The subject of giving of our treasures/wealth appears in Genesis 4 with the story of Cain and Abel. We do not find that it was preceded by a commandment from God, but rather, it appears as an act of worship to God for His blessings. Since there is no recorded commandment from
God, we assume that these two boys learned the act of worshipping God by their father Adam’s example of giving. Therefore, we see that giving has been a part of worshipping since God created man. In their act of worship both brought an offering; Cain brought something he had grown in his field and Abel brought an offering from his flock. God accepted Abel’s offering, but rejected Cain’s because it did not meet God’s required standard. We are not told how Cain and Abel knew their sacrifice was accepted, or rejected, but obviously God made it clear to them.
But here is the main point…when God rejected Cain’s offering, He rejected Cain’s worship. The clear teaching is that when one is not right with God financially, neither are they right with God spiritually. The tragedy for today is that every Sunday there are millions of people sitting in churches who are not right with God financially, and like Cain, their worship is rejected. The first elements of worship are love and obedience, and when these do not exist, neither does worship take place; but only a religious ceremony. Today we are to worship God with our tithes and offerings. The first time “tithing” is mentioned in the Bible is Genesis 14:18-20, where Abraham gave a tithe, which is 10%. The second time is recorded in Genesis 28:22 when Jacob paid tithes to the Lord. Both of these occasions were before the giving of the Law. God told Moses to incorporate the minimal giving of the tithe (10%) into the Law in Leviticus 27:30. In addition God required the people to bring a sin offering and a trespass offering (Leviticus 4 & 5). Then there were non-commanded offerings they could give such as the burnt offering (Leviticus 1), which is a picture of Romans 12:1-2, a meat offering and a peace offering (Leviticus 2-3), just as a way of saying, ‘God, I thank you and I love you.’ There were other offerings such as the Temple offering and the offering to take care of the poor (every third year). Clearly throughout the Bible God used money as a tool (Exodus 30:11-16; II Chronicles24: 6-14), a test (Joshua 6:17-18, 7:1-21; Acts 20:35; Luke 16:10; Acts 5:1-11), and as a testimony (Acts 4:32-37; III John 2). I wish to address one other thought about giving. There are some who teach that tithing was under the Law and therefore not to be practiced under the age of grace. However, I want to remind you that tithing was before the Law, during the Law, and Jesus commended tithing as a practice in the New Testament (Matthew 23).Also Paul instructed the church (I Corinthians 16:2) to be ready to give their offerings. Nowhere in the Bible is it found where God said it is okay to give less than 10%, especially under grace. But if one will read Matthew 5:27-48, you will see that grace always requires more than Law. Therefore, as Randy Alcorn said, “Tithing is the floor of giving, not the ceiling; the starting line, not the finish line.” The apostle Paul, in writing to the Corinthians, encouraged them to abound in the grace of giving. Clearly giving is an expression of one’s love, and if we love God, our giving to our local church will reflect this love through our generous giving.