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Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 38 : Render Unto Caesar | Day 266

Render Firstfruits to God!

Jihad called his pastor to explain. He would not be able to give a tithe for the next two months, because he was purchasing land in the country of Qatar. He assured the pastor that he would more than make it up when the land was sold. His pastor warned him, "Jihad, how can God bless a project when you don't first honor Him with your resources."

However, Jihad was confident that this was an exceptional investment opportunity. Therefore, he and his three friends bought the property. Sure enough, in just two weeks the land doubled in value, but instead of selling it right away they decided to keep it a little longer in hopes of making even greater profits.

The next week all land in Qatar was nationalized. This meant that only a national could buy and sell property. Jihad found a fellow employee who was a native of Qatar and asked him to sell the land in his name, offering him 10% of the sale. The man agreed, but tragically, the day before the sale was to be final, the coworker died of a heart attack. When the brother of the deceased man came to collect his personal effects, Jihad and his three friends tried to explain their arrangement. The brother would not listen and said firmly, "I don't know anything about you. This property belonged to my brother and you are trying to steal it from him!" In the end, Jihad learned the importance of honoring the Lord with his finances.

“Honor the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty ...” (Proverbs 3:9-10).

Just as God instructed His people to pay taxes to their earthly rulers, so He expected them to pay tithes and offerings to Him. Thus, He asks, “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings” (Malachi 3:8). The tithe honors the Lord and glorifies Him as it acknowledges that our heavenly Father is our great Provider.

As we obey God by honoring Him with our tithes and offerings He has promised to open the windows of heaven and pour out His blessing (see Malachi 3:10). He also promises to "rebuke the devourer" for our sakes (see Malachi 3:11). If we do not give our tithes to God, He may simply allow Satan to devour them. In either case, we will not be able to keep them.

A tithe reminds us that everything we have has been given to us by God and is a testimony of His ownership.

The laws of the harvest are explained and related to our generosity in giving. The more we sow the more we will reap, and the more God will give back to us for further sowing. (See II Corinthians 9:6.) God is able to not only fully supply our own needs but also what is needed to abound in every good work (see II Corinthians 9:8).

In your journal this week, make two columns. On the left-hand side, write down the specific things that we should render to "Caesar." On the right-hand side, put down the things we should render to God. We can make additional entries about future experiences we have in giving or not giving to the civil government and to God and the results of these decisions.

“Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's” (Matthew 22:21).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard