a tithing tale

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When we are not faithful, we're saying:"You know what, God? I'm looking at what you're asking for and I'm looking at what I need to be supplied and.... I am going to rob you so I can take care of this.  I don't believe that You are who You say You are. I don't believe it. I don't believe it. I don't believe that You can take care of me so I, in essence, am going to take care of myself." That is why lack of giving is a spiritual thing. That is why worrying is a spiritual thing. Because why on Earth would we worry when we have a God who can move mountains? Because we do not believe He is who He said He is. We don't really have faith..." 

- Pr. Michael B. Kelly, II
So, can I be honest with y'all for a moment? I haven't tithed in... *thinks*... probably a year two years ..hell, I don't even remember how long. Probably not since 2010. And, even if I was doing it then, I doubt it was consistent. I mean, rent, gas, utilities, cable, credit cards, etc always had a deadline and I wanted to make sure I could meet the demands. Coming home to seeing all my stuff lying on the lawn or having no heat in the winter are highkey one of my greatest fears in life. And working as an underpaid Research Assistant followed by a stint as a job-less graduate student in one of the most expensive cities in the nation really had a way of pressing down on my anxiety. My money just never seemed to stretch long enough.

And, to be quite honest, the way many Christians discuss and promote the tithing process isn't in the best light. Cause, most of the time, it sounds as if one were paying for services. I cringe every time people talk about tithing and use it as a moment to highlight all the "wonderful blessings" that have happened to them as a result. Every week, at churches around the world, we recite this verse as, I assume, a reminder as to why we tithe:
"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be [a]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 [b]it overflows."  Malachi 3:10 [NASB]
The verse invites us to test the Lord and watch Him send blessings our way but... am I the only one that finds it weird when all the conversations on tithe end up being hung up on this one point? Yea, there is always a spiel on faith and trusting good but, instead of highlighting it as "Thank You, Lord, for all you have done", the conversation gets shifted to "I gave Him $__ and He gave me ____, _____, and ______!You need to give Him $__ so you can get some of ____, _____, and ______ in your life too!"

I don't know about you but this sounds very pay-for-service to me. I give him $20 and get gas in my car for the week or something. And its the same persons who get upset when you say "pay tithe" that only want to talk about the things they have received as a result of remitting the funds.

And, let's speak plainly. What if I don't want for anything? What if, logically, I rather just use my money to directly fund my living instead of giving it to something else and praying that I get it back so I can boast? Or... what if you you never received any blessings from tithing? What if you gave every single pay period and still couldn't afford to buy a car or health insurance? Would you give it if you were still living from check-to-check with no relief in sight?

The fact that none of these questions are ever brought up or addressed is what makes me feel uncomfy. It's just real funny to ya girl. I've read the same verse as you and I just don't think its fair to relegate God to a visage of a celestial sugar daddy.

Hearing the "Big Momma Faith" sermon on tithing from Pr. Kelly about 2 years ago helped to change my perspective on the whole process. It was the first time, in a long time, that I heard someone strip away the superfluous and discuss tithe as solely a faith initiative. Tithing was about stating "I trust you" without some underlying expectation for a walking-on-water moment to boast about on a later date. My soul really received that and I quickly made the decision to begin demonstrating my faith through tithe. I wanted to tangibly let God know that I trusted and believed in His way for my life. No strings attached.

You should know that I never actually did. I had the highest of intentions and I genuinely wanted to change how I operated my being. But, listen....
....
......
.......
........I really failed miserably at this. Everything just became that much more harder and stressful as soon as I made that resolution and I caved. The devil sho'll is busy, ain't he?

I made that same tithe resolution at the beginning of this year. I had a slow start but I finally remitted my tithe on my third paycheck of the year. And, while I was initially ashamed that I couldn't stick to my resolve as I planned it to be, I am actually just relieved and proud that I finally did it. And even more proud that I did it again for today's paycheck.

And, maybe I shouldn't get a pat on the back for doing something all of Christian-dom has been partaking it for years. But, honestly, I'm just glad that I took the time to find the truth and understanding for myself. I'm glad I was brave enough to start this journey to address my discomforts and find my slice of peace and comfort in all of this.

And, I don't know, maybe I'm selling myself short by not having a list of demands to slide over to God to go along with my tithing. Maybe I should stand up for myself a bit and fight to get to the front of the line.

"Give me a man! 
Find me that Audi A5 at a reasonable price! 
Give me a substantial raise!! 
I need a loft!
This is my test!" 

The thing is... I'm just so grateful for where I am now. Sure, the journey hasn't been what I have expected but I've learned that my story is always better when I let God take the lead and I just follow. I'm in a place I never could imagine and I love the view from here. I just want to tell Him thank You.

xo,
Jana-Lynn

Comments

  1. I haven't tithed longer than you. It's embarrassing, I know. I wonder if that's the reason I've had financial burdens my entire life. Something to consider.

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    Replies
    1. sometimes, i think the same thing. but then it angers/frustrates me even more. i don't want to feel as though i have remit money in order to feel at peace in life. it feels as if that would mean i'm buying a blessing

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