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Summary: Because God owns it all, the question should not be, "How much should I give?" But rather the question should be, "How much should I keep?"

Most people simply don’t understand tithing. To many Christians, it seems like some sort of country club due. Another bill in the long list of monthly expenses.

I hear questions like: “How Much Are You Supposed to Tithe?” “Do I tithe on my gross income or net income?” “My pay my tithe on my pay before Taxes and deductions or after?” “Does God really expect me to tithe if I’m struggling in my personal finances?” “I ‘tithe’ my time to the church. Isn’t that enough?” Still other will ask, “Is tithing still even required? Wasn’t it an Old Testament law? Didn’t Christ abolish the law with His death and resurrection?” (just for the record, I do believe that tithing is still a New Testament principle, but that is not where I am going today.)

These questions all have the same recurring theme — “What’s the least I can give and still receive God’s blessings?” When you debate these questions, you totally miss the point.

When I started tithing almost 40 years ago, my tithe check would be something like $73.22, If I felt particularly generous I would round that up to the nearest nickel. “There’s my 10 percent God. Hopefully that’ll cover the upkeep in Heaven until my next paycheck. Now bless me.” I just didn’t get it either. God didn’t need my money.[1]

These are not new questions or comments about giving. These questions have been around for thousands for years. The writer of today’s passage (Asaph, a tabernacle musician in David’s court) under the inspiration of the holy Spirit, wrote this Psalm about God judging his people. The section of the Psalm that we are looking concerns worship and the bringing of sacrifices.

Psalm 50:7–15

Opening Illustration: The Parable of the French Fry

Once upon a time, about a week ago, Darion and I stop at Burger King to pick up some dinner on the way home from Football. He was hungry so I got him something to eat. Well I bought for Darion 2 of his basic food groups, Chicken Nuggets and French Fries. After going through the drive through, tossing the bag of food in the car, I then do what any good Dad does, I reach over to the bag with the food to grab a couple of fries, just to taste. Darion's lightning quick reaction, he reaches over and slaps my hand and says, “Don’t touch my French fries.”

I’m thinking that Darion is being just a little bit selfish and stingy. I know who bought the French Fries and I’m really the true owner of the fries. I know also that Darion belongs to me. I could get angry and never buy any more French Fries to teach him a lesson, or I could “cover Darion in more French Fries than he could ever hope to eat.” both are within my power to do. So I’m thinking, “Why is my child so selfish, I have given him a whole package of French fries; I just want one French fry…

Isn’t that the way we tend to be with all our things and with all our money and all our possessions? God owns it all, but we begrudging will give up a french fry or two, just so He will continue to bless us.

The American way is to say "I pulled myself up by my own bootstraps," and "I worked hard for all I have." Do we realize it is God who gives, it is God who gives the opportunity and ability to work. It is God who ultimately owns all that we have and all that we are.

Psalm 24:1 (NKJV) The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.

God owns it all. He created it all, and He has given us abilities and opportunities to use what all he has given. The ancient Israelites, around the time of David, had a similar issue. God was calling them on their worship.

Psalm 50:7–8 (NKJV) “Hear, O My people, and I will speak, O Israel, and I will testify against you; I am God, your God! 8 I will not rebuke you for your sacrifices Or your burnt offerings, Which are continually before Me.

God is not critical of the sacrifices that were being offered. The people were doing exactly as they were told to do.

Psalm 50:9 (NKJV) I will not take a bull from your house, Nor goats out of your folds.

God had no intentions of forcibly taking anything from them. The people were bringing just what the Law required. They were checking off squares on their checklist. Bringing in and making the sacrifices was becoming routine – business as usual. But that was not what God was after.

Psalm 50:10–11 (NKJV) For every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills. 11 I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine.

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