NameEmail Carlo’s new business venture looked like a great success. Investors were pouring millions of dollars into his company, and the return on investment was so good that some people mortgaged their homes and invested their life savings with Carlo. He was making $250,000 a day—in 1920! But it was soon discovered that Carlo’s company wasn’t generating any profits at all. Carlo had been using the money of new investors to provide dividends to longer-term investors. When a greater number of his clients began demanding their money, Carlo (Charles) Ponzi’s scheme was revealed to be a massive fraud— and many people lost everything they had. Ponzi’s get-rich-quick scheme wasn’t the first ever devised, and it certainly won’t be the last. While the Bible doesn’t suggest that God wants His people to be involved in get-rich-quick schemes, it does clearly state that God intends for His people to be financially secure. In fact, the Bible says that God wants us to have more than enough! HintThe Bible begins by saying, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) God created the universe out of nothing “by the breath of His mouth.” (Psalm 33:6) Therefore, everything in the world is God’s property. Human beings—to whom God has entrusted wealth—are simply managers of God’s goods. We are stewards given the task of managing God’s property. All we have is His. Jesus explained this in a parable when He said, “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them.” (Matthew 25:14) HintThe God of heaven is the rightful owner of all the world’s wealth. A person may have money in the bank or investments in precious metals, but the true owner of everything is God.Where do all our financial blessings come from? You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get ________________. well power Wealth blessedHintThe Bible makes it clear that God is the source of all blessing. James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” When it comes to financial matters, it is the blessing of God that enables us to obtain what we have. Our financial blessings come from God.How much of a person’s income has God asked to be returned to Him? All the _____________ of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s. It is holy to the Lord. Tithe harvest crop yieldHintThe word “tithe” means “a tenth.” God claims one-tenth of our income as His. It is to be returned to Him as a demonstration of faith in God and as an expression of love for Him. HintWhen God divided the Promised Land among the tribes of Israel, He did not give the tribe of Levi a large tract of real estate, as He gave the other tribes. Along with certain cities that God gave Levi, He designated that the Levites be supported by the tithe. This was to be their income, in return for the ministry they performed in the sanctuary. HintJust as God intended for ministers in Old Testament times to be supported by the tithing system, He intends for ministers today to be supported in the same way. Paul was very specific in his commentary about the tithing system, making it clear that tithing is still God’s means of supporting the preaching of the gospel. God intends for all His people to return the tithe to Him, so that the good news of the gospel can be proclaimed throughout the world. In this way, all God’s children can participate equally and share in the blessing of taking the gospel to the world! HintJesus was unimpressed with people who observed certain religious principles while failing to experience the heart change offered through the work of the Holy Spirit. While he rebuked the spirit that failed to demonstrate Christian grace, He commended the practice of returning tithe. While the Pharisees were wrong in failing to show justice, mercy and faith, they were right to tithe.Where in the Bible is the first example of tithing found? Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said: “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a _____________ of all. piece part portion TitheHintTithing was practiced before the nation of Israel existed. Clearly, tithing is not an ordinance reserved only for Jews. God grants people of all ages the privilege of practicing faithful stewardship, and honoring Him with their possessions. In Genesis 28:22, Jacob also pledges to honor God with a tithe of his wealth. The Bible refers to Jesus’ ministry as our High Priest as being “according to the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 6:20) As Melchizedek’s ministry was supported by the tithing system, it is appropriate that the priesthood during Jesus’ ministry would also be supported by the tithe.For what purpose should the tithe be used? Bring all the tithes into the _______________________, that there may be food in My house. warehouse Storehouse house gatesHintThe “storehouse” was administered by the priests, and was closely connected with the temple (or sanctuary) ministry. Nehemiah 10:38 says, “And the priest, the descendant of Aaron, shall be with the Levites when the Levites receive tithes; and the Levites shall bring up a tenth of the tithes to the house of our God, to the rooms of the storehouse.” When God stated that the tithe should be brought into the storehouse—which today we would recognize as the church— God’s clear intention was that the tithe would be used specifically for the work of ministry.Can I choose what I want my tithe to be used for? All the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s. It is ___________ to the Lord. holy worthy good pleasingHintThe tithe has been designated by God to be used for the work of ministry. It is holy. Therefore, we are not to decide for ourselves to use it in another way that we might think suitable. The tithe is not to be used for charitable giving purposes. God has specifically claimed it as His own.So how should a person support worthy causes if not by using the tithe? Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed me! But you say, “In what way have we robbed you?” In tithes and _____________________. donations offerings sacrifices givingsHintIn addition to the tithe—which is holy and is intended solely for the support of the work of ministry—God’s people were able to bring to Him free-will offerings. These offerings were voluntary, and were left to the discretion of the giver. In the same way, after our first 10 percent has been returned to God as tithe, we are free to give God additional offerings. Additional offerings beyond the tithe may be directed to a variety of causes, at the discretion of the giver. HintTo neglect to tithe is to commit robbery! He leaves us in no doubt as to the seriousness of refusing to tithe. In Exodus 20:15, God says, “You shall not steal.” Neglecting to tithe is stealing from God. The tithe belongs to Him. HintGod promises to prosper those who faithfully tithe, stating that those who tithe out of a heart of love for God will receive so much blessing that they will not have enough room to receive it! God pledges that His people will have more than enough! In addition, He says that He will bless the ground of those who enter into this trust relationship with Him. HintWhile tithing is not one of the Ten Commandments, it is clearly something God wills for us. Obedience to God is not a matter of righteousness by works, but is a form of righteousness by faith. God has always called His people to live lives of obedience. When His will is obeyed from the heart, such demonstrations of faith are evidence that love for God reigns supreme in the life of the believer.If a person tithes, can that person expect to prosper financially? “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 ___________________ that there will not be room enough to receive it.” kindness blessings wealth loveHint“Blessing” comes in many ways. While God can certainly choose to prosper the business of His faithful children, or cause an unexpected windfall to come into a person’s life, He might instead choose to grant the blessing of good health, or savings on purchases, or the blessing of peace of mind. The greatest blessing God can choose to offer is that of His presence. And while He has promised to pour out great blessings into the lives of those who tithe, it is presumptuous to believe that tithing is the doorway to financial prosperity. While God has promised that His people will be secure, He has not guaranteed material riches. HintAny person seeking to honor God should make it his or her first priority to seek God’s ways and allow Jesus to work out His will in his or her life. It is faith that takes God at His word and permits the will of God to be done. God encourages us to seek His will, and then trust that the blessings He has promised will be graciously granted.