Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tithing I

Are you kidding me? 10%! Really? ... Really? Don't even get me started about arguments over gross vs. net. The subject of tithing has been on my mind for some time. I have been seeking out information from reliable sources and have been talking to folks from my church to find out what they actually do in this regard. Here is what I have found out:
  • The bible speaks of tithing but I do not believe that this is part of the new covenant, it belongs more to the Old Testament rules and regulations. I sense that God is pleased when we give what we can with a joyful heart and spirit. However, the notion of "first fruits" is entirely relevant here. "Honor the Lord with they substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase.". In other words, in dealing with your income, planning for God's kingdom should be handled first. All too often we look at what's left over after paying all of our monthly debts and hand over to God the crumbs.
  • It seems that everyone that I have talked to who works for my church tithes. I do not know the level at which they give, but I suspect that they follow the Old Testament reference of 10%.
Honestly, the notion of tithing is an uncomfortable one for me. It is a topic that I struggle with, that I try to avoid, that I would rather not have to consider. It boils down to not really wanting to know what God requires of me so that I don't have to face up to the fact that I don't have all that much money left over after the bills are paid for the mortgage, the car, the electricity, the water, the child care, the insurance, the food, ... . I am happy to give what I give when it is on my terms, when it doesn't inconvenience me or impact me in any noticeable manner. Dang it, I have gotten used to living a certain way and any notion of real tithing just cannot fit into my budget.

(Part 1 of a 2 part series)