I hate tithing.
Well, I hated tithing. Hate can be a pretty strong word. So, maybe Ill just settle with I really disliked the idea of tithing.
I felt churches were greedy, staff was overpaid, missions were underfunded, the spirit was shrinking while the business was growing. Or at least, that’s what I told myself was the reason I didn’t want to give or be tithing.
There was a period of time in my life, roughly six months or so, where it seemed as though I was asked, (daily) by a homeless person or someone in need, if I had any money I could give them.
It was exhausting.
I understood why. I was an overweight white guy who looked friendly, easily approachable, and probably had some cash.
It became such a burden I started looking around at gas stations before getting out to pump gas. If I saw anyone who even slightly looked like they may be in need I would drive to the next gas station until I found one where I wouldn’t be bothered. I started over analyzing why they would be asking for money. Making terrible assumptions about their life, situation, and how they came to asking a young kid for cash.
They had to be asking because they needed money for cigarettes, booze, or drugs. There’s no possible way they could be asking out of sincere need. There’s also no way God put them in my life just because I prayed for an opportunity to reach more people for Jesus.
I became the judge. I became the jury.
Coming up with my own approach and if someone came and asked me for assistance or “anything I could spare” I would begin to ask them questions to figure out if their need was valid, sounded good, or worthy enough for my mighty dollar.
Then I was gut checked by the Holy Spirit.
“Sean, how many blessings do you think I would have given you if I first asked you what you would do with it?”
Yep. I know. Mic drop by the Holy Spirit. I was speechless. I was also still stubborn.
I’m not proud of what I’m about to tell you. However, it’s necessary to share.
I used to always take my payroll check to the bank and take out $60 in cash for spending. I’m not some baller. I was just young, still living at home with minimal bills and a life motto, “A penny saved is a penny wasted.” One random week though, I decided to take out $80. No rhyme or reason. Just took it out.
I was then on my way home at a stop light when I noticed someone standing with a sign asking for money. I did what we all do, I looked the other way. Avoided eye contact so they clearly knew, “don’t come ask me bro. You better talk to Jesus or get a job.” It was a tense few moments, then the light turned green.
Then I had this conversation with God:
“Praise the Lord. I’m out of here”
“You did that to me”
“What? No I didn’t”
“What you do to the least, you do to me”
“Bro, come on.”
“Turn around. Turn your car around. Give him the extra $20.”
“Are you for real right now?”
This was the conversation between me and the Holy Spirit. I turned my car around. Legally or illegally, I can’t remember. I drive back to the guy, grab a $20 hold my hand out the window, ashamed.
He didn’t know I looked past him. He didn’t know I was already on my way home.
I tried driving off as fast as I could. Timing it perfectly with the light. I could see in my side mirror he was looking to see what I gave him. He looked, wide eyed and shocked, then yelled out,
“ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN?!”
“Uh.. yeah. I am” I said quietly and still guilty.
He then ran to catch up to my car and proceeded to share with me how he had been standing in the same spot for a few hours needing money for food. Recently hired by Home Depot but was still low on money and just wanted to be able to buy a meal and all anyone did was throw change at him all day. He thanked me and blessed me for giving him money while wiping tears from his eyes.
I used to believe I had all these noble reasons for not wanting to give to people or churches. What I realized over time, it was just selfishness and doubt.
My perspective was completely wrong. I believed giving and tithing was about trusting God he could help me live off of 90%. That’s not what it’s about at all. The root of the matter is trusting God can return your 10% and more should he not need it or you need help.
God doesn’t need us to worry if the money will be misused by the person or the church. God needs us to worry about being faithful. We all know the harvest is huge and the people to work the fields are few. He didn’t ask us to get out and give him an opinion on the state of the crop or the ones out there harvesting. He asked us to grab a shovel and help.
Continue Reading: ‘Why Generosity Comes First‘ »
You see what I’m getting at was I was afraid I couldn’t live off 90% and the church would spend the 10% worse than I would. That was my doubt and selfishness. Which is the exact opposite of the spirit of Jesus. I used to hate tithing, but now I just love obedience.