Recently I have been thinking and praying a lot about tithing. One reason for this is because I am here in Southlake fundraising. Being a missionary with FOCUS is a blessing in many ways, and one of them is that I get to rely completely on the generosity of others for my wellbeing. In a culture where independence is so highly acclaimed, I find joy in the true virtue of dependence. We are all, without a doubt, dependent on God. We are dependent on His mercy which grants us eternal salvation and we are dependent on His constant love, without which we would cease to exist. All Christians (and most other people as well) recognize their need for God, but do we all recognize our need for each other? The first key point in the kerygma (the core of our faith) is that we were made for relationships. Praise be to God!! He created us, not only for relationship with Him, but He desires that we live in communities where we take care of one another, build each other up in the faith, and hold each other accountable.
Reliance on others takes something that our individualistic culture is in serious need of: the virtue of humility. As I've said before, I'm no expert when it comes to this virtue, just a sinner in need of Christ's transformative love, and especially in need of grace to cultivate this virtue. The good news is that God isn't a god of punishments, He is a God of second chances.
Anyways, I'm sure you've heard it said: Christ has no hands and feet on earth but yours. Of course, God is omnipotent and can do anything that He wills, with or without your compliance, but it is good for each of us to feel that responsibility. If God's work is everyone's responsibility, then it ends up being no one's. What if someone told you that Christ has no wallet on earth but yours? Once again, God is omnipotent and can do what He chooses with all of the money in the world... but what if God has a plan for the money in YOUR bank account?
God has made this promise to man: if you give to Him ten percent from your first fruits, you will never go without. WHAT?! Not only has He promised us eternity in Paradise, but He wants to bless abundantly our earthly lives as well. The Lord multiplies everything that we give to Him and blesses us beyond our wildest dreams.
I feel blessed to know the importance of tithing and to be able to give from the first fruits, not just what is left over after everything else is gone. It is much easier to develop this habit now, to give ten percent back to the Lord now (when the amount is only a few hundred dollars per month) than it would be later when the amount is larger. In good times and in bad, I will give first to Him who has given me so much. This is a great habit, so for this and the many other lessons you've taught me, thank you, FOCUS.
As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15
Saint Matthew, pray for us.