Sunday morning we continued our series here at Gaylord E-Free called "The Noah Project." We gave special detail to the specific instructions God gave to Noah in Genesis chapter six when it came to the ark and the animals.
450 ft long
75 ft wide
45 ft high
Made of gopher wood
Completely covered in pitch
2 animals of every kind on the earth
Enough food for all for over a year
And he was to do this in a day and age that had never seen rain and did not have the modern technology that we do today. And keep in mind, that he would also have do so in the crossfire of persecution and ridicule the entire time. Yet, he did all that God had commanded him
Why can't we be more like Noah? I mean, has God really given us any commands today that are more difficult than what I just listed above? Why is it that we so often use our own God-given creativity to get around the God-given commands that have been given to us? Let me give you a personal example.
My wife and I believe in the Biblical principle of tithing. We believe that all we have comes from God. It's all His! And He has commanded us to give the first 10% back to Him through the local church. And He has promised to bless us if we will. We have always practiced this throughout our nearly 25 years of married life.
But now we have two kids in college! Do you realize how expensive college is? There is tuition, room & board, books, essentials, travel, etc. And for us it is all of that multiplied by two! OUCH! The kids have some scholarships. They have some money from work. They have taken some student loans. But because we don't want to see them saddled with massive amounts of student loan debts as they go into life after college, we are trying to cover the rest. But honestly, it just doesn't all fit into our family budget - not by a long shot.
I discovered something, however, as I was reworking our budget going into 2012. I realized that the amount we tithe over the course of the year, especially if you include the amount above our tithe that we give to some missionaries we also support personally, would come very close to the amount we are short in our budget to pay their college costs and allow them to graduate having limited loans to repay. In other words, if I quit tithing I could do it! It's that simple! As a result, the following creative thoughts came into my mind:
Creative Thought #1 - It would just be for 2.5 more years! Then, we can go right back to tithing, maybe even upping the percentage a few notches!
Creative Thought #2 - Both my kids attend a Christian College. In fact, Liberty University (in my humble opinion) is the greatest, most exciting Christian University in the world. And it is making an enormous spiritual impact for Jesus world-wide. So by paying for my kids to go to Liberty, aren't I really investing money into a Christian ministry? Isn't that the same as tithing?
Creative Thought #3 - My daughter wants to teach Middle School. Lord knows that Middle School students need Jesus. And you have to be called of God to work with Middle School students day in and day out, right? My son wants to be a Worship Pastor who will lead people in worship of God, preparing their hearts to hear and heed the Word of God. By paying for their college education, am I not investing in ministry? Isn't this the equivalent of tithing?
How easy it would be for me to use any one or all of these creative thoughts to justify my getting around what God has asked me to do - TITHE! But if Noah can have enough faith to do all that God commanded him to do concerning the ark and the animals, can't I quit being creative in my disobedience and do what He has commanded me to do, trusting Him for the results as well?