We have all heard about the tithe—giving to God the first 10% of our income to advance the Gospel and further the cause of the Kingdom. In as much as all wealth ultimately belongs to God (Haggai 2:8), and since it is God who gives us the ability to earn money (Deuteronomy 8:17-18), the Bible considers returning 10% back to the Giver of every good and perfect gift a good place to start. The tithe is a form of worship.
But when it comes to the heart, we are never to tithe 10% of our heart to God; we are to give Him all of it—every beat of it! To be sure, giving all of our heart in faithful obedience to our Lord is not always easy; we often fall short of the intended mark. This is what the Bible calls sin. But even though giving all our heart to God is not always easy, it is always right!
Let’s look at an example from Scripture:
On that day Moses swore to me, “The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly.” . . .
Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the LORD, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly. (Joshua 14:9, 13-14)
We see twice in this short passage that Caleb did not tithe his heart to God. Rather, the Scriptures inform us that Caleb followed and served God wholeheartedly. Wouldn’t that be well said of all of us . . . that we followed and served God with all of our hearts? If you remember the story of Caleb from the Bible’s book of Numbers, he was one of twelve spies whom God commanded Moses to send into the Promised Land to scout it out and prepare Israel to enter into it. Caleb and Joshua returned with a favorable report, but the other ten spies said it could not be done. “There are giants in the land!” they quavered (Numbers 13:25-33).
Do you think it was easy for Joshua and Caleb to give the minority report? No, of course it wasn’t easy, but it was right. Do you want to know what else was not easy? It was not easy wandering around the desert until all of the unbelievers of his generation died in the desert (Joshua 5:6). Forty years of apparently aimless wandering, watching all the men and women he grew up with die, and yet through all of it Caleb gave all of his heart to God. No, it wasn’t easy most of the time; I’m sure many times it was flat-out hard. But it was always right.
For you and I today, this is where preaching the Gospel to ourselves comes into play in such a big way. Keeping the truths of the Gospel before us is the key to stoking the fire of the heart. The cross is the testimony to the truth that Jesus refused to tithe His heart to us. He gave it all, shed His precious blood to pay the price for our sins in full, and at the end He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.
“Jesus paid it all,” as the wonderful old hymn proclaims, but He also gave His all. He gave all His heart—His very life itself—so that sinners just like you and me could have life in His name! As we keep the cross work of Christ in view, we find both the motive and the motivation to keep our hearts beating for Him. As Jesus said in Mark 12:30, we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind and with all our strength.
So give God 10 % of your income . . . but give him all of your heart . . . every day!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!