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To Tithe or Not to Tithe

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Last week on my blog I described my journey to rearrange my apartment and how many piles of stuff I had scattered around my living room. After reading my blog, my dear friend Leslie offered to come over and help me sort through some of the stacks of stuff. Before I accepted, pride began to surface as I thought there is no way I want anyone to actually see my living room. Then my Beloved Trinity whispered to me “I am pouring out a blessing.” Receive my love.

Leslie and I spent several hours on Saturday sorting, filing, and organizing. While we worked we shared stories and indulged in hot chai. Yum! Our conversations were truly the blessing. Leslie was in the middle of a very funny story while I was perched on my favorite comfy club chair. I came across my third quarter giving report from my church. I was shocked.

You see, based on my offering and tithing to date, I am way behind for the year. I was confused. What happened?
 
Then I remembered that this year more than any other year I traveled quite a bit and often on the weekends visiting loved ones. In fact, I have gained enough miles this year to qualify for a more prestigious level in my U.S. Airways Dividend Miles program. Priority boarding and free bag check here I come!
 
I actually love the act of “bringing” my gifts to church whether by walking it down the aisle or when the plate makes it way down the row; even though with today’s technology I could just have it automatically deducted online. I love the act of placing the envelope in the plate. Call me old school.
 
As cheesy as it may sound, my heart is often moved when the ushers walk in unison back to the front of the church and present the gifts of the entire congregation to the Lord. What a sight!
 
Well my giving preference creates a dilemma with the backdrop of my frequent travels. If I only give when I am actually at church on Sunday and I am at church half the Sundays then my giving is cut in half. My tithe and offering this year has been literally cut in half (actually more than half).
 
Although I have never been perfect, I used to be much more consistent in my giving. In Malachi 3:10 the Bible instructs us to, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”
 
I gave for a diverse array of reasons. I knew the church could use my resources even though they were not much. God instructs us to give. I didn’t want to feel guilty for being disobedient. Giving is a form of worship. I wanted to be a good Christian. It made me feel good when I gave.
 
So I gave.
 
Well this year clearly I haven’t been giving very consistently.
 
Yet this same year . . .
 
God has allowed me to feel his love more than ever before in my entire life. God has given me such peace regarding his provision of my every need. God has healed my heart in ways that I cannot begin to express. God has guided me in ways I never anticipated. God has poured out overflowing blessings upon me, even when I do not ask. My friend Leslie being case in point.
 
As I stared at the giving report I wondered then why do I feel compelled to give. Why did I pull out my giving envelope and set it aside to make sure I remembered it on Sunday?
 
As I searched my heart I realized it was because He loves me.
 
What I am about to say may sound irreverent, but the fact that God has been so extravagant to me despite my inconsistent giving makes me want to give to him more. You see His opulent love for me has healed me from my giving out of duty. Now I want him to know that I trust him. That I love him.
 
I want to pour out all MY adoration on my Beloved so he doesn’t have room to receive it.
 
If I don’t give . . .
 
The kingdom of God is in no danger. God still pours out his blessings. God’s love continues to be immeasurable.
 
Even so, at church on Sunday I joyfully placed my envelope in the plate and checked the box requesting electronic giving for 2012. Why? Because I love him.

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