// Kenneth E. Hagin
EARLY IN MY MINISTRY I was pastoring a church in the oil fields of east Texas. One of the deacons of the church had a good job working for Humble Oil Company. And he was always faithful in his support of the church.
One day he said to me, "Brother Hagin, can you explain something to me? I've been a Christian for 13 years, and I've been faithful in paying my tithes and giving offerings."
I knew that was true. He was a regular tither whose support really blessed the church. "What is it you want to know?" I asked.
He said, "Well, I don't know why I'm doing it. I've never heard any teaching or preaching about tithing. When I got saved, they told me I was supposed to do it, so I did. But I don't know of anything that's ever come of it in 13 years. If I've ever gotten any blessing out of it, I don't know it."
I was amazed. Here was a good man who had been tithing strictly from the standpoint of slavish duty, and it hadn't worked for him. So I took a few minutes and told him a little bit of what I'm sharing with you.
Then I said to him, "The next time you get your tithe envelope out, say, 'Lord, I'm doing this by faith. I'm giving for the purpose of keeping this local church going, which is benefiting the Body of Christ by helping people. I'm helping spread the Gospel so that people can be saved. Thank You, God, for making it possible for me to be part of Your work. I am giving in faith and expectancy to be blessed according to Your Word.' "
"I'll sure give that a try," he said. And he did.
About 30 days later, he came back to me with a big grin on his face. "I've been doing what you said, Brother Hagin. Every week I've been praying when I get ready to pay my tithes. And boy," he declared, "it's really working. I can definitely tell a difference in my finances!"
Why do we experience such a blessing when we pay 10 percent of our income back to God? It's certainly not because He needs the money or anything else we could offer Him. No, tithing is a powerful way to plug in to what God is doing in the world. The combined tithe of a congregation provides the funds to support the outreaches of a church—getting people saved, building up the Body of Christ, ministering to the poor, supporting missions, perhaps sponsoring the Gospel on radio or television, and helping provide a living for the pastor and ministry staff.
As a general principle, I believe people should tithe to their local church. I have always believed and taught that the local church is the primary means that God uses to bless people in the earth. The local church is where the saints are cared for, and it is to be the base for all other outreaches.
Through tithing to our local church and giving offerings to other worthy ministries, we can be part of what God is doing in the world today. Our motive and purpose for giving should be pure and unselfish.
1. We should do it because we love God. Giving is a natural expression of love. John 3:16 says, "God so loved the world that He gave." And we should do the same; we should give to God because we love Him.
2. We should give to God in obedience to His Word. The Bible teaches us to give to the Lord and support His work. Many scriptures are unmistakable in their instruction about giving.
3. We should give as a means to help carry out Christ's Great Commission and support the work of those who are going into all the world with the Gospel.
4. We should give because we want to see people blessed. Our tithes and gifts help support outreaches of the local church and other organizations that minister to the poor, evangelize the lost and unreached, and build up the saints while equipping them for Christian service.
5. And, finally, way down the line, we should give in expectancy, believing God to honor the promises in His Word to bless and prosper us. Notice that I have listed five reasons to give, and I believe the order of this list reflects priorities that are very important. It seems to me that many preachers are overemphasizing number five and presenting that as the major reason for people to give.
Nevertheless, giving is a tried and proven way to plant seeds for a harvest that will result in our needs being met. The law of sowing and reaping does apply in the area of personal finances. The Bible is true when it says, "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom" (Luke 6:38).
All of these are good and valid reasons for giving. And I believe they will lead to true prosperity—spirit, soul, and body.
God sends prosperity to bless us and meet our needs. But even more important, He prospers us to make it possible for us to help carry out His work in our communities, our nation, and throughout the earth. If we fail to understand this, or forget it, I believe we run the risk of losing the blessing.
[Editor's Note: This article was adapted from Kenneth E. Hagin's book The Midas Touch.]