The whole tithe?
And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree,is the Lords. It is holy to the Lord. – Leviticus 27:30
The last three weeks at church our pastor has been talking about tithing and giving. Something that has always struck me when people think about tithing is that the conversation immediately turns to money. I can’t imagine that is all there is to it though. Tithing is about more than money, it is about our attitude toward God.
Yes, it is important that we support our church through our giving. If we are benefiting from the ministry of the church then we should be supporting that ministry. I’m not equating giving to the church to paying a bill (at least not philosophically, but it is part of the following metaphor) but when I enjoy the services of my local electric company, which I certainly do when Texas summer rolls around, I pay them for those services. If I enjoy and grow because of the ministry of someone or some organization, I feel something of an obligation to support that ministry.
Now, it is important to define what support means. Does it only mean financial support, or can it mean other things? I absolutely believe that it can be more than just money. It can be time, it can be service, it can be representation, it can be any number of things. As are those things part of our tithe? Yes! As Leviticus says, “all the tithe of the land….is holy to the Lord.”
Time and service to the church are things that are near and dear to me. I serve as the discipleship pastor at our church, in a non-paying role. I’m content with that, but a few years ago I wouldn’t have been. I’m more than willing to give of my time, my energy, and my abilities in order that Jesus name is made known throughout our town. As has been said before, church is not a spectator sport. We have to jump off the bench and engage in the work of the Great Commission. If all we do is show up on Sunday, write a check, and spend the rest our week ignoring God, we aren’t truly giving our first fruits to God. We are paying a bill for services rendered and moving on.
Church, let us not lose our way when talking about tithing as if money is the only important thing. Our hearts are what is important. When our hearts move towards Christ, our wallet will follow. As we deepen our relationship, our level of service and our commitment to the Church will deepen. As one of our members so eloquently put on Sunday, we can’t think about giving to the church in terms of what we are going to receive. Our reward will come someday, either in this life or the next. God is in charge of the results, all we need to do is be faithful to what He has called us to do and with the resources He has provided for us.