On Tithing

Sunday School we learned about stewardship and tithing and how it is a picture of Jesus’ return (after the Resurrection, He took the firstfruits to Heaven, we are the main crop and those who will be saved in the Tribulation are the gleanings, just like the bible teaches for us to tithe the firstfruits to God, then leave the gleanings for those who are poorer than us…in other words harvest your main crop, but don’t go back and be nitpicky about picking up every last grain or penny…leave it for the poor to harvest).

I just thought I’d throw that out because I’d never looked at it that way before, and I thought it was really neat. Also I learned that if you are tithing off the $$ your husband is making, it better be with his permission, because if you’re sneaking it, you’re stealing. OOPS! Boy am I glad that Jesus forgives all sins, even the ignorant ones (ones we do not knowing we’re sinning)! I did that!!

I’d wanted to tithe for years (really, call me weird, but there ya have it…I just knew God would bless if I did, I don’t know how I knew, but I did…me thinks it must’ve been the Holy Spirit livin’ inside-a me!), but since I didn’t have a church, I didn’t know how to “give 10% to God”. I was so happy when I found a church home, I was excited to start tithing, but since Mike didn’t go, I was afraid he might get upset, so I found ways to “tithe” without him finding out. Since I was handling the budget it wasn’t too difficult.

Some weeks it was as simple as my brother giving me $$ in cash and asking me to write him a check to pay his bills. I’d take the cash, write the check to pay his bills, then I’d use the CASH to put our tithe into the offering plate on Sunday morning. Other times I’d buy stuff for the kids at church (like candy or treats for Sunday School prizes or whatever) that cost as much as the 10% would be and considered that our tithe. I remember once I rationalized that paying for Meagan to go to church camp was our tithe. All kinds of things. None were right, though I totally had no idea at the time.

Soon, the cash wasn’t coming in from my brother anymore, because he had his own checking account now and so was writing his own checks. I realized I wasn’t trusting that God would take care of things in regards to Mike getting upset or not. What I mean is, I knew the bible taught tithing, I knew God wants us to tithe, and I wanted to obey, so I wanted to tithe. I was worried that if Mike got upset and said no, I might get in trouble with God because I wasn’t obeying by tithing. So I decided that just like worrying about Mike causin’ a fuss about us going to church at all, I needed to just trust that God would take care of things so that I could tithe. I needed to quit hidin’ it from Mike. I didn’t plan to make a big deal about it and announce it, but I’d start writing checks for the tithe and if he did ever notice and ask, I’d tell him what it was.

That went on for a few months, but something still didn’t seem right. I was tithing…with a check so there was a record in the checkbook register which I left in the same place as I had for years, so it was completely available for him to see…but it still didn’t seem right somehow. I was still worried he’d get upset, for one.

A little later, a woman at church said something that somehow made me think that maybe something was ‘off’. I don’t remember exactly the conversation, but it was something like her asking if Mike was telling me not to tithe or was stopping me from doing it. She never said anything about that would be wrong or right or whether it was wrong or right to tithe or anything other than asking me that and saying that we were supposed to tithe 10% of the gross. Somehow just the fact that she asked me whether he was telling me not to made me wonder WHY she asked me that. I figured there must be a reason, but the actual conversation at the time was not tithing, so I didn’t ask. I did, however, learn tithing was supposed to come off the gross, not the net, so I re-figured our tithe based on that.

The very fact that my friend had asked if Mike was telling me not to tithe, not the question or answer, but just the fact that she’d asked, kept buggin’ me. I figured there must be some reason for her to ask. Slowly it dawned on me. It dawned on me that I needed to be sure Mike knew we were tithing. Actually point it out, that way I wasn’t hiding anything from him even by accident. So, one day, when the subject of tithing came up, I asked him his thoughts, and his comment was that he didn’t know whether we could afford to or not. I replied that we had been for a few months, and also apologized that I’d done so without asking him. I told him I should have asked him first, and also pointed out that we hadn’t gone broke from it. I also told him I’d like to tithe, and asked if we could keep doing so. He said yes! I don’t know if he would have or not had I not been tithing already, BUT that doesn’t excuse my SIN of tithing without his permission. I just didn’t see it as such, then. I just knew I felt better having it in the open and his ok. (It was around this time I relinquished the budget over to him, as well. I don’t remember which came first, but when he asked for the bills to take over I fussed a minute, then remembered I was supposed to be letting him be in charge, and so handed everything over.)

Today, I learned that not only is it OK… for the wife that is in church, but her hubby is not, and he earns the money not her… to not tithe, I also learned that it is wrong for her to do so without hubby’s permission. Two things. I learned I was wrong for tithing all those months. Actually in a sense I’d already figured that out…since I’d figured out I should’ve asked first…I just didn’t look at it as his money, and so therefore I should’ve asked, I looked at it as he’s in charge and so I should’ve asked. I also learned that it was ok to not tithe. What I mean is, there was a long while that aside from worrying about tithing because God says to and I want to obey and if I can’t I’ll be upset and maybe in trouble with God, I also was worried about the pastor and others in church thinking I was wrong and selfish and greedy and had no right to come to church if I didn’t tithe, so I worried about that, too. I learned today that GOD says I shouldn’t tithe off of my husband’s $$ without his permission (because actually I can’t…he has to, if I take it, it is just stealing) and so I would’ve been ok with Him to not tithe, AND I would’ve been ok with the pastor and the others at church, also, and have every right to go to church because I’d have been obeying. I didn’t have to tithe off Mike’s $$ to obey, because I can’t. He has to. I never really saw that until today.

And so these final thoughts:

  • If you go to church, but your hubby does not…if YOU earn (or are given) money, tithe off of what YOU earn (or are given). Don’t worry about tithing off your hubby’s income. It’s not your place, responsibility, or worry. Don’t do it. It’s stealing.
  • Thank God for His wonderful mercy and forgiveness. I’m not going to stew on this anymore because, although I was wrong and sinned by stealing from my husband in ignorance, Jesus has paid for those sins and has forgiven me. I thank God that Jesus was the sacrifice for ignorant sins as well as those we do intentionally.
  • I’m also not going to worry about the upcoming missions conference where we will be renewing our faith promises. I’d kinda been worrying because a little while ago Mike mentioned all the $$ going to the church each week. I reminded him it was tithing and a certain amount each month for faith promise, and that that amount was equal to the amount I used to spend on cigarettes for myself. He hasn’t said anything else, but I’ve been kind of worried about him telling me to quit giving the money. I’ve been scared of what would happen in terms of church and being in trouble with God and so forth (like I explained above) if he does tell me to quit giving that. I’m not going to worry anymore, and if he does tell me to quit, I will, and I’ll know then, that I am obeying… not disobeying, as I was scared I would be. I’ll also know what to say if anyone at church does think ill of me for it, or says something about it, and I’ll know that it really doesn’t matter what they think or say, anyway. God says I’m obeying by obeying Mike, and that’s who I’m trying to obey. Not them. I’d rather please God than man.
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