Looking at Healthy Stewardship Through a “Tithing” Lens
Conversation #1: Our unchurched neighbor sat down on our couch as he was perplexed over our conversation, ”Well my sister’s church asks that they give 10% of their money to them. My sister DOES THAT. That’s crazy!”
Conversation #2: “Man. They have some nice cars. How do they get that money?!” I looked at my husband and said, “Well, if we didn’t have our tithe we gave every month, imagine all the things we could have!?
You may think that this post is going to be about finances and tithing and while I am passionate about both of these things, I’m using these real life conversations to pull a different parallel and bring it full circle for you!
In the first conversation that we had with my neighbor, it was important to point out to him that we believed that all of our money belonged to God and that 10% was just a small part we gave back directly to His work being done around us. I added that our church was able to multiple and use that money to reach people that we could never do with our resources.
In the second conversation that I had with my husband, He was referring to some unchurched friends of mine who were both working and always had great vehicles, houses, trips etc. Tithing has always been something we knew we needed to be obedient in, so it’s a regular practice. When we looked at tithing in the wrong light–at what we are sacrificing or missing out on–instead of what we are GAINING–we had a messed up mentality.
It’s with this foundation and understanding that both my body and money (among other things!) are gifts from God, I’ve drawn these conclusions:
1.) The 100% Principle: 100% of both belong to God–not just 10% of my money, 30 minutes of a workout, or what I put in my mouth Monday-Friday
2.) The Multiplication Principle: He can–and does–multiply the little bit that I specifically offer each day in ways that I can’t imagine
3.) The Eternity Principle: Healthy stewardship of both have a lasting effect on many other people than myself
The 100% Principle
Everything we have in life–our bodies, marriages, children, houses etc–are ours to steward. God OWNS all of it. He doesn’t NEED any of it. He is giving us these areas to show Him how we may honor Him, and also to draw closer to Him! When I approach each day with this mentality, it is so much easier for me to let go and walk in wisdom.
“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.” 1 Timothy 6:17-19 ESV
The Multiplication Principle
God PRACTICALLY multiplies what I give Him physically! The small amount of time I spend in the day moving, multiplies in so many ways! I have greater energy to do His work–which includes being a mom, wife, friend, and more. My mind is clear and free of silly annoyances and troubles that float in and out. I increase strength and endurance to do daily tasks. In the grand scheme of things, taking care of my temple is such a small part of my day. Sure–it feels large when I add it on top of everything else I need to schedule, but when I flip my mentality and understand that just like the tithe we give to our church, God can and will take that and use it.
“ I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 ESV
The Eternity Principle
Finally, keeping eternity in mind as I make the sacrifices on earth is huge in the motivation and success of whatever I’m working at. Knowing that God wants to use me and the gifts He’s given me makes it easier for me to let go of any comforts or preferences I may have. Because I have a clear mind, I can speak that word of encouragement to my friend in need. Because I am not tired, I am able to make a dinner for another family. Because we use control in spending money, we are able to give more to those who take care of an orphan child in Guatemala.
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” 1 Peter 4:10 ESV
For the person struggling with their health:
1.) Have you come to terms with the fact that ALL of your body (health, deeds, mind) is God’s?
2.) Are you faithful in the daily requirement that God is asking of you in this area?
3.) Do you trust that He knows best?
For the person who is doing fairly well in their health journey:
1.) How is God using you to influence and encourage those around you in this area? Are you stewarding your gift of health well?
2.) Do you look at your victories as a pat on your back, or to attest to God’s faithfulness and steadfastness in your life?
What are your thoughts on this? Do you agree or disagree? How is your “health tithe”, today?