Those who call Jubilee their “home” church regularly give a tithe to the Lord. The word “tithe” means “tenth” and it is a way of honoring God with the first 10% of our income.
Giving and Receiving
Giving and receiving is part of the life of every believer. The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many. He gave so we can give. This is the grace of our Lord. For we know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that though He was rich, yet for yours sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9 We all have time, talent, and treasure to give; and the Lord wants us to honor Him with all of these.
Here at Jubilee, we are a giving people. I believe we have the grace that was on the Macedonian Church, a grace to give and receive. There are five basic areas of giving that we have identified as a church and want to educate and activate our giving in. They are not new, but we hope to bring emphases and faith in these areas of giving as well as faith to receive.
TITHES AND OFFERINGS
Tithes (or ten percent, as the word tithe literally means) were first given by Abram (later God changed his name to Abraham) to the priest Melchizedek (Genesis 14) in response to Abram’s victory and the blessing given to him by Melchizedek. Next, we see Jacob as he was running from Esau, his brother, and was met by God in a dream (Who promised to bless him with a physical inheritance, a spiritual inheritance and a promised return to the land). When he awoke he acknowledged God and promised to tithe (Genesis 28). By the time tithing was “canonized” in the law, it had been a “faith practice” for over four hundred years. Tithing is our response to “God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth” our declaration that our provision comes from Him, and by faith we return to Him a tithe of all. Genesis 14:19, 20
As the Tabernacle was built, and later the Temple, tithing became the means of support for the ministry of God’s House. When this was neglected, spiritual decline resulted. When revival came, tithing also came back. In Malachi, the Lord gives a command and a promise that still challenges us today, when He says, “bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it”. Malachi 3:10
Today, our tithes and offerings go to support our church, our facilities, staffing, services, and general operating expenses. This is the” General tithes and offerings” that we take at each service. Monies not designated for a specific purpose go into our general account and go to meet our general budget which the church council approves each year. Our church council is made up of five men and women who meet the qualifications of deacons (Acts 6:1-7; 1 Timothy 3:8-13). They are of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. They help shape and approve the church budget and all major financial commitments.
MISSIONS AND ALMS
Our Nations and Alms offerings are received on the first Sunday of every month and are directed toward our outreaches and the showing of mercy. Specific support of designated Nation’s ministries and projects, are included in this giving. Channel of Blessings was included until November, 2017. We believe in giving toward evangelism and mercy to care for the poor, as this was a priority of Jesus’ ministry and the early church, as indicated in Acts 11:27-30, where special offerings were taken up for this cause. Jubilee Church also designates a tithe of all the “general tithes and offerings” back into this work.
SPECIAL OFFERINGS AND PROJECTS
From time to time, we receive special offerings for guest speakers, projects, and other one-time giving events, as well as special projects we keep before the body. These projects usually have to do with the facility improvements that we do not have budgeted in our general budget. By these special project offerings, we are able to move into areas of increase by the special giving of God’s people. (Genesis 35 and 36)
FRAMING OUR FUTURE
This is a special fund we created for the body to give “faith” for our future properties and buildings. To date, we do not own any property, or buildings, but a few years ago it was decided that we needed to sow weekly toward our future. “Faith promises” are promises we make to the Lord to give a certain amount toward our future properties. The amount is not what we are building, but our “faith giving” is what we are sowing. We all know how expensive property is in Southern California, but if each one of us gives toward our future we are sowing faith. When the full funds are needed on the Mount of the Lord, they will be provided. This offering is also connected to our own future as a people. In Haggai, we see that the neglect of the Temple left everyone in ruin; and the impossibility of the project was no excuse to not give. So we give… (Haggai 1 and 2)
Several years ago, the church council decided to make available the opportunity to give funds to pastors and staff in the spirit of firstfruits offerings. These are designated funds the Lord might direct an individual or family, who have been blessed with increase. This is the first portion of a financial return, raise, or whatever represents the first of new increase to give and bless those who serve on staff here at Jubilee. This could be given toward all the staff or a specific staff member. (Numbers 18; Nehemiah 12)Please note that all the staff who serve here at Jubilee do so willingly and not for gain. Firstfruit monies are required to meet salaries and wages that have been agreed upon by the church council and placed into the budget each year. This budget is supported by the general tithes and offerings, and by the grace of God are met each month. Everyone on staff knows what they are being paid and have agreed to this. Firstfruits giving are offerings that become a blessing for the staff to abound.
TAX DEDUCTIBLE GIVING
All five areas of giving explained above are tax deductible. All offerings distributed to individuals (i .e. ministries, staff, etc.) are distributed as taxable income and reported.
GIVING AND RECEIVING
The Apostle Paul, expressed the beauty of “giving and receiving” so wonderfully in Philippians 4:10-20. He acknowledged their giving as a blessing but not a necessity. Paul had learned the secret of contentment and the ability of Christ to strengthen him in all circumstances, whether abounding or abasing he could do all things through Christ. Nevertheless giving and receiving was a partnership yet he did not seek the gift but the fruit that was to abound in their account. Paul acknowledged their gifts as “a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.” Paul went on to declare “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” This is truly the grace of giving. It is giving that leads to thanksgiving and praise to God.
A WORD ABOUT RECEIVING
We give by faith and we receive by faith. But, it’s not a vending machine in which we are putting our time, talent, and treasure. It is to God. Receiving can be difficult, because it involves God and therefore is a “grace by faith” phenomenon. We can give without faith, but it is almost impossible to receive from God without faith. The seed we give must “fall into the ground and die” (John 12:24, 25). This means we will often, in true “faith giving,” not receive back from the place we gave. When we give without the expectancy that our gift will yield from where we gave it, we move toward giving to God. We give to God, therefore, we look to God to receive.
What we sow, how much we sow, and where we sow all factor into receiving. “he who sows little will reap little”…“whatsoever a man sows that he shall reap”… “He who sows to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption and he who sows to the spirit shall of the spirit reap life everlasting.” (2 Corinthians 9:6; Galatians 6:7-10)
Some simple principles to keep in mind are; “give to God without any strings attached.” Don’t look for something from your gift, accept that the Lord will give back to you in greater measure, using man. “Expect to receive” but don’t limit God in how He is going to do it or when. “Keep on giving.” Jacob was a fugitive from his father’s house when he had the revelation of God’s promise of prosperity to him, and made his promise to tithe. It wasn’t until fourteen years later that he began to move into a position to increase. Even then, his wages were changed numerous times after that. When he met Esau (twenty years later) he had become a prosperous man with many children and goods.
“God blesses us, not because of what we give but because it is His nature to give and therefore it is our nature to give.” Let love be our motivation. Tithes, and all offerings, are not investments and wages that we can loan or invest for a greater return. They are “gifts given”. Once given, we have completed our part of worship. The fact that we give is keeping our faith alive because we are partaking in His divine nature and trust Him to bless us beyond what we can naturally do and honor Him in the gift given. ”Keep casting your bread upon the water, after many days it will return.” You never know when the blessing is coming, but it will come.
“Meditate on His word and then you shall make your way prosperous and have good success” The Word of God is our greatest provision from the Lord and when meditated and observed commands prosperity into our lives. Prosperity is the God given ability to move forward into our destiny.
Giving our tithes and offering to God not man, giving consistently with expectancy, using our faith to receive, believing for increase, meditating on His word and holding fast our confession of hope while feeding on His faithfulness all position us to receive. Being diligent in our work, working with integrity to God and not man, listening to His voice, honoring His word, walking in the fear of the Lord in concert with our giving and receiving, will bring His increase.
THANKS BE TO GOD FOR HIS INDESCRIBABLE GIFT!
Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:10-15
Steve and Cammy Dittmar