We just finished up our annual series on tithing. I hear some common "push back" statements every time we do this. These statements typically come from people who have been Christians for a long time (I'm purposely calling them "Christians" rather than "followers of Christ"...cause I think the distinction is important). Here are some of their statements, and my unfiltered response...
· "I'm in college and can't tithe right now" or "I'm on a fixed income and can't tithe" or "I'm a single parent and can't tithe right now." This is typically followed by, "When I'm making more money I'll begin tithing." No, you won't. It's a heart issue, not a money issue. You aren't tithing now because you don't trust God. You don't think God can meet your needs if you begin to honor him with your money. You want to maintain control.
· "It is so hard to tithe on my limited income." Anyone who has lived a portion of their life with very little money, and another portion of their life with ample amounts of money--will tell you that it is much harder to tithe when you have lots of money rather than just a little. Money has a way of getting entangled in your values as it increases and materialism is the fastest growing cell in your heart. Start when you have nothing and see what God does in your heart and through your life.
· "I'm really tired of this church talking about tithing." In 22 years of ministry, I've never once heard a tithing person complain that we are talking about tithing. Those who tithe have experienced the blessing of God and the freedom that comes with obeying God, and they want others to have that same experience. Whenever someone tells me they are tired of the church talking about money, it's like they have a flashing LED sign on their head that says, "I rob God!" Really, you should just lay low and go stealth. Quit advertising your hard heart.
· "If I won the lottery and got $10 million dollars, I would give $1 million to my church." No you wouldn't. If you aren't giving God 10% of your income now, there's not a chance in the world you would give 10% if you struck it rich. You are a God-robber, and God-robbers don't suddenly get generous when they get rich.
· "I've made some bad financial choices and can't tithe until I get back on track." I love your honesty. So get back on track. Sell your house. Downsize. Get in a financial education class. Drive an old beater. Live on beans and weenies. And do everything you can to get back on track and tithing so you can get in the flow of God's blessing!
· "I don't tithe to my church cause I'm not sure I trust all the decisions they make with the money." Then find a church where you trust the leaders. Not a church where you agree with every decision they make, but a church where you can believe God to work through the leadership that is in place. Quit sucking off the things you like about the church while withholding your tithe or sending it somewhere else.
I'm praying that the families of Granger will get serious this week about honoring God with their finances. When they do, I can't wait to see what God does in our community through their faith.