Bill and I both grew up in families that pledged faithfully to the church. It was a clear pattern to make a commitment and to keep it.
When we were first married, we tried to juggle different spending and saving styles. One of us had a fear of financial insecurity. We didn’t always agree on our pledge commitment – but we always pledged. Bill wanted to cheerfully pledge beyond my comfort zone – and we always did, increasing the amount each year. We were faithful to God and felt His faithfulness to us.
One Sunday, a long time ago, Elder Terry Looper spoke about tithing instead of just pledging. He related a personal story of despair and hope, compelling him to give more to the Lord. He related how his life changed after he became obedient to the Lord’s command. It rang loud and clear in our heads – the Lord has been so good to us in every trial he had put before us. We must obey and step up to this call.
We had been pledging and increasing our pledge, keeping our lifestyle modest. After hearing and praying and listening, we decided to make the leap of faith – the commitment to tithe – the 10%. We were moderately cheerful about it, expecting nothing but this lesson in personal discipline. We were keenly aware that we weren’t just giving away – we were giving TO, giving BACK. We decided that tithing was more important than spending, and were transformed in tangible and intangible ways.
In the next year or two, we noticed God’s touch in all aspects of our lives. Blessings rained down on us in unexpected ways. (not like unexpected checks just showed up in the mail…but they did). Things that should’ve soured – didn’t. Things that could’ve been “good” came out GREAT. Unimagined grace came our way. Opportunities to speak of Jesus to an unlikely someone became obvious and easier.
Was this a magic wand? No. Did God change things after we began tithing?
He surely changed us – opening our eyes to a deeper awareness of his presence in everything. We were aware that we had invested in His kingdom. It pleases God when we are obedient.
After a recent sermon, we were reminded that God owns everything, and that were are merely managers of his assets. We were compelled to change our wills to increase the amount we are leaving to Grace and to our other charities. We pray that the disposition of our assets glorifies God.
1 Timothy 6:17 speaks to us about how and where to feel comfortable and safe in this life. Command those who are rich (that’s all of us in the world view)…not to put their hope in wealth which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God. (paraphrased)
You do have enough to give to God’s kingdom. Nudge out a bit of whatever is gripping you – holding you back, and it will leave room for more generosity.
We try to live lives that glorify God. Tithing is one way to be obedient, and to please God. Obey His commands and experience His transformation.