so I wrote my check to God today, and I kind of resented it. I did it anyway, but I could almost hear God’s voice in my head (sounding strangely like my mother!) saying, “I don’t care for your attitude, young lady!” Only that’s really bad theology and that’s not REALLY what I heard . . .
I have read some of your comments (admittedly, not as thoroughly as I hope you are reading mine!) and I still stand by my firm conviction that 10 percent is the BARE MINIMUM that should be expected of Christians today. And I don’t have a problem with the idea that once in a blue moon your tithe might go to another cause, as much as I have a problem with what we (and I most certainly include myself in this!) are doing with the other 90 percent. The fact remains that we in North America have no excuse not to be giving 15 or 20% or more to God’s kingdom. And I believe that taking care of God’s house, particularly the Body that you consider your “home” church, comes first, and must NOT be an “either/or” with other giving.
Our church recently had a “fifth Sunday” offering, where they asked people to give above and beyond to get the general fund ahead, as it has been lagging behind the proposed budget in recent months. The congregation complied, and the general fund seemed to surge–except that when you looked at the other funds (for missions, for Christian education, etc), they ALL were below the level of giving that was needed for that same month. So we are working with “smoke and mirrors”, or as my dear grandmother (not the chicken grandma!) used to say, “robbing Peter to pay Paul”. The problem is, we can afford to pay them both, and so it is really God that we are robbing.
I don’t say this without knowing with all of my heart that I am also guilty of this . . . but this is why I struggle so much to remain faithful to tithing, after years and years of being unfaithful. My goal is to give MORE as time goes by, and if I start creating all kinds of loopholes for myself, I know that I will only travel down that “slippery slope” until giving is once again optional. and THAT is really not okay with me . . .