Recently I was listening to Perry Noble’s leadership podcast. In this particular episode he talked about people giving their tithe to Mickey Mouse during the summer. So, I ask you;
Are you making plans to give your tithe to Mickey Mouse this summer?
Ok, I hear you. You have no plans to go to Disney this summer. The question is not specifically about Disney. Here’s the truth in nearly every church. Giving goes down during the summer months. Unfortunately many people will not give when they are not present. So, when they are traveling for vacation during the summer they don’t give to their church. If you do this you are, in essence, giving your tithe to Disney, or to the beach, or the lake house, or whatever other thing you do for vacation.
Is disobedience ok when your not there? My kids know what I expect in my home. They know that I expect them to obey me whether they are home or not. In fact, I expect and even greater degree of obedience and respect when they are NOT at home. Tithing is an act of obedience. As such, does it matter if you are physically at your home church or not? NO! Just like my kids are expected to obey me, even when they are not home, we should obey God even when we are not in his house.
Does generosity take the summer off? Some would argue that tithing is an Old Testament command and no longer applies for those of us under the new covenant through Jesus Christ. That’s a topic for another day. However, suppose for a moment that tithing is no longer EXPECTED. It would still represent an act of generosity. This being the case do we just set aside our generosity for 3 months every year? Consider these examples:
- Fitness: Suppose you exercised regularly and were very careful with what you ate, but only for 9 months out of the year. When summer came you stopped exercising and ate whatever was available. Could you still call yourself a fit person at the end of the three months? Could you really say that fitness was important to you if you took 3 months off each year?
- Money: Suppose for 9 months out of the year you counted every penny. You clipped coupons. You squirrelled away money in savings. You never charged anything, even paying cash for cars. But, the other 3 months you spent money as if you were a millionaire. You quickly blew through your savings and ran up large credit card bills. Would you consider yourself a financially responsible person with this pattern?
- Attitude: Ok, one more. Suppose you were a really nice person. You helped cats out of trees. You helped old ladies cross the street. You opened doors for ladies. You worked in a soup kitchen, feeding the homeless. You played games in the park with neighborhood kids. BUT, for 3 months of the year you did none of this. Instead you treated people poorly. You threw rocks at the cat stuck in the tree. You laughed at the old lady trying to cross the street. You slammed doors in the ladies faces. You made fun of homeless people. You yelled at the kids playing in the park and popped their ball.
These examples may be extreme, but can we really consider ourselves generous if we only give to the church when we happen to be there?
Are you not grateful? The Bible tells us that God is our provider. We often think that the things we work for we have EARNED. But, it is God who gives us the ability to work. So, even what we work for was given to us by God. For this reason giving is an act of gratitude. Returning a portion of what God has given us back to Him, through the local church, shows that we are grateful for his provision. Are you only grateful when you are in that building?
It’s not about guilt. My goal with this post is not to make anyone feel guilty. That is never my intent. If this post did make you fee guilty I am sincerely sorry. Rather my goal is to make all of us reflect on why we give, when we give and how we give. We also need to reflect on why we DON’T give and when we DON’T give.Matt Norman
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