In Luke 16:9, Jesus said, “And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.” The NIV (1984 edition) puts it this way: “I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.”
What Jesus was saying was we should use the wealth He gives us to help reach people with the gospel: men, women, boys and girls. So, that when our wealth is gone, and we are gone as well, those we’ve helped reach with the gospel will welcome us into Heaven, with words something like this: “Thank you for giving. I’m here because you gave.” Or, “Thank you! I wouldn’t be here unless you gave.”
Talk about a motivation for giving! Faithfully. Regularly. Enthusiastically. Cheerfully. Why would tithing and giving above and beyond the tithe ever be an issue to anyone? Why do so many struggle with the money God gave us and the mandate He gave us to “bring the whole tithe into the storehouse?”
My friend Dr. O.S. Hawkins, who has preached at Crossroads many times, served years ago as the pastor of the historic First Baptist Church in Dallas and then became CEO of GUIDESTONE Financial Resources also based in Dallas, said, “Many are victimized by greed. The principal hindrance to the advancement of the kingdom of God is greed. It is the chief obstacle to heaven-sent revival. It seems that when the back of greed is broken, the human spirit soars into regions of unselfishness. I believe it is safe to say there can be no continuous revival without ‘hilarious’ giving. And I fear no contradiction: wherever there is ‘hilarious’ giving, there will soon be revival.”
Dr. Jerry Falwell, who’s now in Heaven, founded and served as Pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, VA (one of the largest in America) and started Liberty University, which is now the largest Christian university in the world said this about tithing and giving: “Where should tithes and offerings of believers go? Logic alone would suggest people contribute to the local church where they are fed spiritually. The local church is God’s plan of salvation. It is the only organization He established. Just as God did not allow giving to other places than the one He designated in the Old Testament, God wants gifts to go to His organization in the New Testament. Programs which reach beyond the local church can be supported by funds channeled through the local church.
“Money or offerings were never given to individuals in the New Testament. Money was given to the churches. It was taken up on Sunday at the church (1 Cor 16:1). Money was sent to the elders at Jerusalem (Acts 11:29-30). This was similar to laying it at the apostles’ feet (Acts 4:37). Our tithes belong to the local church. We have no right to tamper with what belongs to God. Our gifts to parachurch ministries should always be over and above our tithes and offerings to our local church. We give with the assurance that it is God’s will when we give to the local church. The sum total of godly counsel in a church will determine the best use of God’s money … If a person gives ‘over and above’ money to deserving extra-church agencies and bypasses the local church, that is something for which that person is directly accountable to the Lord. Storehouse tithing is giving to one’s local church.”1
The BEST INVESTMENT we can ever make is to tithe (giving 10%) of everything God gives us and to give an offering above that, as the Lord blesses, so we can reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. THE BEST PLACE to make that investment is THE LOCAL CHURCH. Today, corporations and businesses, civic groups, non profits and numerous parachurch organizations appeal for our hearts and our resources to help them in the work they are doing. Helping fund cancer research, providing assistance to the homeless, helping with natural disasters and feeding the hungry are all good causes that tug at our hearts. And if you want to give occasionally or even regularly to help those organizations out, that’s wonderful. But there are two things you need to be aware of: 1) Any giving to any other good cause or organization should be above and beyond your tithes and offerings to your own local church. And 2) You may be surprised to find out your own local church is already doing many of those very things.
For example, here’s a quick look at some of the things we are able to do here at Crossroads because of the tithes and offerings of God’s people in our church family.
Want to sponsor starving or orphaned children? Crossroads already does that.
Want to help troubled teens or abandoned kids? Crossroads already does that.
Want to help abused women? Crossroads already does that.
Want to help teenagers who are contemplating abortion? Crossroads already does that.
Want to help the poor and needy? Crossroads already does that.
Want to help people when a natural disaster strikes? Crossroads already does that.
Want to help educate and train future ministers and missionaries? Crossroads already does that.
Want to help make sure the Bible is translated into every language so everyone can hear the gospel at least once? Crossroads already does that.
Want to minister to college students on secular campuses who are being bombarded with a liberal, anti-Christian worldview? Crossroads already does that.
Want to help combat false teaching and the cults both here at home and around the world? Crossroads already does that.
Want to reach Muslims with the the gospel of Jesus Christ? Crossroads already does that.
Want to help defend the constitutional rights and liberties of Christians being persecuted for their faith? Crossroads already does that.
Want to help reach the Jewish people with the good news of the Gospel – that JESUS is the Messiah? Crossroads already does that.
Want to help start churches here in America and in foreign countries? Crossroads already does that.
Want to help provide medicine and care for sick people in other parts of the world? Crossroads already does that.
Want to provide HD quality teaching and evangelistic tools that can be used to reach the lost here at home and overseas? Crossroads already does that.
Want to minister to people in prison? Crossroads already does that.
Want to help people in poor countries with more than a hand out and actually give them a hand up? Crossroads already does that.
Want to provide food to the hungry? Crossroads already does that.
… and more!
The BEST INVESTMENT we can ever make is to tithe (giving 10%) of everything God gives us and to give an offering above that, as the Lord blesses, so we can reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. THE BEST PLACE to make that investment is THE LOCAL CHURCH.
There’s never been a better time to be ALL IN! And not a better place to be ALL IN! than Crossroads!
© 2014. Barry L. Cameron
1 Dr. Jerry Falwell, “Why Every Christian Should Tithe,” sermon dated January 31, 1999.
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Today, more than 8,000 people call Crossroads their church home. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.