When I was in grade 12, I remember our Math teacher saying, “Next year, we’ll be teaching what’s being called ‘the New Math’. You’re just graduating on time to miss out on a whole different way of seeing how numbers work together!” My sister was a year behind me, and watching her struggle with the new way of thinking, made me very happy I missed it!
Since then, our daughters have both been taught Math differently than we were, and now our grand kids are learning stuff we thankfully never heard of! Personally I still like the simple arithmetic, like 1 plus 1 equals 2, and 2 times 2 equals 4!
But there’s another math that God, who created arithmetic in the beginning, taught Adam and Eve. I call it “ Heavenly Math ” because the word heaven simply means “to rise above” – maybe I should call it “Higher Math”.
Here’s how Heavenly Math works:
- God created everything. There’s nothing in this world that did not originate with God, and therefore that God does not own. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1. ‘The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,’ declares the Lord of hosts. Haggai 2:8
- God teaches his creation that everything must revolve around him. It’s not because God has a big ego – rather, like the axle of a wheel must be exactly in the center of a bicycle wheel for it to function, that’s how human life was designed by our Creator. Sadly, our human nature resists the idea that we are not the center of everything, but putting “me first” is how my life falls out of order and into chaos.
He (Jesus) is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. Colossians 1:17-18 NASB
- This applies to our health, our marriage and family, our time and our money. God must have first and center place in everything. That’s why he put a boundary around the two trees in the Garden of Eden, so Adam and Eve would remember the “God first Principle”. Out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the center of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
… The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” Genesis 2:9, 16-17 NASB
- Money is the currency we presently use in every facet of life – we earn money in exchange for our work; and we spend money to buy our food, clothes, home, safety, pleasure etc. Money, even though the paper or metal itself has little implicit value, makes our world go round. It’s like the wheel I wrote about earlier, and so of course the axle must be God. He must be at the center of our income, savings and expenditures.
- Jesus spoke more about money than he did about prayer, or about heaven and hell combined. He explained the reason for his emphasis on money. … for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21 NASB
- 6. Now here’s the Heavenly Math. (The Word tithe means 10%) “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. “Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes,” says the Lord of hosts. Malachi 3:10c-11 NASB
- The first of our income, before the government or our personal expenses, belongs to God.
- The tithe must be paid to “the storehouse”, the place where your spiritual food comes from.
- Your tithe is not a gift from you, because you are a generous person. It belongs to God.
- When we tithe, the “storehouse” (the church) will continue to function in health.
- This is the only place where God says “test me”, so try tithing to see if God’s Word is right.
- When we tithe, God promises to open the Heavens. He will bless our lives.
- He will also protect us from the “devourer” (the devil) who wants to steal blessing from us.
So the New Math goes like this. 100 – 10 = 110+. Human Math says 100 – 10 = 90 but God’s Higher Math promises that when we put God first and return to him the first 10% of our income, he will in turn meet our personal needs with increased blessing. This will positively affect our personal income and fruitfulness, our safety, our spiritual health, our life purpose, our marriage and family.
- The other side of the equation comes when we refuse to put God first. When we stray from the right path, go our own way, and choose to live our lives outside of God’s blessing, we forfeit the promises of God. We do not have the right to pray for his blessings of peace and provision for our lives. We can only ask for his blessing when we are on the path of life that he has prepared for us. You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. Psalms 16:11 NASB
In addition to “The Tithe Principle” in “ Heavenly Math ”, there is a parallel principle. “We Reap What we Sow”. “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” Luke 6:38 NASB , but that’s another article.