“Anyone who comes to me and listens to my words and obeys them—I will show you what he is like. He is like a man who, in building his house, dug deep and laid the foundation on rock. The river flooded over and hit that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But anyone who hears my words and does not obey them is like a man who built his house without laying a foundation; when the flood hit that house it fell at once—and what a terrible crash that was!” – The physician Luke quoting Jesus
June 27th, 2009 5 AM Shanghai
In Shanghai, things are tight, and new livings spaces are popping up everywhere. For real estate developers, this is a great time to be building as space is in short supply and high demand.
One particular developer wanted to capitalize on this opportunity by setting record build times. The construction team was formed and when looking over the plans, they understood in order to complete this project in record time they would need to adhere to standards that were not part of the international building codes.
It’s 5 AM and the developer is already back at work. Why would today be any different? They’ve built 12 buildings in the district, all with the same construction methods and none of them have had any problems.
Then it happened. At 5:35 AM one of the 12 thirteen-story buildings topples over. There’s no fanfare, there’s no earthquake, no typhoon. Not like a house of cards, it doesn’t collapse. This building simply falls over. What makes this significant is that most foundational issues cause a collapse following a catastrophe (like an earthquake).
These Shanghai towers were handled in the same way that most Americans have handed their finances. Built with speed and efficiency but without any solid foundation. Without a stable foundation, your financial house will crumble sometimes without any help at all.
Pouring The Foundation
“...As for my family and me, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15
If you don’t have a strong foundation then during any storm you will have major damage to the point of complete collapse. Our (our family) foundation is in Christ. It’s in Him and through Him, we’re able to do anything. Before we get to the habit that changes your finances forever, let’s be sure to highlight, that the real foundation of anything in this world starts with Christ. In the coming weeks, I’m going to share with you principles that will work for anyone, Christian or not, but the most important blessing in life is to realize you have a Heavenly Father that so desperately loves you He sent His son to die for you.
The 1 Financial Habit That Sets Your Financial Future
In the church, it’s called, “The Tithe.” The first fruits. A tithe is simply a tenth. Tithing goes back to a Jewish tradition of giving the first 10 percent to God. Specifically, giving that 10 percent to the “storehouse” or the church. The 10% of the people helped the temple during those time run (incidentally this is how most churches function today as well).
First of all, Tithing is for all. That’s right! Tithing provides blessings to all. While Malachi was a prophet to the Jewish people, tithing goes all the way back to foundations of the Jewish faith and hence Christianity.
When God made a covenant with Abraham it was like He wrote the laws of the universe. All throughout the Bible are people that are clearly not “Christians (there was no such thing before Christ),” who still have their prayers answers, and who are blessed by following the principles laid out.
Tithing isn’t a salvation issue. It’s a financial future issue.
3 Promises The Bible Guarantees From Tithing
You Will Be Blessed (vs 10)
Obviously you don’t give to get. It’s a universal law that giving to others pays you back. Our family has experienced the greatest growth personally and financially when we have given. God’s Word goes beyond “the Secret” and makes the claim that you are giving that you’ll be blessed, period. Your life will be measured by what you give, not what you keep.
God Will Rebuke The Devour (vs 11)
This is the reference to the Biblical version of “Murphy’s Law.” Those little emergencies that steal your money and your joy. For Christians, we know that there are forces that are unseen, but for all people, we’ve experienced the losses financially of the unpredictable. I can tell you the more we give the less we experience this. This doesn’t mean that we don’t face “trials” of every day life, but instead we’re able to withstand them more confidently because we know God is our provider and this promise. (Genesis 22)
Your Life Will Experience An Overflow (vs 12)
The “circle principle” allows you to live very comfortably and give from your overflow. This giving will create opportunities, not to expand your lifestyle but rather to be more generous.
New Testament Christian
Nowhere in the new testament is there a revision of tithing. (Matthew 5:17-18). Paul’s writing becomes clear when you study it out. Jesus came to fulfill the law because we could not. This doesn’t mean that the law went away, but rather through Christ we can now abide by the law. One way to look at this is that we now benefit from the promises of the law (of Moses) without the consequences of failing to follow it. If you aren’t tithing I’m not going to judge you. I believe it’s a HUGE deal for your finances, but relative to your relationship with Jesus, it’s not.
By tithing, you are clearly saying to God, “I believe you can do more with the 90% then I can do with 100%.” It’s first, showing to God that you put His church over your immediate needs. It’s a clear act of faith. I have never seen a tither in a situation where financial destruction was present. (Psalm 37:25)
Tithing gets you to live off less then you make. It’s a great first habit to start regardless of your belief system. This isn’t legalistic. This isn’t a “salvation” issue. Jesus will still love you whether you do this or not. We think it’s fundamental because It creates the habit of giving. You’ll get to a place of understanding “significance” when you start to give. Tithing breaks that mold of waiting until you have enough money to give.
If you wait until you have enough, you’ll likely never make the move. It’s said that the average person waits until they are 50 to start saving. We’re about to change your entire family tree here with how powerful the concept of tithing is. According to a study that Charities Aid Foundation and Bristol University conducting, the most generous generation are those that are 60 and above. If you’re in that group now, bless your heart. If you’re not in that group then let’s start giving NOW as our first step to financial freedom.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking about debt. Yes, even if you are in debt. We’re creating a life-long habit so we need to start now. We’re in the middle of a financial rehab and the first thing you want to inspect is your foundation.