But it was tough holding onto a pre-written check until Sunday…or not re-deposit a cashier’s check or money order when the bills got tight during the week. NOW with online giving we can deposit the paycheck and then IMMEDIATELY go to Impact! Church’s giving page on the website – and return to God the firstdruits. No more waiting until Sunday to tithe…no chance the money will get away from us…no opportunity for Visa or McDonald’s to get God’s firstfruits.
Let me close by saying I have absolutely no issues with giving by kiosk, Square or the offering plate. However, many times those are impulsive or emotional giving. They are definitely one of the first steps into the discipleship process…but they are not geneally the ongoing, every week, come rain or shine tither. I truly believe that with the ability to give online these days…faithful and generous followers of Christ now have a much better way of tithing to God our firstfruits. It’s the reason I prefer online giving…and prefer Impact! Church folks to use it as their primary way of tithing.