Now I know how the pastor feels when he prepares a sermon on tithing, if only slightly. The knowing of the ill-reception of talking about money and faith. The constant putting off the inevitable of what at God is laying on your heart, if only just for the obedience He commands in writing it. Even if no one reads it or listens.
So I write this post out of obedience.
Tithing is one of those add-ons to church attendance for most people. It’s the incentive for a better life in many mindsets, myself included for a time. It’s the straw on the back of the individual looking for an excuse to not attend or be a part of a faith community. But it’s also a reflection of an obedient heart when you get down to the root of it.
We hear talk of being good stewards and giving 10% of our money. Here’s where I struggled:
That 10% felt like a lot of money to come out of this single person’s pocket. I wasn’t earning much and barely covering bills and student loans. And now I was dealing with this tug of my purse strings as a call of obedience to God. It wasn’t coming from a sermon or out of pressure from my church. It was an inward shifting of priorities and desires.
It was, for me, a need to be obedient in the small in order to lay the foundation of obedience in the big things, in the times of trouble, and in the times of peace.
I know that often a single budget is stretched thin and dependent upon the next paycheck or bonus. Sadly, I lived in that for too long.
But I began to see, slowly, that God has given me stewardship over three very distinct things: my time, my talent, and my treasure. And in return, I need to be obedient in giving Him the firstfruits of my life, just as Proverbs 3:9 points out.
The first two are easily identifiable to most people, but often we are reluctant to give any of them first to God. We choose what’s left over—if there’s enough or if it won’t strain us to do so—and then often out of reluctance only.
So instead I take a moment at the beginning of each day, to give Him my best and focused time. I work not in vain, but knowing that I am giving Him the best work I can give. And I intentionally steward my finances, not reluctantly or selfishly, but with the desire to abundantly give first to God.
Do you tithe? Do you feel it is an act of obedience, or does it cause you to close off towards the church?
Photo credit: Peter Gerdes