Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2001
Subject: The Best Investments
Dear Ethan & Emily:
Especially in these uncertain business times with the fall of the stock market wiping out most of the huge dollar gains everyone made over the past several years, most everyone is in a quandary as to how to invest their money.
From experience, I can tell you that I have learned over my lifetime that the greatest return on my money has come from the money I have invested in God’s work. Although there are commands to tithe in the Old Testament (and nothing negates this in the New Testament), I do so not because I feel I have to but because I want to, and frankly it just makes good business sense!
Moses told the Israelites long ago: “You must set aside a tithe of your crops—one tenth of all the crops you harvest each year. Bring this tithe to the place the Lord your God chooses for His name to be honored…This applies to your tithes of grain, new wine, olive oil, and the firstborn males of your flocks and herds.” Deut.14: 22 – 23.
Why were they to tithe? Moses continues in v. 23: “The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to fear (honor, hold in reverence) the Lord your God.” To not do so was also considered “cheating God”: “‘You have cheated me (the Lord) of the tithes and offerings due to me. You are under a curse….'” (Malachi 3: 8 – 9)
And the result of tithing? “Then the Lord your God will BLESS you in ALL your work.” (v. 29). This promise is repeated by Malachi: “‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse…If you do,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Let me prove it to you! Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from insects and disease. Your grapes will not shrivel before they are ripe,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘ Then all nations will call you blessed, for your land will be such a delight….'” (Malachi 3: vv. 10 – 12) In the New Testament, Paul reminds us: “God loves the person who gives cheerfully (Greek word translates “hilarious giver”). And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others….Yes, you will be enriched so that you can give even more generously.” (2 Corinthians 9: 7 – 8)
I used to quibble about whether the tithe applied to my gross income or net income, but I have moved beyond that and now start from my gross income. That way I have more to give and more blessings to receive…what a deal…with everything to gain and nothing to lose!
How do I keep up with this? If you would look in my checkbook, you will see that after I make a deposit, on the next line I make an entry for “T&O” (Tithe & Offering). That way I have deducted the tithe and later I go back as I make my offerings and use these monies which I have set aside. Do I give all to our church? I do not, as I consider all Christian ministries and persons as worthy recipients. What a blessing it has been to be able to hand or send checks to send persons on missions trips, or to help show the Jesus Film at places all over the world, feed the homeless at the Denver Mission (I gave money to provide over 100 meals this Thanksgiving), etc. With the larger sum I set aside from the sale of the Boerne property, I plan to begin a scholarship fund at Applachian Bible College (to be used to provide financial help to students who want to serve in Foreign Missions). The possibilities are endless!
God says He likes a I pray that you, too, will find giving to be a blessing. If you will remember from the “Bible Cover Gems” I shared with you earlier, one was: “What I spent, I had.
What I kept, I lost.
What I gave…I have!”
That says it all…
Have a wonderful day.
All my love,
(Marilyn & I did endow the Mission Scholarship at Appalachian Bible College, and we named it after her father, Thomas D. Montgomery. The scholarship not only provides tuition assistance but also includes a trip to Colorado, so we can meet the recipients and get to know them. What a blessing this has been, and by getting to know the recipients better, we are better able to pray for them and their ministries.)