Respond With Generosity This Easter Season
Why are we calling everyone to tithe for Easter?
If you are relatively new to Northland, you may be wondering about our “tithe for Easter” tradition that has developed over the years. Many in our church family have been following Christ for a long time and already tithe or give extravagantly on a regular basis. But if you’re new to the church in general, you may be scratching your head and wondering what a tithe even is!
The word simply means one-tenth and is mentioned often in the Old Testament as Moses taught the Israelites how to give sacrificial offerings. Even before that, we see the principle being exercised by Abram (Abraham) in Genesis 14:20, where he “gave [the Lord] a tenth of everything” (NIV). This practice of giving back to God one-tenth of your “firstfruits” or the income from your labor is referenced as a common practice in the New Testament too.
Ironically, Jesus neither explicitly eradicates nor commands the tithe in His teaching. He, and later the apostle Paul, seems to be more concerned that people would give the Lord a tenth and then think they can do whatever they want with the other 90 percent of their income. In reality, “Everything in the heavens and earth is yours, O Lord…” (1 Chronicles 29:11, TLB). The healthiest perspective on giving starts with the understanding that everything we have belongs to the Lord. We are stewards and managers of His resources – 100 percent of what He has entrusted to us. Nevertheless, the tithe has remained a great starting point or giving goal for Christians.
In that context, let me explain our traditional invitation on Easter. One of the strongest statements in Scripture about tithing comes from Malachi 3:10: “‘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’” (NIV, emphasis added). Wow! God, who says in other places in the Bible not to test Him, invites us to test Him through the giving of tithes!
This scriptural principle is one of the reasons we call everyone in the Northland family to tithe on Easter. It’s an opportunity to test the Lord, trust Him with your finances (His finances), and see what kinds of blessings He pours out. Every year, we hear stories of some way that the Lord uses this practice in the life of our church. To be sure, this isn’t a “prosperity gospel” thing (a theology that God blesses people financially based on their faith and tithing). While the blessing He delivers may be a generous provision of some sort, often it is deeper and more important – a change in perspective, freedom from bondage or the release from the love of money.
We choose Easter as the season to celebrate and worship through a tithe for an even greater reason than obedience or testing. Above any other season of the year, Eastertide – the Easter season – reveals just how generous our God is. He has gone to extraordinary lengths to make a way for us to engage with Him directly and be fully alive, today and for all eternity. Jesus’ generosity in becoming the perfect sacrifice for our sin and paying the price for our rebellion with His life is overwhelming to behold. We want to learn together how to respond to His extraordinary generosity by being generous too. Tithing at Easter is a great place to begin.
So start with this Easter season. Test the Lord. See what He does. Then keep responding to His generosity with your own. Among many other benefits, I know you will find that tithing regularly over the course of years allows the Lord to bring you a peace, contentment and joy that the accumulation of possessions will never provide.