You know how sometimes you can’t get a song out of your head? Our church has been focused on tithing and I can’t get something I wrote a while ago out of my head. Tithing to me includes money but my heart tells me it’s not solely limited to one’s finances. A lot of us have an unspoken perspective when it comes to tithing. We don’t always see it the way the pastor explains it. It sounds a little like a “here we go again thing” rather than a “here’s our chance to give back thing.” Now before you go there, please recognize that I am not about to pass the plate, in that my point of reference on this one is not the Old Testament’s edict of offering to the Almighty one tenth (a tithe) of everything God has blessed us with. We all know Mosaic Law required this as an act of gratitude, allegiance and obedience. I am compelled at this moment to refer to Paul’s letter to Timothy, “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.” 1 Timothy 6: 18-19.
The more I think and pray on this, the more I am convinced that tithes and offerings include the kind of life we lead as believers. I clearly understand the money issue, but I also believe it’s about the behavior, the lifestyle, our attitude reflected in the living principle commanded or demanded of us by Christ. Paul’s charge to Timothy says it best. It points to the “tithe and offering” that has nothing to do with money. “…pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith…” 1 Timothy 6: 11-12. Can you imagine what life would be like if you tithed your life’s work? I mean, how much time is in a day and I am not talking about when you’re asleep? What is that, 14-16 hours of eyes open, walking around, living breathing life? That would mean during the course of a day approximately an hour and a half would be spent in the practice of the aforementioned areas.
Can you see yourself deliberately practicing godliness, love, righteousness and the others in whatever combination you so choose, for at least an hour and a half every day? Now that would be a real example of faith and belief in Christ demonstrated as He intended. I have at times struggled with this and believe that faith is clearly a verb. Christ is a verb. Tithes and offerings do not preclude the necessary requirements of rendering unto God what He expects, as it relates to living your life.
The apostles and the saints have helped me understand this. The ones that I am talking about are the ones who have passed among us and we remember as kind, loving, never-met-a-stranger, sharing kinda folk; mama, grandmamma and others we all knew and deeply loved. We miss their demonstrations of living life as God intended for it to be lived, in the service of others. Paul says you live your life so that when you die, no one will be able to talk ill of you. Yeah right! But, if during the course of a day, any day, you rendered to God a spirit of faith reflected in an hour and a half of Godly activity in the name of Christ, then maybe everyone could see, touch and feel what it actually means to be Christ like.
I’m just thinking out loud here given that an hour and a half is really not that much time. But if I thought more about this kind of tithe and offering, then maybe I could see more of more of my fellow man as being made in the image of the Almighty. Maybe, just maybe, I could possibly see myself that way too. How about you? May God bless and keep you always.