Tithing has fallen on hard times. Maybe it always does during economic downturns, but especially right now, the temptation is to cut back on the giving side. After all, think about how much money you would have every month is you didn’t chop 10% right off the top? And it wouldn’t be like you would never tithe again – you would just take a few months off to get your feet under you. And isn’t it sort of legalistic to have to write this check every month anyway? And doesn’t God care about taking care of our families? That money could certainly be used to help them. And so on, and so on, and so on.
Or at least those are some of the things I have told myself. But I was struck this week by the simple truth that tithing is not about the money. I may try to make it about the money, but it’s really not. It’s certainly not about the money to God, cause I’m pretty sure He’s doing okay. His retirement plan isn’t in jeopardy. He’s not concerned about the state of His mutual funds. Not God – He doesn’t need my money.
In a much deeper way, it’s really not about the money for me either, or at least it’s not supposed to be. Just like most things in the Christian life, tithing is very little about the actual, physical act and much more about the spiritual significance behind that act. Tithing is very little about money, and very much about faith.
I believe that to continue to tithe – to be generous and giving even when you feel like you can’t afford it – is an act of faith. It is a statement by action that I believe God can be trusted. He told me to do this, and so I will do it because I believe He is wise and loving in what He commands. Therefore, because I believe in His goodness and wisdom and therefore I believe His ways are best, I will tithe.
I will tithe also because I believe in God’s power to provide. There’s alot that I could do with that money; and sometimes I feel like giving it away puts me in a position of need. That’s not a position I’m comfortable with, but that is a position where I must receive from God. Not a bad place to be.
Finally, I will tithe because I believe that God Himself is better than any of the stuff I could get with that money. It’s an act of faith to choose God over comfort because, well, He’s invisible. So I give away the money that could be used to make me more comfortable because I believe that God is better than any of those things.
Giving is more about faith than money; God is not a panhandler. He’s a character developer, and one that loves us too much to allow us to have a money addiction.