The Time Tithe

 

Can Tithing Time Add Time Back into Our Lives?

Can Tithing Time Add Time Back into Our Lives?

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. 

 

 


Does Our Giving Outweigh Our Thanks this Thanksgiving?

Does Our Giving Outweigh Our Thanks This Thanksgiving?

Does Our Giving Outweigh Our Thanks This Thanksgiving?

We take time once a year to celebrate Thanksgiving.  It’s a day to count our thankfulness to God in so many ways.  Taking time to really ponder our blessings fills our hearts with Thanks, and then giving.

It doesn’t take but a photo of war torn cities to be grateful for not having bombs go off in our country.  It doesn’t take but a photo of poverty stricken areas to be grateful for the meal on our tables.  It doesn’t take a child’s hand begging on a street corner to be grateful for a job, or even the welfare structure of our country. Homeless people sleeping in tents can make us grateful for a roof over our head.  We may not have everything we yearn for.  But we have what we have.  It’s the start point of gratitude for God.

Taking time to praise God begins to fill us with love for God and all He does for us.  We have access through Jesus to peace that passes understanding, to hope because of His faithfulness to us.  We know our prayers are heard.  We believe the Bible when it says, God is for us.  These truths begin to fill us with gratitude—to the point of spilling over.  This point of overflowing is where the convergence of thankfulness turns to giving.  As we realize our gratefulness, we turn to give out.

Does our giving outweigh our thanks this Thanksgiving?  It doesn’t have to be monetary.  It could be graciousness to a difficult relative.  It could be the gift of forgiveness to an old wound or new offense.  It could be letting people work out their relationships with God with silent prayer and love.  It could be simply showing up.  It could be loving again where love has been abused or misunderstood.  In choosing to love, we love wisely.  We love on God’s terms.  But the choice to address the issue and choose love (including tough love) once again is often costly.  Yet this sacrificial giving of love is noted in heaven and joined with supernatural power to join in your choice to give.

Let’s let our giving outweigh our thanks this year.


Rebekah’s Giving – Doing the Math

Rebekah's offer of water for multiple camels took hours to fulfill.  The rewards were huge.  Photo by GraceClovis.org

Rebekah offer of water for multiple camels took hours to fulfill. The rewards were huge. Photo by GraceClovis.org

Genesis 24 tells the story of Rebekah standing by a well in a small town when a stranger approached and asked for a drink.  She said yes. Verse 19 continues, “And when she had finished giving him a drink, she said, “I will draw water for your camels also, until they have finished drinking.” Let’s look at the math of her offer. One camel can drink twenty gallons, so ten can consume two hundred gallons. Two hundred gallons drawn with a five-gallon jar, equals forty trips back and forth to the well. Forty trips at three minutes each, equals two hours of hard work – for a stranger. Think about it: Rebekah showed uncommon kindness to a stranger, and became the bride of Isaac and an heir to Abraham’s fortune.

Rebekah must have good shape to be able to draw from a well and pour that kind of water, possibly in hot temperatures. She also offered more than the minimum. She didn’t have a “What’s the least I have to do here?” mentality. She had the gift of hospitality and went to great lengths to extend this effort.

The Biblical principle is that we determine the level of which we receive by the level at which we give. “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38 NIV.

For Rebekah’s hospitable efforts, her loved ones got blessed too. After Abraham’s servant revealed who he was, he brought out gold and garments and gave them to Rebekah. Then he added gave precious gifts for her family. The rewards of our generosity often overflow and touch the lives of those around us.


The Promise of Life Beyond the Box

"Because I live, you will live also."  John 14:19

“Because I live, you will live also.” John 14:19

What happens when we die?  Everyone wonders about this question at some point.  Some settle it with, “We end up in a box, and that’s the end of it.”  But the majority of people believe there is an afterlife.  Most people have a vague notion of a heaven.  Many people think they are going to heaven without having investigated what it might take to get there.

Jesus talked a lot about what the Kingdom of God is like, both on earth and in heaven.  According to Jesus, all are welcome.  But few will get there.  “For many are called, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:14. To His followers, He promised eternity with God the Father.

John 14:19  reads, “Because I live, you will live also.”  When we die, we do not end up in a box.  There is life beyond death.  We don’t come back as an insect or some other animal.  We keep going.  We keep our lessons, we keep our love of good.   Our good works unto God live on after us on earth.  God evaluates all our works in heaven.  All that is not done unto God gets forgotten and eventually wisps away.  But what we invested in others lives on.  What we talked about that honors God lives on in this eternal book. “Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard.  A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name.”  Malachi 3:16. The prayers (not just wishes) we prayed are still being answered.  We plant, but God makes things grow.  1 Cor 3:7.

People miss loved ones when they die.  We feel sad.  The hope remains that we will see them again. The angel came and confronted Mary Magdalene after Jesus was murdered, “Do not fear.  He is not here.  He is risen and alive.”  Matthew 28:5  Since Jesus lives, we do too.  Jesus told one of the two men hanging on crosses next to his that he would be with Jesus in heaven that day.  “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”  Luke 23:43 This is our hope.  This is our confidence.  We live on, in heaven, with Jesus.

 


Does the Tithe Principle Work for Everyone? Part 2

God Continues His Part of the Title Commitment into the 21st Century

God Continues His Part of the Title Commitment into the 21st Century

 In Part 1, we learned how a Hindu woman had seen God live up to His part of the promise of the tithe when she had done her part.  She also learned the reverse was true.  She had reminded her husband to tithe after a large one-time business amount came into their household.  He chose not to.  Within two years, every penny of the funds invested had dried up.  She became even more convinced of the tithe principle.

It amazes me how the promise in Malachi 3 is recognized by people of many different faiths.  The principle does not require one to become a Jew, in the Old Testament, or a Christian, in the New Testament.   This principle seems to be stand alone and independent of a background belief system.  Even people who reject other parts of the Bible, but honor this principle, seem to be blessed in this area.

In this particular situation, the woman who first knew God’s word to be true by the tithe, decided to investigate further about other principles in the Bible since this one was true.  She was not necessarily interested in pursuing God; she was interested in more blessings for her family.   She also wanted God to hear her heart wishes for her family.

So she began reading the Bible to learn more.  Parts of the Bible can be confusing.  Surprisingly most of the Bible is written as a collection of stories that hold the interest of a reader like a good book.  The Bible contains a lot of history as well as prose and practical ways of conducting one’s life that please God.

Ultimately she opened the Bible to Romans 10:9 one day and read, “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”  In her innocent way, she said out loud what she knew about this man Jesus and agreed that He must still be alive because He had helped her, she asked to be saved from her sins as a Christ follower.  Nothing major happened in that moment.  Later, she looked back to recognize that was the moment she was adopted into God’s family.

Who would have guessed that testing God, as we are invited to do in Malachi, would bring someone into the Kingdom of God?

“Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, tha there may be food in my house.  And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”  Malachi 3:10


Does the Tithe Principle Work for Everyone? Part 1

God Continues His Part of the Tithe Commitment into the 21st Century

God Continues His Part of the Tithe Commitment into the 21st Century

“Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.  And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”  Malachi 3:10

Last Tuesday in the Healing Rooms, we had a woman who told us her journey to coming to believe in God was through the principle of tithing.  She had somehow been exposed to this principle in another country at a Catholic elementary school.  All the while, she believed in her family’s Hindu religion.  Yet somehow, she always remembered that promise from God that if someone tithed, He would open up the windows of heaven.

So she shared that the first time her father gave her $200 of her own, she gave 10% or $20.00 to a charity.  The remaining $180 grew to $400 and she tithed again.  The $360 stretched to meet a pressing need that would normally have cost a lot more.

She also found that her prayers to God got answered, as she tithed.  One day her growing family needed a new home and started to look for a house to rent.  They found the perfect place, but they also learned that 31 other applicants also thought it was good for them.  Because it was so late in the day, her husband decided to drive it over to the landlord since it was so late in the day.  The application specifically said to fax the applications in.  Nonetheless he drove it over to her home.  She opened the door and said she was so grateful to meet the family and commented that it was the first application she had received.  To their surprised faces, she shared that her fax machine was not working that day.  They ended up getting the house.  Her husband chalked it up to luck.  She knew it was God answering her prayers.

Continued in Part 2

 


Prayers for the Parched: A Giving God

God's Gifts Come in All Shapes and Sizes

God’s Gifts Come in All Shapes and Sizes

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.”  Malachi 3:10

God,

I praise you for being a giving God!

You know how to give good presents

Malachi 3:10 says that you will open the windows of heaven for us and pour out a blessing

 

You know how to teach

You know how much I can handle

You know how much to give

Your storehouse overflows

Your riches are so much more than just money

Open my eyes to what you see

Teach me to receive

I praise you for being a giving God

 

I praise you for your generosity

You give me thought

You give me your plans of action

You give me time for every conversation and request

You give me your son

You give me YOU

Your peace

Your love

Your joy

Your understanding

Your perspective


Words to Abraham: Go and Bless – Part 1

Words to Abraham, “Go and Be a Blessing”

God commanded Abraham to “Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you.”  Genesis 12:1.  The next two verses explain how God will bless Abram.  These are big God promises, “And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, and make your name  great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse.  And in all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Inherent in the first command of  “Go” for Abram was leaving everything he knew, leaving friends and extended family, leaving the creature comforts of being a respected community leader, and leaving the fruits of years of labor.  Have you ever been asked to Go somewhere? It’s not easy.  Even having to go and get a job requires effort and a new direction.  Go and move to a new place isn’t as challenging with phones and computers.  God still asks people today to go and do new things, move to unknown places and leave a thriving community to start something new.

If God is asking us to “Go,” we can look for blessing in the obedience of His direction


How do we walk abundantly more with God?

Hand in Hand with God    Psalm 115: 14-15 reads, “May the Lord give you increase more and more, You and your children.  May you be blessed by the Lord,  Who made heaven and earth.

One of the best things the Lord gives us is Himself.  Learning to walk with God’s presence more each day is learning to walk in abundance.  He is the One who gives us power to live in His ways.  Living in His ways positions us to be where there is truth and integrity and answered prayer.  More and more of God brings more and more Godly patterns and principles to our lives.  Living in Godly principles produces many good things in our lives.  There are benefit to thinking of others, watching our language, studying the living scriptures, meaning what we say and behaving in line with scripture.

Can we have abundant life without God?  Do we really want abundant life without God?  Abundant living starts with God, and more of Him.  Abundance in life is allowing more of God into every aspect of our lives.  This process unfolds as we spent more time in scriptures learning about what Jesus said while he was here on earth.  The truths still apply now.  We get more abundance in every area of our lives when we invite Him in to every area of our lives.  Becoming aligned with his ways can be costly, especially at first.  But walking with Him and in His ways feels cleaner and cleaner, better and better and more life-giving.  “May the Lord give you increase more and more, starts with a desire to be with God more and more.”