“The goal is to grow in the grace of giving. Grace is the genesis of generosity! Or you can flip that coin: generosity is the revelation of grace. Either way, grace is the game-changer! If the tithe causes your blood pressure to go up, you’re thinking about it the wrong way!”- Mark Batterson (emphasis author’s)
“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.”- Malachi 3:10 (NIV)
In Chapter 13 (“Pay It Forward”) of Double Blessing, Mark Batterson cites an article Time magazine published on July 30, 1945. The article reported on a five-year experiment conducted by Perry Hayden. In 1941, Perry planted 360 kernels of wheat on a four-by-four foot plot. That year and each succeeding year, he tithed the firstfruits of the harvest. After the fifth year, the total harvest yielded 72,150 bushels of wheat, then valued around $150,000.
Therefore, Pastor Batterson invites us to go to the graduate school of generosity. The prophet Malachi challenged the people of Israel to give proportionately. However, the tithe Malachi refers to constitutes the first ten percent (technical term = firstfruits). Not just any ten percent. Hence, Jewish farmers never harvested their fields all at once. After they completed the harvest of the firstfruits, they presented that offering to the priests. Only then did they return home to harvest the rest of their crops. Then, God blessed this second harvest.
In conclusion, Mark issues both a warning and an encouragement:
“I better issue a warning right here: please don’t try to play God like a slot machine. If you give for the wrong reasons, it doesn’t even count. But if your give for the right reasons, it’s game on. I promise you this: God can do more with 90 percent than you can do with 100 percent. . . . Besides, tithing isn’t the ultimate goal. It’s the starting line. When God gets ahold of our hearts, we stop asking, ‘How much do I have to give?’ and we start asking, ‘How much can I possibly give away?’ ”
Today’s question: How do you see grace as the genesis of generosity? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “When seeds of blessing germinate”