Are you “all in?”

How many times in your life did you feel you had to do something, but your “heart” just wasn’t in it? In coaching athletes, I have found that many young men and women have considerable talent, but it is not fully realized because they were not convinced that they had to exercise the whole of that talent to be all they could be. Same is true for people in their work. There are the 9-to-5ers who punch the clock and do whatever they must to get to the end of the day. Then there are those who really believe in and love their work. They do it because they love what they do, not because they feel they have to do it. To me, this characterizes the debate on tithing—is it a “must do” or is it “freewill” from the love of the heart?

I’m going to suggest that tithing, or contribution unto the Lord, is a reflection upon each person’s heart—their place where the Lord dwells, and it doesn’t have to do with just money. The Hebrew word for “contribution, gift or freewill offering” is Trumah. In Exodus 25:2, the LORD told Moses, “Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering (Trumah): of ever man that gives it willingly with his heart you shall take my offering.” The offering was for the building of the Mishkan (Tabernacle), the place that would symbolize the Presence of the LORD among the Israelite people during their journey to Canaan. Then the LORD says in Exodus 25:8, “They are to make me a sanctuary so that I may live among them.”

Spiritually speaking, each of us is created to be a “mishkan,” a dwelling place for God. 1 Corinthians 6:19 asks “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit in you, whom you have from God?” Our Trumah is the choice to give our hearts to the LORD by inviting him to abide within us as Christ said in John 15:4,5: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch (you) cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine (Christ); no more can you, except you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches: He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing.” When we are willing to give our hearts to the LORD and make God’s dwelling place within our hearts, then He can reveal Himself through our lives to others.

The tithe, the Trumah, is reflective of your heart, your temple—mishkan–of the Lord. It is not about the legalistic provision of ten percent to the church. It’s about the all-in partnership of the LORD abiding in you and you abiding in Him, beginning with the giving of your heart as His dwelling place. In doing so freely, Christ is revealed to others through our everyday lives. In this we have daily sacrifices in our personal temple, as described in Romans 12:1, “…to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, which is your reasonable service.” God doesn’t want ten percent, He wants 100 percent that you as Christ said in Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” So are you “all-in?”

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Bill Wilson