A place of guilt for most, myself included at one point.
Strong opinions are plentiful on this matter. I would be lying if I said I wasn't slightly nervous about writing this out for fear of offending someone.
It took a leap but now I look back and wonder how in the world I ever thought where we were would be better then where we are now.
You see, I was like many others I know. I started out giving what cash I could pull out of my wallet in time for the offering baskets to go by. Later giving myself a "well deserved" pat on the back for being so generous. (Paying no mind that I chose the $10 over the $20 that still remained safe in my wallet or that I spent more on coffee in a week then I gave in a month.)
From then I learned it was about consistency. So I inconsistently tried to consistently tithe random amounts of money to God. Deceiving myself into thinking I was doing pretty good but hiding from the guilt of knowing that I should be giving more money. After all, God wanted more of my money right?
Lets just put that thought away...
Time moved on (Crazy how that happens!) We slllooooooowwwwwwlllllllllllyyyyyyy moved into regular giving. (I'm talking years people) Not always regular amounts but regular giving.
Then about a year ago, I entered a stage of growth in my faith like none I had ever experienced and along that journey my tithing practices were on my heart. I can honestly say that at that point I don't think I had ever tithed a full 10% of any income. I felt the Lord prompting me....challenging me in this area.
Scripture is very clear when we open ourselves to the Lord. I spent a long time justifying WHY I just couldn't give 10% or WHY it was OK that I didn't. "I help out at church." "I'll give when we start making more money." "We just moved into a more expensive place, once I get a handle on things then I will start tithing 10%"
I realized through that period of growth that most of my set backs, my issues with people, places, things, or even God and His word were my doing. They were my excuses. They were my justifications. They were my insecurities. They were my trust issues. Most of my hurdles were perfect placed by no one other than me.
So how was tithing any different?
There were a million reasons not to. There was only one reason to do it.
Trust in God.
After praying and discussing we started tithing a full 10%. I couldn't tell you the exact day or even the month. There was no profound moment or epiphany. Just a tugging on my heart and one of the most difficult decisions to make.
It has been a journey.
There was no instant lottery win but we had food on the table and a roof over our head for a long time when the math didn't add up. We came to a point of extreme financial hardship. Our bills were just more then our income. We came to a point where we were at a loss of what to do. My husband was waiting to hear back from an interview but nothing was certain and we needed immediate help.
We prayed. Hard. Not for more money but for guidance and for God's will to be done. We were prepared for whatever he decided for us, even if it included losing our house. We were at peace.
However, Through prayer and some very generous people God provided our short term needs.
During this difficult time, not knowing if we would need to move next month, our decision to continue to tithe a full 10% was challenged causing us to really evaluate our motives for our tithe.
We sought counsel, who graciously told us to go to scripture and to God. There was no quick answer.
So we prayed, we read scripture, and we asked ourselves why it is we tithe.
The answer surprised us.
It has absolutely nothing to do with the money.
It was our commitment to trust God, not just with money, but everything! It was a tangible way to say THANK YOU LORD for ALL you provide! It was an on going reminder of who is to be first in our lives! It was putting into perspective that money is worthless and God is our treasure!
It was a weekly leap outside of our worldly comfort zone, into our spiritual growth.
The decision to continue to tithe a full 10% was possibly more impactful then the first.
I could go on to tell you that we have been blessed with new jobs and pay increases, which is true but holds little value compared to the ultimate blessing we have received through tithing. A deeper, stronger relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Now the only question we have is how much more to give. Lord, what would you have us do?
And Because I couldn't help myself, I stumbled across this gem a couple weeks ago: