(A facsimile of this article appeared in the Island Gazette, June 2011.)
Picture in your mind's eye, Jesus standing on a hillside preparing to preach/teach the Beatitudes (Matt. 5: 3-11). Finally, you surmise, there is someone who has come to help you. You sit there waiting with bated breath, barely able to contain yourself. Expectation fills the air as you gaze upon this man. He stands up in front of everyone and states, "If you give me $1,000.00, I will give you a miracle so you can enter into the "Blessing" of the Lord, and I will bless you with a hundred-fold return if you sow a miracle seed! After all, God, my Father, as He lays His hands-on His chest, wants all of you to have a new home, a new car, plenty of money, and possibly a fifty million dollar jet, if you are called to preach the gospel."
"My thoughts are not your thoughts; neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9, KJV). I had worked around banking and investments all my life but knew nothing of God and His thoughts about money. Nor did I understand what He requires from us, His children.
My first recollection of money, after entirely giving my heart to Christ was, How do you give money to God? How am I going to get it to Him? By pneumatic tube? Does He honestly need my money? Where exactly does He live? I wanted answers to my questions, so I began to ask Him based on the scripture found in Matt. 7:7 "Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."
I am appalled at so-called shepherds, pastors, and church leaders that allow the prosperity gospel and its rhetoric to fall from church pulpits all over America and, now, beyond. I am sickened when I watch "feel good" evangelistic voices who have great big grins slapped on their faces who try to coerce those who are genuinely seeking answers for their lives ( I speak from experience).
The Holy Spirit revealed to me, at the beginning of my cross-walk, how to give unto God. I didn't attend a church at the time, so I gave my tithes (10%- Malachi 3: 8-12) where I was learning about God, and He honored my very ignorant effort. I was astonished at what began to occur as I stepped out in faith to give to God with my money. One must, however, be wise.
It is time for reformation in the Body of Christ so one can mature into the things of God, and in turn, bring hope and help to a sick and dying nation. If Jesus is the Christ, we have no excuse, once enlightened, to follow His teachings and God's ways. Tithing is one of those that one enters by faith; however, it is not a prosperity gospel. God have mercy on us for trying to "sell" a miracle for a divine provision that only God Himself doles out.