You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you! Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes,” says the Lord of hosts.
~ Malachi 3:9-11
In our journey toward freedom from debt, J and I have struggled with the concept of tithing.
See, we’ve seen many sides of the coin. Some people have told us not to tithe at all while we are in debt. Some said stick with just the 10% and no more until you are debt free. Some said 10% off the net, others 10% off our gross. Some tell us that 10% is tithing just to the church and that anything above that is an offering to be used where needed or where we feel God leading.
See, I’ve never been confused about giving the tithe while in debt. That doesn’t bother me at all and in fact, it’s a huge joy to give that 10% and see God work MIRACLES with the rest of our funds. Plus, J and I LOVE to give, so we have a difficult time just sticking with 10%. I’m not saying that to boast. It’s just something we love doing–seeing the joy on the faces of those we’ve helped or giving a secret gift to ease someone’s burden brings US joy. After all, God has been so very generous with us–how can we NOT be generous with others?
We want to pass that generosity on to our children as well.
The problem I have is with all the technicalities. We’ve hemmed and hawed all throughout this journey, trying to figure out the best way to go about tithing. I understand the concept of helping out our church with the tithe, but in the end it’s God’s money.
If (and WHEN) God asks us to give to others, we want to be open for it. Sometimes, He’s asked us to take that 10% and give it to someone in need. Because for me, it’s not just about the local church. It’s about the Body of Christ as a whole. We ARE the church and we belong to God. When He asks us to give, J and I want to give, regardless of where He wants us to give, how and whom He wants us to give to, and what (not just money) He asks us to give.
See, above all else, God is THE God of Grace. One of the most precious gifts He gave us besides the blood of His son, was Grace. We don’t always get it right on this fallen world. We sometimes screw it up and royally.
In the end, if we are truly seeking His will, we can’t go wrong. He asks us to test Him and see the abundance of His grace and blessing. He LOVES us. Most of all, He loves when we seek after Him with all of our hearts.