I’ve been blessed to be a tither for as long as I can remember. Admittedly, I’m weird compared to most people. I was taught by parents, church, and school to give 10% of everything to the church because that’s what they said to do. When Kelly and I married, we just built tithing into our planning. We skipped tithing about two months out of our marriage. Other than that, we’ve stayed with the plan. I assumed most Christians did too. Little did I know how difficult this really is for most people.
My eyes were opened when I became a father. It wasn’t solely because resources were tight. Yes, all that was true. Diapers did cost a lot more than we expected. We loved getting the “potty training pay raise.” We could finally afford to go to Outback for a steak once we stopped paying for diapers. The real shock came over the amount of stuff our kids received, and expected. They’ve been loved by grandparents, friends, and church members with many, many goodies. We’re a gift giving family. They do not lack for things. But here’s the hard truth. Because of these blessings, our children just naturally want more of those very same things. Unfortunately, we as parents and others like to feed that perceived need. Here’s my confession and “aha moment” as a parent. Giving to my children without explaining where the gifts come from and teaching how to give back, just feeds greed.
Tithing doesn’t come by osmosis; it’s not a habit that’s caught. Generosity is so counter to the way our culture works that we actually have to teach and practice it like eating a steady diet. If spending is the dessert, tithing is fruit and vegetables.
How do we begin the process? For the next couple of weeks, I’m going to be preaching on generosity. When you fall in love with and follow Jesus, one of the first things he shows us is how much we already have to give. We take inventory; we see what he’s blessed us with. We clean out the pantries and live on what we have. As we do, Jesus asks of us whether we’ll trust him enough to let go of what we have and share it with others. Because generosity only gets more complicated the more responsibilities and blessings we have, he doesn’t want us to wait any longer to start. He says “trust me with what you have.” I’ll show you the Way.
Join us this Sunday as we Live Generously. Even if you’ve been a tither your whole life, we still have a lot to learn together.