Are you having difficulty with your finances? If so, why? God promises to bless those who keep His law of tithing, but there is another important consideration every Christian needs to remember.
"I'm having a terrible time making ends meet," admitted the head of a Worldwide Church of God family as he counseled with a minister. "I don't understand why," he said. "I've been in God's Church for 11 years. I have faithfully paid all my tithes. I have sent in monthly donations to the Building Fund. I've never missed a Holy Day offering. I haven't robbed God of a single thing that was rightfully His. Why, then, am I suffering the most humiliating and distressing financial hardship of my life?" In a discouraged tone he continued: "Because I haven't been able to find a steady job, I don't have enough money to properly feed and clothe my family. I can't even make a down payment on a used car." With a furrowed brow and a forlorn look, the man asked: "What am I doing wrong? Why doesn't God prosper me? Hasn't He promised to bless the tithepayer? Aren't God's people supposed to abound with greater material blessings as they continue to obey His tithing laws?"
No isolated case
The above example is not fictional, nor is it an isolated case. Dozens of similar, true-to-life, down-to-earth situations constantly come to the attention of God's ministers. Far too many of God's people — faithful tithepayers — are just barely getting by. At the end of a month they have practically nothing left over to save or to build up an emergency reserve. Some have been unable to pay their monthly bills. A few have even had their furniture and appliances repossessed because of the inability to keep pace with the rising cost of living and make monthly payments. Why should so many be facing financial disaster when God has avowed to bless and prosper the tithepayer? Why aren't all of God's people becoming more prosperous each year, if the law of tithing really works?
More than tithing required
Don't misunderstand. Tithing pays big dividends. There is an invisible law in tithing that insures monetary increase when one unbegrudgingly gives God His 10th. What many of God's people don't seem to realize is that they are under obligation to obey other laws equally as important to success as the law of tithing. You should know by now what these inexorable laws are — if you have been attending weekly Sabbath services, eagerly studying the Bible, seriously reading The Plain Truth and The Good News and regularly listening to or watching the Work's broadcasts. But knowledge is of no value unless it is acted upon. You must obey all God's laws if you expect to continue receiving the marvelous blessings which God's gigantic storehouse provides. If you are not receiving God's blessings, then you are not doing all God requires.
What God Requires
The apostle Paul revealed why some do not prosper. He said: "We commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies" (II Thess. 3:10-11). Paul warned Timothy, "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel" (I Tim. 5:8). Your Bible plainly states that a person who will not work and provide for his own home is worse than an infidel. Even though such a person is satisfied to barely eke out an existence, tithing alone will not make him prosperous. Some people in God's Church are poor because they will not work hard enough to keep a job when they do get one. A member of God's Church should be willing to work harder than anyone else on the job. He must be willing to make money for his employer. Any person who is lazy cannot help but reap shame, poverty and defeat after defeat.
Must exercise self-control
Suppose that another member of God's Church is generous with his tithes and offerings. Perhaps he even sends in more than his budget would allow. But he doesn't take care of his health. He consistently eats too much starchy and greasy food and too much candy, ice cream and cake, for instance. This man has never learned to exercise willpower. So he eats too much. Eats the wrong kinds of food. Doesn't exercise. Doesn't get enough sleep. Then he wonders why he finds himself bedridden with such ailments as high blood pressure, stomach trouble, a liver disorder or one or more of a host of other infirmities. Tithepaying will not save from financial disaster a man who cannot hold a job because he has ruined his health by overindulgence. Do you suppose God would somehow annul the penalty exacted from breaking His health laws just because this man was faithful in tithing? No. God wouldn't be true to His own laws if He did that. Clearly manifested in this example is the fact that tithing alone cannot guarantee financial prosperity as long as other immutable laws are transgressed.
Must Manage Well
Suppose a man makes a good salary but is a poor manager of money and "blows" his earnings on anything and everything he ever desires. God will not prosper the man who squanders so much of his monthly salary on things he doesn't need that he hasn't enough left to meet his monthly bills. While such a poor manager may pay his tithes, how long can he hope to avoid financial difficulty when he spends more every month than he has coming in? Should he expect God to free him from every crisis, remove every hardship and protect him from bankruptcy when he foolishly squanders his salary? No. Can you realize that for God to deliver a man from every plight — when that man makes no attempt to correct his mistakes — is to condone the sin? God does not condone sin! If God would shower great rewards on a man who mismanages his salary, He would only further encourage foolish spending and allow him to destroy his character. How plain. We can't succeed unless we give to God, in the form of tithes and offerings, what is His. But we must obey not only this one law — we must obey all other laws and we must follow the seven laws of success. If you are not familiar with them, read our free booklet, The Seven Laws Of Success.
Key to success
God leaves no doubt. More than tithing is required. for an abundant life. He specifically states in Joshua 1:8 another key governing success: "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success." Did you notice that God emphatically stressed complete acceptance of and total obedience to all His laws? He did not say "pay your tithes" and then you will find your prosperity and have good success. He plainly said, "Observe to do according to all!" This doesn't mean you must be perfect to prosper, but it does mean you must be striving for that goal of perfection and not be knowingly delinquent in any aspect of Christian living. The great Lawgiver designed dozens of spiritual laws and principles to govern success. Obedience to one law by itself cannot produce success. Water is essential to good health, but water alone cannot sustain it — one must also eat, sleep and exercise. In like fashion, tithing is one of many laws that make for progress and prosperity, but tithing by itself does not make one prosperous if he is disobeying other laws of financial success. The answer to the man who came to the minister and couldn't understand why his tithing wasn't getting results is simple. Even though he was paying his tithes, he was ignoring other spiritual laws of God. His poor management, his rebellion in carrying out instruction, his refusal to improve his general talents and establish a trade and his lack of enthusiasm all contributed to his downfall. His obedience to the law of tithing could not revoke the penalty that disobedience to these other existing laws claimed.
Israel promised blessings
In Deuteronomy 28, the Eternal unreservedly promised great and stupendous blessings to Israel if they would obey all His commandments. "And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments... all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee... Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store. Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out. "And all people of the earth shall see that thou art ca lled by the name of the Lord; and they shall be afraid of thee. And the Lord shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers to give thee. "The Lord shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand... if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the Lord thy God, which [command thee this day, to observe and to do them: And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which J command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them" (verses 1-14). God promised 21 incredible blessings for obedience. What magnificent rewards obedience to God's law brings! But mark well the fact that the Eternal stipulates obedience to all His laws. And besides natural rewards, God Himself will also supernaturally add even more blessings, if one humbly submits and obeys.
A Dire Warning to Israel
The Bible irrefutably proves that obedience guarantees success. But with equal certainty the Bible guarantees that disobedience brings failure. God promises disaster will strike down all who with impunity break His laws. God warns, "But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee" (read them in Deut. 28:16-46). God warns that the curses He went on to enumerate will surely come swiftly upon the disobedient. No true, long-lasting prosperity can be found in rebellion — only curses. If Israel is to be saved from captivity, and enjoy national prosperity, we as a nation must come to surrender fully to our Maker and obey all His Laws.
ARE YOU Hiding YOUR Sins?
Are you failing to prosper because you are hiding your sins? Solomon in his great wisdom was well aware of the grave consequence of trying to cover one's sins. In Proverbs 28:13 he warned, "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." A plain, simple answer as to why some fail to prosper: self-deception — refusing to evaluate one's personal life according to the holy precepts of God, refusing to see what one is really doing wrong and justifying one's actions by placing the blame on God. The man mentioned at the beginning of this article was guilty of this very thing. In his tone was an underlying accusation against God. After all, he was obeying the "big" law that promised material increase. Why then, after all these weeks, months and even years of tithing, wasn't God prospering him? The answer is obvious. He would not honestly open his mind to examine himself, to look at himself as God saw him. The man was hiding his sins through self-deception.
But Don't Sinners Prosper?
But don't people who have only recently learned about the truth prosper- when they start tithing? Why are they blessed in giving a 10th even though they don't obey all of God's laws? Indeed, they prosper. Dozens of letters are sent to the Work daily from new people telling how they put Malachi 3:8-10 to the test and were greatly rewarded. But you must realize that tithing may be the only major point of truth these people understand. As they act on it, God showers down the blessings. And through this physical means, they see that there are material advantages in obeying God. It awakens them to the reality of God. But as they grow in grace and knowledge and acquire additional truth, God expects more of them. If they reject new truth and refuse to obey it, the blessings derived from tithing will diminish. Brethren, God commands, "Become ye perfect." Obey new truth as it is revealed to you.
Seek the Kingdom first
What is your main interest in life? Is it to gain material wealth, riches, treasures? To have mammon in great supply in order to satisfy your carnal cravings and desires? Is this why you are tithing? It shouldn't be! Make your main goal to serve the living God with all your might, to please Him no matter what the stakes might be, to seek His Kingdom above every physical goal. If you set your heart on things above and conscientiously try with your entire being to obey all of God's laws, then He will provide your daily needs and will also add extra blessings in abundance. Do you really want to prosper? Then, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you" (Matt. 6:33).