Thursday, April 09, 2009

10% of What?

Know why I love God so much? Because He follows me around everywhere I go.

Ever see that movie In the Mouth of Madness? It's just one of my favorite allegedly scary movies. (Not my definition of scary. Just really weird and fun. I am a Stephen King kind of person, after all.)

There's a scene in this where Trent is trying to get away and he drives from the maddening crowd only to find himself right back where he started, no matter how many times he tries. Eventually he has to give up. Now, that's not to say that being a child of God is insanity or maddening, and I could certainly give you a Biblical reference that illustrates the point just as well. But this movie is just a lot of fun.

Anyhoo, it's my point. No matter where I go, what I do, He's right there quietly by my side - or at my back, or in front of me, you pick the location, He's there. And it's one of the reasons I love Him so much because you can't get that kind of selfless devotion from most adults. And what's cool is I don't deserve it. No one does really, but I know I don't because I don't do everything with His best interests in mind because sometimes I'm too lazy to do it or I simply don't feel like it. Glad He doesn't do that back, huh?

The Bible tells us that no one can snatch us from His hand, provided of course you choose to be there. "Snatch" implies stolen so you can choose to walk away but no one can steal you. (John 10:28)

One of my biggest struggles was tithing. And not because I've never done it but because I did for a long time and after we bought the house and things got REALLY tight, Mr. T says one day that you have to do the bills first. Now to me, tithing is not a gray area. I believe there are lots of things that some people believe MUST be done a certain way and the Bible does not support that. But tithing has always been cut and dried to me.

"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows." - Malachi 3:10.

That's Old Testament, sure. But there is also the New Testament widow:

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on." - Mark 12:41-44

I already know what happens when you tithe. I've had many a financial miracle. I've experienced the "oil that never runs out." I KNOW faithfulness in this area works. So why stop? Even though Mr. T is Christian, this is one thing I believe he still needs to get a better understanding of. But because he's my husband, I told him I will let him lead on this one - sorta. We have a house fund but the other money stays separate. So I didn't HAVE to do it but one of my goals is to stand before God (a very long time from now) and have Him say, "Monica, you really did try to compromise. Well done." Compromise over. I'm going back to my way. Make that God's way.

On the way to the accountant yesterday, after a year of not really tithing - a little here, a little there, but not true tithing - I talked to myself. "It's time. Things really are pretty much the same. We're blessed but I don't want to hinder anything else God has for us because I am knowingly not doing what my spirit is telling me I should." I tell you I could just feel Him at my back telling me, "It's OK. I never left you."

Those life-altering changes in 2009 I told you I felt coming? They are a-comin'. Trust me. And I don't want anything in the way. Don't get me wrong. It's gonna be a true sacrifice to tithe again in the hard times and I'm not even going to do it the way I think it should be done - 10% off the gross. I'll do off the net first, but tithing in the easy times isn't really a test of faith anyway. This will be. I'll let you know how He proves himself.


Russell Earl Kelly said...

Why doesn't tithing work for tens of thousands in the ghettos who have been sacrificing thier tithe for generations and are still stuck in poverty?

Galatians 3:10 replces Malachi 3:10.

NT giving is sacrifical --not legal.

Monica said...

Thanks for your comment Russell! I am amazed someone with a whole publicized perspective on this found me! Very cool.

I can't possibly tell you why anyone who is tithing and not feeling blessed is going through what they are going through. Only they and God can ever know all the details. I certainly know a few people who are so very faithful in my eyes but it seems like they are stuck in a rut. I pray for them, I am confused by it but at the same time all I know for sure is that I can never know anything for sure - except for what's in my own heart.

Romans 14 is probably one of my favorites verses because it tells us not to hinder other people with our beliefs, which is not at all what I want to do:

"Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way. As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died. Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men."

My belief in tithing is mine and my spirit convicts me to do it. So for me, to not do it is wrong. For someone else, it's between them and God. I've been hindered. I know the feeling. Growing up in a Pentecostal church, if you didn't speak in tongues, you weren't letting the Holy Spirit in and you certainly HAD to do that. After I became an adult and learned that that is a gift, one of many, and not a command for the whole Church to do it, I was set free and I know there are many other doctrines like that that bind people. The beauty of God is that He is a symbol of freedom, not imprisonment and I know allowing yourself to hear His voice and following that along with the doctrine you learn instead of solely letting Man interpret God for you is where people need to start.

Kate Horowitz said...

That was one of the worst movies I have ever seen. And that's saying something. Although the old lady at the inn was pretty great.

Monica said...

LOL! I know! It's horrible and great all at the same time. Like a bad accident, you are transfixed by the wrongness of all the images. I LOVED it. Cracks me up every time. :-)

Minister Gary said...

I'm sorry, but God's requirement to tithe ENDED AT THE CROSS. Next, even it tithing didn't end, God NEVER required anyone to tithe on anything that man made or earned. Read your bible. God's tithe way ALWAYS on assets (crops and animals) that came FROM God, and NEVER or income or anything else that came from man. Do a little research. A good place to start is at

Monica said...

Thanks for your comments, Minister Gary! I do love how this is finding people. This is one of those lovely topics that seems to have people on one side or the other but thankfully, I am firmly of the belief that since this is not a requirement for salvation, I shall simply say thanks and continue to move in the direction that gives me the most peace. I'll do the best I can and rest assured that God recognizes that and we can all discover how things were REALLY meant to be when we make it on the other side.