In his book Blue Like Jazz, Donald Miller tells the story of a friend of his that put tithing into a whole new perspective for me. I’m not going to share all the details of the story but here’s the general picture.
Donald was with his friend and they were talking about needing money for a motorcycle. Donald saw this huge jar of cash on his buddies table and suggested they use that money, but his friend told him they couldn’t.
“Isn’t mine, Miller.” His buddy looked at him and claimed that the money wasn’t his, it was God’s.
“Don, let me tell you. You should be tithing. That is not your money. That is God’s money. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. Stealing from God and all.”
Another friend of his shared, “When we do what God wants us to do, we are blessed, we are spiritually healthy. God wants us to give a portion of our money to His work on earth. By setting aside money from every check, you are trusting God to provide. He wants you to get over that fear -that fear of trusting Him. It is a scary place, but that is where you have to go as a follower of Christ.”
I’ve never really tithed before. If I have some cash in my wallet, and if it’s convenient for me, I’ll toss some dollars in to the offering plate. Other than that, there was no regular tithing by me. Whether it was because I didn’t have a job till I was out of high school, or because I wanted the money all to myself, I don’t know. But I do have a job now, I am making lots of money, so I need to think about this stuff.
Often, I’ve just struggled with the idea of tithing because I hardly ever carry cash in my wallet, and I know that what I do have, is not a sufficient percentage of what I make, so I don’t bother at all. I could write down a percentage from each paycheck somewhere, but where will that piece of paper end up in the next couple days, I won’t remember. But I liked Donald’s friend’s idea. He would take this money and put it in a jar. Each time he got a paycheck, he would add more money to the jar until he made it to church… then he would take the jar there and give it to the church. I know I can do something similar.
So, I’ve bought a journal type book… its contents will vary, but I will have one section devoted to tithing. When I get a paycheck, I will write down the set percentage I feel I should be giving at this point in my life. If I get a few more paychecks, those numbers will add up. When I finally make it to the bank I will take out the total amount out and give it to a church. Until that money is taken to a church, the numbers will remain written in my book. When it’s been given to the church, I’ll scribble out the numbers and smile.
This is my way of keeping on top of my tithing. I’ve decided it for myself, which I believe is important. God doesn’t want the money if our hearts aren’t in it, just doing it because we feel we’re supposed to. He wants us to want to give Him the money, He wants us to understand why we do the things we do for Him, in God’s name, and for the right reasons.