Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I Was Tempted!

Sunday, February 24, is what we are calling SUPER SIZE GIVING SUNDAY here at Grace Church. On this one Sunday, we are challenging everyone who is part of our Church family, members and regular attendees alike, to test God through obedient giving and to see how He blesses as a result. Here are the specific challenges.

If you typically do not give anything, then super-size your giving by giving something on Sunday, February 24!

If you typically give something but not 10% of your weekly income, then super-size your giving by giving 10% on Sunday, February 24!

If you typically give at least 10% of your weekly income, then super-size your giving by giving your very best on Sunday, February 24.

As we move toward this special Sunday of seeing people take steps of faith in an area that perhaps they never took steps of faith in before, I have to be transparent and honest with you and tell you that I seriously considered the temptation to quit tithing altogether for the next several years. You see, I have finished registering my daughter for college and, as I wrote in earlier blogs, I was totally freaked out by the price tag I saw for just the first semester of her freshman year. As my mind raced to try to find some quick “fix-it” solution to how I was going to pay for her college, this thought crossed my mind….

“You know, the amount I gave to the church and to other missionaries and ministries that my wife and I supported over the past calendar year would have paid for one full year of college for my daughter after all scholarships are taken into account.”

This thought didn’t cross my mind…it stayed there. It was the “quick-fix” I was looking for. And as I dwelt on that thought, a whole list of ways I could justify redirecting my tithe and offering monies to Joy’s college bill tagged right along behind it. After all, look at how much ministry I do in the church. Look at all the time I spend here. Look at all the lives I am touching. Isn’t tithing more than money? I am tithing my time. I am tithing my energy. At times it even feels as if I am tithing my heart and soul to Grace Church. Surely, it is acceptable for me to consider all of my time and energies as my tithe so that I can pay for my daughter’s higher education. After all, she is going to a great Christian College. In paying her tuition to that Christian institution it’s as if I am tithing to ministry, right? And her dream is to one day teach in the inner city, touching the lives of middle school students who so desperately need Jesus. To give my tithe money to her training for such a ministry must be considered tithing! Isn’t it?

But in the end, I came to the conclusion I can’t rob God in order to pay for Joy’s college. My tithe will continue and I will give it cheerfully, believing God’s promise that he will bless me and that He will meet all of our needs as we seek Him and His kingdom first.

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