In the past, when I regularly attended church, I always tithed. It was never an option and I didn't even give it a second thought. It was a habit, a good habit. Then all the problems with our pastor and his wife, the inevitable divorce, our church not having a pastor for almost three years, and my habit of attendance and tithing was broken. I still gave to all the charities, helped out those I could and gave to the church if we went, but it was not on a regular basis. Then around Thanksgiving of last year, we decided we were going to choose a church and start back to going regularly. We ended up going back to our original church. It felt good to be going back and getting into the habit again. But now as a retired person living on a pension, writing out that 10% check each month seemed like a major obstacle and sacrifice. The real issue is my lack of trust or faith that God will provide and take care of me. The Word tells us in Luke 12:24-34 that God will provide all our needs, all we have to do is trust Him. “Look at the ravens-they don't plant or harvest or have barns to store away their food, and yet they get along all right-for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! "And besides, what's the use of worrying? What good does it do? Will it add a single day to your life? Of course not! And if worry can't even do such little things as that, what's the use of worrying over bigger things? "Look at the lilies! They don't toil and spin, and yet Solomon in all his glory was not robed as well as they are. And if God provides clothing for the flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, don't you suppose that he will provide clothing for you, you doubters? And don't worry about food-what to eat and drink; don't worry at all that God will provide it for you. All mankind scratches for its daily bread, but your heavenly Father knows your needs. He will always give you all you need from day to day if you will make the Kingdom of God your primary concern. "So don't be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom. Sell what you have and give to those in need. This will fatten your purses in heaven! And the purses of heaven have no rips or holes in them. Your treasures there will never disappear; no thief can steal them; no moth can destroy them. Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be.” Luke 12: 24-34 TLB
I remember discussing with my Mom about her dad and his philosophy about tithing. She said Grandpa always said, “Tithing was an Old Testament law.” I have heard all my life tithing is giving ten percent, but thought I’d look into the scriptures behind that thought. Sure enough the ten percent tithe is only mentioned in the Old Testament. Not that I think we are not supposed to tithe, and ten percent is a good starting place, but God does expect us to give and give freely with a generous attitude. In 2 Cor 9:6-8 we read “ Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” God will bless those that freely give. In Mal 3:10 God says, “Test me.” “ Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”
I really hadn’t thought much about tithing, but do remember in January, when I wrote out that check for my tithe, having a moment of hesitation. Thinking, “Can I really make it this month without that money? Things will be tight, but oh well.” So I wrote my check and dropped it in the collection plate as it came by. Then I put it out of my mind and didn’t think about it again. Later on toward the end of the month as I was driving around town listening to the radio, the program was about intentional living. Each program is about the choices we make that are intentional in following Christ and his precepts. One of the ladies that had called in said she and her family had decided to begin to tithe and how hard it was taking that leap of faith. Right then and there God reminded me of my tithing and how I had hesitated and as if he said to me, “You were worried about your tithe, but don’t you remember how that girl just called you out of the blue and placed a large make up order? Do you remember how much her total bill was? (Which I didn’t.) So when I got home I pulled out my ticket book and the total bill was exactly what my tithe had been . . . plus ten percent! Okay, I get it!!! So now when the collection plate comes around I gladly drop my check in and thank God that I am so blessed and that he continues to love me even when I am so weak in my trust. You can’t out give God, just try. Test him for yourself.