It’s Not about Your Money; It’s About You

You know every now and then you have to talk about tithes and offerings. I have before and am doing so again. Now before you react, I cannot pass a plate in this column. As a matter of fact, my point of reference is not the Old Testament’s offering to the Almighty a tenth (tithe) of everything God has blessed you with. Mosaic Law requires this, but I’m compelled to refer for the purposes of this text to Paul’s letter to Timothy. 1Timothy 6:18-19. “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” The more I think about and pray about this, the more important it appears that tithing and offering also include the kind of life we lead as believers in Christ Jesus. I don’t want you to think I don’t understand the money issue. I do, but I also want to be sure that the behavior, the lifestyle and the attitude reflect the living principle of what I think Jesus demonstrated and commanded us to do. In the final analysis Paul’s charge to Timothy is the best example of what I’m trying to say. “…pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith…” Timothy 6:11-12. Imagine what life would be like if you tithed your life’s work? Sleep not included, what 14-16 hours a day we’re conscious and breathing. That means maybe an hour and a half (1/10th) would be spent in the practice of one or all of the aforementioned areas. Can you see yourself deliberately setting aside about an hour and a half a day to practice godliness, love, righteousness and the others in whatever combination you so choose? Then I submit to you that faith and belief in Jesus Christ would come alive in you as intended. Your belief in God would become a verb and would be reflected in but an hour and a half of you and I trying to consciously live as Jesus intended. I think everyone has struggled with this at some point I believe faith is a verb. So are forgiveness and mercy. Love thy neighbor as thyself is a verb. Judge not lest you be judged is a verb. Christ is a verb. Tithes and offerings do not exempt one from rendering unto God what He expects as it relates to how you live your life. The apostles and saints have helped me to understand this. The apostles and saints I’m talking about are the ones who have passed among us, the ones we remember as kind, loving, never met a stranger, sharing kind of folk: mama Big mama, granddaddy, step daddy, friends. We know and miss these faithful people. Paul says live your life so that when you die, no one will be able to speak ill of you. Yeah right! But, if you did spend an hour and a half a day trying to tithe your gifts, the ones God gave you,, then maybe we would get a small glimpse of truly being Christ like. I’m just thinking out loud here. But an hour and a half is not a lot of time. Maybe if I spent more of my time tithing in this way, I would be able to see me and my fellow man in a totally different Light.

May God bless and keep you always,James,  jaws@dallasweekly.com