Yesterday, the first day of the week, I sat down and looked at money… you know dividing into envelopes, or accounts, or ledger sheets – however it is one chooses to budget their incoming money; I use Budget, a free software that works like envelopes in your hand, except on the computer, and interfaces with the bank for easy checkbook balancing.
I started the process because we forgot to pay one of our employees last week and I needed to write two checks for him… But, while there, I entered receipts, deposits, figured out how much money from the deposits went to which tech, etc.
Part of that was putting money into an “envelope” called “tithe”. I’ve come to affectionately term it our “Agape” (Love) fund.
I was raised with very stringent education on the importance and blessing of tithe & offerings. 10% Tithe, off the top, non-negotiable – goes to the “storehouse” defined “church organization”, 5% offering recommended to be given and used at church discretion, and another 2 – 5% or so, suggested for special projects. About 20% of household income… This education came with “stewardship” sermons at least once a year, if not quarter; it was printed on the tithe envelopes. It also came lovingly from my parents, with words of what a blessing it was to them. It became a non-negotiable for me, and when Rudy and I married, it was for him also. So, we set it aside. The tithe that is… 10%. We wavered between gross, or net, and settled on gross. Take God’s money out before the government.
To begin with, it went to the church, but then Rudy’s sister was in an accident, paralyzed, and they needed help. There was the man on the side of the road who needed a vehicle repair. There was the hungry family that needed food. So, as time went along, more went to the poor, needy, broken down members of our family and larger, world family – the children of God. It was a blessing to give, and we loved every minute of it. Sure, some of the money went to the church. some. and sometimes we felt a little guilty, but mostly, we trusted God was leading us…
Recently I did a study on tithe, and it completely changed the way we look at tithe. COMPLETELY!!! More on that in the next blog..
Now tho, I want to share what a blessing “paying tithe” is today. I don’t, in any way say any of this to pat myself, ourselves on the back. I’m not looking for accolades. I just want to share the realization of blessings….
It’s still 10% gross receipts on our business (which means it’s a bit more than 10% of gross income, but we really feel like it all comes from Him, and He’s the one that blesses with the income in the first place.) It is still a non negotiable. It comes off the top, before taxes, before anything else. A deposit comes in – the hail techs get their portion in their envelopes, tithe goes into it’s envelope.. and then the rest gets divided. All of those things are the same… but our hearts are different. They’ve been circumcised in this area, I think… to reflect Him more fully .
I realized, yesterday, that tithe staves off greed. It affords us the opportunity to bless without feeling pinched, to bless without letting it go to our heads – “It’s His money, He just encouraged us to give it to you.” “You’re welcome, but really – The earth is YHWH’s (the Lord’s), and the Fullness thereof, Blessed be His name.” We really prefer anonymity as it really isn’t about us, but, that can be a tricky feat…
It makes it incredibly easy to be a “cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9:7)
[Once again, an example of the “law” making life in Christ easy, reminders that He really did give us an owner’s instruction manual…]
Back to staving off greed. I called Rudy last week, “Hey, so and so needs some help longterm with ….., it would be a monthly commitment, What do you think about helping?”
His first question is “How much, and where do we have the funds for that? How much do I need to be bringing in per month to cover our expenses and that?”
He wants to know if it will impact our family living conditions. Will his children suffer want if we commit to this? Will he have to give up buying that thing he’s been eyeing? or his snack from the convenience store? or our netflix membership? will we still be able to move forward with our family goals?
Then I say, “We have it already in tithe, there’s never been a month in the last 3 years that we haven’t had enough to cover this amount plus our other monthly commitments. It’s just waiting for a place to land.”
“Oh! Yes, Of course! I’ve been wanting to help them anyway! No questions”
All worry, all hunter/gatherer/provider concerns, all greed vanishes. Yes, he wants to be sure that we give to worthwhile places, Scriptural teachers, people truly needing, orphans & widows, “levites”, but the striving and wrestling that comes with spending money is gone.
In that – We are So very blessed! I’m sure the recipients feel blessed, but I’m quite sure ours is the larger blessing. To know that we can give with a full, happy, content heart! It really is incredible!!!
Yesterday, my heart filled with so much joy to know that God had provided funds to help 3 different families bring home orphans, and another beloved family make the bills to exist. Next time, It might be our favorite ministry, or our World Vision child, or we may save it up to celebrate Yah’s feasts in a month or so… My heart is so very full. Yahweh has been SOOO good to us this year. I love Paying Him forward!
Tithe might be an “Old Testament” thing… but in the end of the day, It’s really a LOVE thing. It’s really about God providing for all of His Children.
And I think that’s what both the New Testament and the Old Testament are about – Yehovah Loving on His Children. All of them. Like the sands of the sea… true descendants, or grafted in – Children of the Promise, the Covenant to Abraham… (Gal 3:26-29)