I asked him gently why he didn't tithe, knowing he had one financial trial and setback after another.
"What's the longest you tithed at one time?" I asked, confused about his answer. I had ALWAYS seen God come through. Did He sometimes not come through?
"Two months is the longest I ever tithed," he said firmly.
I was stunned. Two months? That's hardly any time at all.
Financial Training In My Childhood
When I was a little girl, my grandparents sent me two checks at Christmas and my birthday. The first went to my savings account, the second was to spend with joy. Yes, there were strings attached to the gifts and direction from the giver of the gifts. At the time, I did not like the idea of putting such a large chunk of money away in the bank. However, as my savings account began to grow, it was more fun to put money into the bank.
My parents gave me an allowance each week and part was to go into the offering plate at church. Usually, it was one-third of the total amount. I remember as a young girl getting $1.50 each week and 50 cents was to go into the offering plate. This was not easy to give away a third of "my money." Again, the giver of the money was dictating how the money was to be used.
Looking back I'm so thankful for both of these scenarios in my life because they prepared me to tithe with joy and consistency.
God is Like My Grandparents
- He gives money to us with the idea that 10% belongs to Him. We are to give it right back!
- He entrusts money to us with the idea that 100% belongs to Him and wants to make ALL the decisions on how it is to be spent. At least 10% is to be given to the local church as an offering.
Managing God's finances is an overwhelming endeavor. It should humble us to think that we get to manage God's money--even if it's just a tiny bit. Our tithe is a reminder that everything we have comes from Him and belongs to Him. Even our bodies belong to God.
"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body," (I Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV).
Investing in Our Heavenly Bank Account
We were bought with a price: the precious blood of Jesus. When we give our tithe, we are simply acknowledging, in an act of worship, that everything belongs to God. Tithing is a way to honor God with our (really, HIS!) money!
Tithing is also a way to invest in our 'Heavenly Bank Account"! We are commanded to store up treasures in Heaven and to give so that it will be given to us! So, tithing is like investing? Well, yes, in a way, it is. Tithes and offerings have a better return than any investment on earth.
Think of yourself as having a heavenly bank account that you put into and withdraw from. Every need you have is met by withdrawing from this account (God's provision). But if the account is empty, how can we expect to withdraw anything? How do we put into the account? We invest with prayer, kind deeds, obedience, tithing, offerings, caring for the poor, and many other ways. But more than anything, how we spend our money reveals our heart. We can look spiritual on the outside, but if we truly love God, we will give Him what is rightly His and our heart will be focused on Heaven.
In our married life, we have always tithed, week after week, year after year, for twenty-five years. Blessed with lean times and plentiful times, every need has been met, every bill paid, and there has been food on the table. Sometimes the food has been hot dogs and macaroni and cheese. Sometimes we have had to live very frugally. Always, there has been joy and laughter because we belong to a Heavenly Father that is trustworthy.
Begin tithing as a act of worship, acknowledging that God owns 100%. Be consistent. Don't stop tithing. You will see His blessing because you are investing in your heavenly bank account. Your treasure and your heart are in Heaven. God honors those who obey Him!
May the Lord bless you in every way--physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially!