Of the preachers who tell their congregants how to get blessed by tithing, they often add a broader definition of tithing to include our talents and time, as well as our treasures.
Do you know anyone who tithes 10% of their time to God? Of their waking hours to God? It’s rare enough to find someone who gives God 20 minutes a day in a Quiet Time of some sort, or in prayer.
And what is the number one complaint among your friends? “There’s never enough time to get everything done in a day.” And this feels so true. There isn’t enough time to accomplish everything in my “To Do” list. I grew up in an era when most stores were closed on Sundays. With two working parents, it made most Saturdays very busy with shopping, errands and projects where we might need to run over to the hardware store for additional supplies. Now we can shop 24/7 with the internet. We can get what we need at 24/7 drugstores and convenience stores. And on the day after Thanksgiving, one can go into a store at 5:00 am to shop for extra bargains. People stand in line to do this.
As my friend Sarah points out, God has an even higher expectation for time than 10%. It’s 14.28571%. Or 1/7. That is equivalent to 1 day out of 7. That’s right: 1 day a week. He calls it the Sabbath. And it’s a commandment. “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates (Exodus 20:10, NKJV).”
I believe the Sabbath isn’t about something we don’t get to do, that causes us to groan. It’s about getting to do something we love to do with God. To finally have time for a hike, or to play tennis, or picnic, or paint. Kingdom living doesn’t focus on strict rules; it’s about doing life with Jesus.
I have an uncle who is a talented artist. I know this because I see his doodles on placemats when we go out to eat. I encourage this gift. I give him canvases, charcoals, paints, and sketch books for Christmas. They collect dust in his basement. He is too busy working to develop this talent. His gift is God given and undernourished. I pray for him to find time to draw and explore this gift. So far, I’m still waiting for the Christmas when he gives me a finished sketch. Sowing the seed of time includes enjoying and exploring and developing the gifts and talents God has given us.
As we live by this philosophy of tithing time in practicality, I believe life starts to go smoother. We become more efficient in what we do with the other 6 days. As we sow the seed of time, God has a way of multiplying time back to us. For example, people start to offer to help with a project and that cuts my workload by 50%.
Tithing time, and tithing in general, is about caring about God’s order of living and being blessed as we do so. When I meet mature givers, they jump at the opportunities to bless others because they know and trust God’s ability to multiply blessings to them in return.