What is tithing? According to the American Heritage College dictionary, it is: a tenth part of one’s annual income contributed voluntarily or due as a tax, esp. for the support of the clergy or church.
When I was barely in my tweens, I first learned about tithing. It was one Sabbath (or Saturday) when I sat with my family in church, I saw my Dad pull out a check, write a number on it to the church and placed it in an envelope when the big golden bucket came around to each pew.
After church service, I asked my dad about the check he gave to the church, which led to my learning about tithe and tithing. I decided to do this “tithing” thing when I grew old and started odd jobs, like cutting the lawn for people (yes, back in the Midwest a lot of females cut the lawn) and babysitting.
I remember how excited I was when I received my first pay and that Sabbath put 10% into the golden bucket. Once, I got SO excited, I put 20% of my income in the bucket. I tried emulating this practice, until I began school again, so I put a hold on tithing. Then, when I earned my first job, I put tithing into practice again; however, I realized, giving 10% of my income was beginning to burden me (so I felt). Sometimes, when I paid for my students loan bills, car bills, insurance bills, cell phone bills, miscellaneous bills, etc and what I had left over was barely anything left for me.
I decided to compromise and think on days I didn’t earn enough, “Well, God will understand I can’t give 10% this Sabbath–I just haven’t earned enough.” I began to creep thoughts like that into my head, until eventually tithing was something I didn’t do for a long time.
Then last year, I heard someone on the pulpit remarked from the Bible, Malachi 3:7-10, which reads.
Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? Mal 3:7
Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Mal 3:8
Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Mal 3:9
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows (rain) of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room (storage bins for tithed food) enough to receive it. Mal 3:10
Like a deer in headlights, I realized that tithing wasn’t meant to be a burden nor out of an ungrateful or selfish heart. When I earn pay from the hard work, it’s not me that earned it, technically yes, but it’s God who gave me the talent so I could do my job well. As a result, when I earn the income, the 10% already belongs to God because He instilled that talent in me, so tithing Him is simply giving back to God what’s already His and showcases my thanks for allowing me to earn what I can.
I try not to think about how much money I have left over, the 10% is the first thing that I take out of my pay that goes to God. Every other bill due is what I look after. Funny thing is, when I do that, I seem to end up with more in my account than before…only God is all I can say.
DEAR READER: Whatever you earn; a percentage (for me it’s 10%) belongs to God. It was not you who got the job, but God (who knew you from before you were born) granted you the ability to do your job. Thank Him because He’s really blessed you with talents. So, why not give Him back what he deserves? Ten percent is really a small amount, and the blessings you will receive as a result of your giving back will be in abundance. I know, ’cause He’s done it many times for me.