Saturday, December 25, 2010

Adventures in tithing part 1

Merry Christmas!

Firstly, I apologize for not getting to emails. For some reason, all I received near as I can figure is spam. So, if you have a question, please just leave a comment in the comments section.

Secondly, there was a topic for today, but I can't recall what it was. It might possibly have been about Behemoth and other dinosaur stuff. I might also have been looking to write about another topic I can't remember.

So, I would just like to talk about my struggle with tithing. I rarely give any money to Church, let alone the full 10% regularly. There are many arguments for and against tithing from a Christian perspective. One could argue that we are no longer subject to the law, and thus not bound to tithe. Others could say that Christians should realize all we have comes from God and let it be all available to Him. It is also a great way to build faith because it shows we actually trust God to provide for us and our needs. In any event, it's hardly a weird enough issue to discuss here, but it is in the Bible and thus it is relevant to my interests as a Christian.

I would like to start tithing, mainly to be obedient to God. I know tithing will not make me "extra saved" as Christ did everything already for me to get into Heaven. Yet, He died so that I could be obedient, and in this obedience others might be blessed. My faith in Him should make me obedient to His commands. In other words I want to be a doer of the word as well as a hearer.

So, recently my pastor had a sermon about tithing, and he referenced Malachi 3:10. He outlined that this was the only place in the Bible where God says we can test Him.

Malachi 3:10 - Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do," says the LORD Almighty, "I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won't have enough room to take it in! Try it! Let me prove it to you!

And this passage got me to thinking: If I start tithing, how will I be blessed?

Obviously a selfish thought, so I tried to think more about how if I give I should give joyfully (as Christ said) and give to any who are in need. Then I can ask God to bless me, but only as He wills. It could be treasure in Heaven, or someone coming to Christ, or just something as simple as knowing I made a difference somehow in someone's life. Those are all blessings and not one of them are anything that will bless me materially or even in ways that are tangible to me. I believe God will bless us as His word says, but will we recognize it and appreciate it?

So I have attempted to start tithing, but have not been wholly successful. I have to say at this moment, my faith is not as strong as it should be. I admit that right now, I have doubts about how God is going to bless me. How will I have my needs met? Will He really provide for me? In what ways will He use my offering? How will I be blessed. I want to just share this with everyone so people can see my doubts. I would imagine that many have the same doubts I do. My hope is that those of you reading this will identify with those, and perhaps be inspired to overcome your doubts. I hope also that God will deal with my doubts and move me beyond them. As He walks me through these first few initial steps (however long those take) I hope that I can share with you how God has destroyed the obstacles. If God works in my life, He will certainly work far greater things in your own.

After one instance of tithing (not exactly 10%, just an fyi. The amount is between me and God), I am not quite sure how the Lord has blessed me. I am not so shallow as to think that He will shower me with material wealth, or even necessarily a way to earn more money for a living. That would be nice, but it's not realistic, not to mention God is not a genie. He may choose to, He may not. I think He won't based on my own greediness.

So, here are some ways I have been blessed, that may or may not have been related to any tithing I may or may not have done.

1) I had a class about sharing Christ with Muslims prior to and after tithing. This class was free offered by my church
2) One of my Muslim friends at work has been able to learn that I am a Christian, so hopefully this will lead somewhere. And I have had other opportunities to share my faith with coworkers.
3) I have had what I think are decent ideas for the novel I am writing, as well as ideas for another story.
4) A possible opportunity to be a writer for, though I am trying to see if this is the right choice.
5) A possible green light to keep going ahead with the novel.

So, perhaps this is because I tithed, and perhaps it is not. I would like to think that God has opened the window a little bit so that I may be encouraged to continue tithing. I would like to come back and share what else God is doing as He blesses me. I would also like to share if I believe it is related to tithing or not. I don't want to boast about tithing, as 1) It's God working in me that prompts any gifts to the church and 2) I hope that by my testimonies of tithing you may be encouraged to take it up as well and 3) It is God who provides and owns what we tithe to start with. So I may not mention if I tithed when God blesses me. Sometimes it will be, and other times maybe not. If letting you know about the tithe is what God wants, I will share it.

Please keep me in prayer for inspiration and wisdom related to this blog, and my writing career and also as I write the novel. Lastly, pray that God build my faith so that I may continue to trust in Him.

God bless!

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