Where Logic Meets Love

On Tithing and Trusting God

Monday, September 21, 2009

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On Tithing and Trusting God | Faith Permeating Life
In Donald Miller's "Blue Like Jazz," he talks about the importance of tithing. Traditionally, this refers to giving 10% of your income to the church. Ever since reading that book, I'd decided that once I had a steady, measurable income, I would do this. In the book he explains some good reasons for doing this, the main point being to trust in God. It's a tangible way to remember and acknowledge that our lives belong to God.

He stresses in the book that choosing to tithe is not dependent on your personal situation. He talks about living paycheck-to-paycheck and still choosing to tithe, and a check would always arrive from some freelance job he'd done right when he needed it. I never really saw this as being particularly applicable to me, since I don't freelance and my income is pretty much set.

Nonetheless, even though Mike and I were spending what we were making before beginning to tithe, I wanted to make a commitment to doing so. We sat down and figured out about how much we were bringing in per month and what 10% would be. We decided to split it, half to church and half to charity, including the $30 a month that goes to my World Vision child. It's funny how rich it suddenly makes you feel when you have x number of dollars to spend and are trying to come up with who to give it away to. We donated at church and afterward gave $20 to the Knights of Columbus Tootsie Roll drive.

That night, we went to my friend's birthday dinner. We had already spent $40 of our $50 "eating out and entertainment" budget for the month, forgetting we had this dinner coming up, and so we were trying to conserve how much we spent, knowing we'd be over budget regardless. Then, amazingly, the restaurant took 40% of our table's bill because they'd taken so long to seat us even though we had a reservation. Then, even more amazingly, my friend's boyfriend picked up the entire tab (a) because it had been cut almost in half and (b) because he had -- get this -- won the lottery ("not the big one, but the next biggest one") that week. We chipped in $3 total to give our waiter an extra tip.

Then, this morning, Mike needed to buy a 10-pass for the train, and we came up with exactly the right amount of cash (they don't take credit). He then told me the only reason he had that much cash on him (he never has cash) is because this woman had tipped him at work. He's a host -- he doesn't get tips. He was ringing out a carry-out order and the woman decided to tip him for it. Even then, it wouldn't have been cash except he didn't notice that she'd added a tip to her credit card charge until it was too late, and so she paid him the tip in cash instead.

I don't believe God is a slot machine or a credit card with cashback rewards. But I believe that God doused me in belief this weekend because I trusted in Him. And so, regardless of our financial situation, I remain committed to tithing 10% of our income. I trust God to take care of us, not so we can be crazy, but because we are being responsible with our money. Responsible and faithful. And I do believe God rewards that. Though maybe not always so obviously :)

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