Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"we encourage" - A Touchy Subject

Well I definitely did not want to write about this, but the Lord kept leading me back to it. So I'm going to say the word...


Wait, don't run away!

What if I use the word "giving"?

I hope you hear me out. This is not a post where I shake my finger at you and judge your "giving". It's simply a post where I encourage you by sharing my own story and how God has blessed my family through our giving of our time, talent and treasure...

When my hubby and I first began regularly attending a church we would throw $10-20 into the plate and feel great about it. I think I equated it to paying for entertainment. We would spend at least that much if we went to a movie right? So it was the least we could do.

Further into my walk with the Lord He showed me how tightly we were gripping our money, our possessions.

Were we finding our security in Him, or in our bank account?

I didn't like the answer.

I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to scheme, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 2:10-11

We just weren't there yet. We didn't understand that there is NO security in our bank accounts. We didn't understand everything we have He gave to us. That He doesn't need our money to complete His purpose. But we were missing out on a huge blessing.

We didn't even come to a place of obedience at the same time. It was difficult. In this I learned that I shouldn't fight with hubby over our tithe. There should never be strife in the home because of this issue.

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly. and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not relunctanty or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:6-7

True to His character, He doesn't compell us to give. We are called in Deuteronomy 14:22 to "set aside a tenth of all we produce". He asks that each give according to their ability and that we do it joyfully. I admit this took me some time to wrap my mind around.

I was explaining tithing to my oldest when he began earning allowance. I explained that if he has $10, God asks that he set aside $1 as an offering. You know what he said?

 "That's a great deal! I get to keep $9?!"

Talk about a humbling moment.

There is an amazing peace in letting go of our money...His money. Of loosening the grip on what the world tells me will keep me safe and "comfortable".
I won't tell you we have been showered in money but we are more than provided for. Some months are harder than others but I am secure. Secure that God is my provider.

It blesses my family to give to our church and see what God will do with it. It blesses us to sponsor children oversees, give to local charities or teach Sunday school. It is our hearts that are filled by the small sacrifices of time and money.

I then heard two things that solidified my feelings. That felt like a little nod of the head from God.

1. I was listening to the radio and the pastor said, "Imagine God is an investor in your life. If He were to review how you've handled His investment, would He reward you with more resources?". I'm prayerful this will come to mind anytime we're making a decision involving our finances.

2. During a sermon on worship my Pastor stated very clearly that every part of our church service is a form of worship. Not just the singing. He explained that his teaching was worship. Teaching truth is worshipping God. Out tithes and offerings are a way we worship and praise God. Just one more way we thank Him.

I know this is a very personal issue. I'm hoping to encourage you to take a fresh look at it. Your time, talent and treasures. How might God use them to bless you and others?



hannah singer said...

thanks for this, jami! so grateful for your sensitivity to the spirit.
i love you!
recently i had a temptation with this issue of tithing. whew! god is good! {i wrote about it here: http://aholeistodig.blogspot.com/2011/09/long-story-or-i-almost-robbed-god.html}

this is a quote that sticks with me:

the question isn't
how much should i give
of what god has given me,
rather, how much dare i keep?

Anonymous said...

This is such a great word - I love your son's perspective! Thank you for challenging me to generously giving, not just begrudgingly giving.

Heather said...

Jami, this is SO good!! God has been really convicting our hearts lately about tithing since we moved & have yet to get really plugged into a church here yet. We took an amazing finance class at our old church and it centered all around tithing.. I know it sounds weird, or maybe sounds like the church was "out to get our $," but it was quite the opposite... more all about how often $ is actually mentioned in the Bible and how God has entrusted us to use it for His glory. It was amazing! A week after we took the class, my husband lost his job and we were able to stay afloat-- even thought it was tight-- from a lot of the principles we learned from the class. We've seen our finances stay more secure under tighter cicumstances when we were tithing consistently (Not that that's a reason to tithe, but we really did see God bless us).. there were times when we were so tight but stayed faithful and GOD totally did amazing things with our $. I think this was an amazing post & thank you for sharing it with us all!!!!!! LOVE YOU!!

carina@a punk, a pumpkin and a peanut said...

This is awesome! Thank you for sharing. Love your son's attitude and perspective - oh that we could be like the children He asks us to be, right?

The Arizona Russums said...

thanks for sharing this jami! i am glad you were bold and obedient in encouraging others to tithe. it definitely is an act of worship and an acknowledgment that God is the true owner and giver of EVERYTHING we consider ours.

Erin said...

What a great post...one that is hard to discuss but so necessary! I think a lot of us just skip past thinking about such things because it's convicting. God is the giver and provider in our lives and I want to work harder at making sure I am giving and providing to Him and the church...to further His message and spread the wonderful grace of God! Thanks for sharing such an eye opening post today!

Laurie J said...

way to go, jami! thanks for your brave words of sharing what God has laid on your heart. good stuff, friend

Sarah said...

Thanks for sharing this, Jami. I don't think you should lose any readers for sharing whats on your heart :) So many people are super sensitive about this subject but it was important enough for Jesus to talk about so why should we avoid it? It is truth :)

Krista said...

What a great and IMPORTANT post! I'm so glad you wrote it. It is something we all need reminders on repeatedly I think.

The Cantelmo Family said...

I'm so glad you shared! God puts these things on our heart for a reason! Thank you for sharing. And I LOVE the story about your son. I need to talk to my kiddos about tithing, I just never think about it!

Leslie @ top of the page said...

so proud of you for sharing this. i love what your son said. wow! that is humbling. and i like how you said just putting in bits here and there is like paying for entertainment. that can be so true, i think, of our perspectives. since my husband does all the money stuff, i don't get a chance to offer up my money as a tithe, but I do get plenty of challenges as far as mentally and emotionally trusting God to provide for us. the core issue is whether or not I trust Him, so there's always opportunity to be tested in that.

Ruthie Hart said...

We had a sermon at church on Sunday about tithing and our pastor challenged us to do it for 3 months and see how God works wonders. My husband and I are going to do it!!

Cheryl said...

Way to be faithful to His Word, friend. Yes, this is a touchy subject but I think you addressed the heart of the issue. It's not ours in the first place and where are we putting our faith? Thank you for addressing it from that point of view, and I pray that is why people will choose to give. Not so they can somehow manipulate God into doing what they want (which is how some churches view it, I believe). But so that God would be glorified because our hope is in Him!

Aly @ mommie diaries said...

my father in law has always been a huge "advocate" of tithing. he believes it is the sole reason why he's been so financially blessed. he always says, "I don't tithe on what I make, I tithe on what I *want* to make". and his life really is a testimony to Gods incredible blessing in that area.

we started tithing toward the beginning of our marriage and I can look back and see *so many* instances where the money literally was not there, but we gave anyway. and then our bills would come in lower the next month or we'd get a rebate for something we weren't expecting. I see it as a test of our faith, really.

most recently, after moving into our new house a year ago, my husband was really tempted to stop tithing. I know how heavily he feels the pressure of providing for us, he has a really great job, works hard, and somehow the numbers stil don't equal out. of course, if we stopped tithing, there'd be plenty, right? I'm so thankful that God allowed me to gently challenge my hubby this time. (because I totally agree with you, we should never let it become a source of strife in our marriage) I just mentioned Abraham. and how he stepped out into the middle of nowhere, bc God promised blessing if he did. i mean, my goodness, God even asked him to sacrifice his only child on an altar! and he left the next morning to carry it out... many times, that's exactly what tithing is. a tangible way to practice faith- put your money where your mouth is. if you say you trust God, show Him. luckily my hubby totally agreed. he said "I want to have a story". and he meant, one that proves Gods faithfulness. and boy, do we have a story like that (pretty much monthly when it comes to the finances)! for us, it's the one main area (praise god) that we've always agreed on and have only ever been blown away by God.

malachi 3:10 says "bring the whole tithe into the storehouse... and TEST ME IN THIS, says the Lord Almighty, and see if I do not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it." and we believe it wholeheartedly, and those blessings are certainly not just financial.

anyway, I guess I'm saying, great pots friend! thanks for being obedient to write this ;)

Aly @ mommie diaries said...

after all that... the last line should, of course, say "great POST" :)

Anonymous said...

Your right this is a "touchy" subject BUT one that is needed to be talked about for sure! I know in my house we struggle with being consistent in our tithing (oops...GIVING!) so I very much appreciate this post, lots of love my dear! PS: I also love the quote that Hannah shared in her comment!

Betsy said...

This is such an important subject. I just graduated from college last December and have been working part time at my church since February, and just started tithing regularly a few weeks ago. It was all too easy for me to say "well, i work for church, and I definitely work more hours than I get paid in an average week...so that's kind of like tithing, right?" but finding loopholes is not what God's called us to!
Love your son's perspective. How humbling!

Cassidy Robinson said...

So true that tithing is a form of worship! I believe Matt 6:21, "Wherever your treasure is, there your heart will be also." I want my heart to be with the Lord.

Thank you for sharing!

{cuppakim} said...

love your son's attitude! i was totally planning to link up my post from yesterday over here today - on the same topic! funny how God stirs us similarly in our hearts. <3

theolivetree said...

LOVE this! Tithing is so important...it is all his anyways :)

the hollie rogue said...

thanks for being brave and sharing and i think you are saying exactly what God wants us to hear about this subject. Thanks again!


Jessica said...

thank you for sharing even the tough subjects. money can be such a touchy issue, but the bible clear states where our treasure should be. i needed to be reminded.

Andee Eve@ bearing fruit said...

I just love you. What more can I say.

stephanie said...

hey friend! love this! so so good. glad you followed God and shared it. it's an honor to be a tither!!!

Heather Hawthorne said...

I totally cried reading what your son said in response to giving. Oh man.. we are called to be like the children right?! What a sweet heart he has. Good job mamma. I haven't even thought about teaching my kids about tithing yet. This will be something I do without a doubt. We also have learned to let go.

Thanks for sharing this. I love your Tuesdays. :)


Jennifer said...

WOW. Out of the mouth of babes. Your son's comment is so humbling. Tithing is a very touchy subject, and you covered it well. In my own life I've realized the importance of tithing and giving back to God. It's not an easy revelation to come by, but my family and I have been immensely blessed for giving God what was already his in the first place. His blessings are so abundant. =) I'm constantly amazed at His goodness. Be blessed!!!

Mary said...

amen, sister! i have always been humbled and amazed at how God streches our money further when we give Him what He asks. it's totally amazing. He gives so abundantly....more than we deserve! thank you for adressing this subject in such a humble and relevant way. what an awesome challenge! :)
only trust Him!
God bless you!

Handbags*N*Pigtails said...

Bring it down, sista! :) We've been through years of lean times when there wasnt much extra after tithing and paying the bills but ya know what? We've always been provided for!
I cant count the times we would get a rebate check, or overpayment on a previous bill refunded to us, groceries on our doorstep, or whatever. I even remember being paid $30 twice for Neilson Ratings contacting us!(Ive heard that almost never happens...they only contact people once). Regardless, we were faithful and in return God more than blessed us.
We've lived on one income for 8 years now and we're by no means rich. But we're almost totally debt free too.
All I can say is, if you are faithful in the little things, God will bless your socks off(not that that should be the motivator); but for those who are fearful or just plain doubt this, its true...God is faithful!!!!!!!!

Four Flights said...

We are in agreement that we should tithe more and it's our goal by the end of the year to regularly and consistently double what we are currently tithing, and then go towards the 10% in the new year. To be honest, i'm not necessarily excited about it or looking forward to it, but I know it's something that i need to do for my own peace and for Him. I hold onto money way too hard and put way too much importance and power in it. at 35, I need to start letting go of that. Great post lady.

Kelly said...

Jami this is a wonderful post. we have had to learn the hard way how silly it is to hold on to worldly things. we have struggled financially due to really bad decisions. and our working our way to tithing goal.
want to know what i love the most about you? you constantly challenge me.
hugs friend

Kate said...

I love your son's response! It is good for us to remember that it's HIS money and we LET's us keep 90%!

worshipfulone said...

So well written, my sweet friend. What an amazing woman of God you are. Oh, how I miss you!

angie on maui said...

Jami, this is such a beautiful post and something I needed to read. We are guilty of not tithing as much as we should and your post has really resonated with me. Thank you for the gentle, loving reminder. I love your encouragement; you are a beautiful woman!


Heather @ we.are.the.holdens said...

Such straight truth. I haven't been perfect with this, by any means, but my mom taught me to tithe when I was very little (i can't remember not)..and I'm so grateful for that, because you can never out-give God.

stacey said...

sometimes the touchy subjects are the ones we most desperately need to talk about. i noticed that someone else commented the same thing i was thinking: the question isn't how much do i HAVE to give, but how much dare i keep?

you handled this topic so well, and i loved reading it! i look forward to tuesdays here every week. :)

Kassie said...

Thank you for this post. We are in the process of working on our budget and I KNOW that tithing is supposed to be in there, but like many I hold onto money... to me its a security blanket even though it shouldn't be!