Since this is our "off" week between series and we can write off topic, I wasn't quite sure what to write about at first. Then I decided why not write about something that I'm struggling with because maybe someone else is struggling with it too. Tithing sucks.
First Ten Percent
First lets explain the concept of tithing. I have heard it taught many ways. I have heard its origin came because Abraham gave a tenth of the loot he just retrieved after plundering the Kings he slaughtered to Melchizedek (Gen 14:16-17). Giving ten percent is a concept I have grown up with, it is one I understand.
I've also heard it taught that the first ten percent was brought into the storehouse as a way to honor God. By brining in the first ten percent you were not only obeying His commands, you were also fully relying upon Him for your household. If you collected the first ten percent on the first day, what if the rest of the crop was burnt up that evening? You would be left with nothing. This is what scares me.
I remember getting these multi-colored bracelets in youth group that had the word "FROG" written on them. It stands for "Fully Relying On God" and it's apparently a lesson I still need to learn today. I still struggle with giving the first ten percent of my paycheck to God. I don't typically have a problem with tithing but there are some months when unexpected bills come up, like when your car breaks down or your washing machine quits, that you question not only giving the first ten but giving anything at all. Or is that just me? Because if I am being completely honest it is hard for me to write a check to my church when I know I should be paying a bill. Especially when I know I can't do both.
Earlier this year I learned a power-ful lesson. The Powerball was up to a grandprize of over $420 Million and everyone and their mother was buying tickets. I figured why not. We could use the money. I prayed and told God we would do the normal responsible things like give ten percent, give extra to missions, pay off all of our debts, set up our daughter's education, and then set up Empty Church so we could be best used for His service. I then began to tell God all the ways we could use the money and after a moment I heard how stupid I sounded. If God wanted any of this, He could do it without my help and certainly without the help of the Powerball.
Why does it suck?
Okay so let's come full circle now, why does tithing suck? Because we have to surrender control. It's not about the money. Ten percent is not a lot, the number is arbitrary; we'd be arguing about it even if it was one percent. It's about control. It's about trust. It's about admitting to ourselves that we don't FROG (fully rely on God). And if you're married, admitting to someone else that you don't fully trust either. I had to do that this week and it wasn't an easy conversation to have. My husband's job is to challenge me and boy did he do that. And here I am admitting that I have some trust issues with God and that after 27 years of being a Christian, I still haven't fully surrendered control.
"Why are you sharing all of this, Sarah?"
Well, because maybe you've been a Christian for a while too and maybe you struggle with trust issues. Maybe it's with tithing or maybe it's with something else. But no one will ever move past the hidden sin in their lives if it stays hidden. I don't want tithing to suck. I don't want to have trust issues with God. How about you?