A while back my family and I attended a church service (it was part of a series actually, but, I must confess, my attendance can be spotty) about being "in the zone." The preacher claimed that part of being in the zone, being on purpose, was tithing. More to the point, recognizing that all that we are and all that we have is a gift from God. That it's not my money, or my career, it's the career that God led me toward so I can serve them with talents I've been blessed with and the money that he allows me to manage. That service changed my entire perspective on money. Now, don't get me wrong, it's still important to me, mostly because I'm in sooooo much student loan debt and so many goals I need cold hard cash to accomplish (like building a house and being secure enough to have kids), but the pastor made a good point. Would I rather be working with 100% of "my" money or 90% of what I've earned that is being blessed by God. Seems like a fairly simple choice to me. Decision made. New budget including tithes made. It was shocking to see how much we would be "giving away." It was kind of disheartening to see the dates for paying off our car and trailer and etc shift back by months and subsequently years, but I did it. I took the leap of faith.
A couple weeks later my husband and I attended church again, this time, with two checks and a bunch of cash for tithes. Zac looked at me and said immediately "We can't afford that!" and I told him, "Yes we can, it's our tithes. " After we got home, we argued about it (Zac didn't attend the "in the zone" service with me). In all fairness, I didn't talk to Zac about it before I made the change to start tithing because I handle our finances and I do it well. I should have at least told him so it wouldn't have been a shock, but it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission right? Zac is not willing to give tithes yet and I believe you have to have your intentions in the right place, so I will give him time to decide for himself but this is a whole different tangent about our beliefs that I don't need to get into in public so I digress......So, we argued, I told him I would continue my tithes. Zac's tithes (which he didn't know he'd given) totalled $120 that week. Lo and behold, I get a call later in the day from a lady that is interested in baskets. She came to our house, looks over the Longaberger baskets I'm selling for my mom and buys exactly $120 in baskets. Tithes just slapped Zac in the face! He chose to ignore it, siting the fact the had the baskets long before we started tithing, but that's enough about my Doubting Thomas.
God made a pretty obvious point there I'd say.
That was just one example as tithing continues to prove to me it's worth. As some of you know I earn a percentage of the service I provide at my office. So, the more patients I see, the more I make. I have a bonus check each month where I am given anything I earn above and beyond my small base pay. In November, my bonus was nearly 3 times my October check. Zac has also been working lots of overtime, making his checks bigger by about 20%. This is a big blessing as we work to get out from under out debt.
After the basket deal, and the suprize refund check I got from Verizon on an account I ended a year ago, I didn't need too much more convincing, but what happened today is what solidified things for me the most. My family and I just got back from 1 week of vacation at Disney. I didn't work for an entire week, which would undoubtedly affect my bonus check for December. But, Zac has been upped to working 6 days/week through the rest of the month AND! my boss decided that because I've been working so much by myself this year, I deserved to be paid for a week of vacation! Paid vacation is definately not in my contract, it was what he decided to do. I am so excited. I haven't gotten a chance to tell Zac yet, but I am curious to see what he says. I am also curious to know when I give him his tithes from his last check and tell him he can do with it whatever he sees fit, where that money will go.
The moral of this story is pretty clear. Tithes serve a purpose. It's not just to "prove" your dedication to a belief system. It's about furthering your trust in God and his ability to care for you in every way. It's about recognizing that we really can surrender our worries, emotionally/spiritually/financially, and we will not be let down. You may even end up surprised at the pride you had, believing you knew better how to manage your money. For those of you who do not tithe, I don't have any intention of guilting you, but if what you are looking for is a personal relationship with God, tithing does help to open lines of communication to Christ you might not realize were closed. Think about it, 100% to manage on your own, or 90% supernaturally blessed.
3 days ago