Tithing and Hilarious Giving

The first ten years of marriage, my husband and I gave to the church, but we didn’t tithe.

Tithing traces back to the Old Testament, when God commanded his people, the Israelites, to give ten percent of what He gave them back to Him.  This tithe provided for the tribe of the Levites who served as priests and did not have their own land or jobs with which to earn a living.  Their “job” was to serve God and the congregation of Israel.  Today our tithing should go to supporting the Church and those who have dedicated their lives to ministry: pastors, missionaries, etc…, and supply the funds needed to do the work God has assigned the church.

Giving is talked about in the New Testament.  In 2 Corinthians, the apostle Paul teaches the church in Corinth that individuals should give as they have decided in their hearts, cheerfully, because God loves a cheerful giver.  (Paul was encouraging the Corinthians to give to take care of the poor in Jerusalem.)  Giving is extra.  It goes above and beyond a tithe.

Tithing and Hilarious Giving

{An interesting fact that will make you smile if you make it to the end of this post… this word that is used for a cheerful giver… it is the Greek word, hilaros, which not only means cheerful, joyous, prompt to do anything… it also means hilarious.  So imagine what hilarious giving would look like for a moment, and we’ll come back to this in a few minutes.  😀 }

Anyway, I guess you’d say that my husband and I had it backward in the early years.  We gave, often, but we never tithed 10%… this was something we had not committed to doing.

Then a woman who taught classes for Crown Ministries came to speak for my MOPS group.  She talked about the Crown Money Map which encourages people to budget so that they can live within their means, tithe, save, and pay off debt.  She shared some of the strategies her family used to accomplish this, and it was pretty impressive because they lived on a very modest income.

My husband and I are so blessed that the only debt we owe is our home mortgage.  God provided in amazing ways while hubby was in college, month to month, so that he graduated debt free.  This allowed us to enter into the ministry job force right away, without loan payments.  We were able to work at a smaller, growing camp on a minimal salary ($1,000 a month, back in the day).

If we use credit cards, we pay them off when the bill is due so that we don’t accrue interest.  We drive older vehicles that we paid for in cash.  My husband is the son of a mechanic, so he has done most of our fix-it work himself.  We’ve been blessed this way.  So when I heard this Crown Financial Teacher speak, it wasn’t debt that motivated me to do anything different, but it was the conviction that God wanted our family to honor Him.  When I talked with my husband, he agreed.

If you only look at the numbers, giving 10% off the top of my husband’s salary definitely gave me less money to work with each month.  But have you heard about the woman who only had $20 to live on every month?  She said,

“Twenty Dollars is impossible to live on, but $18 is easy.” 

When you dedicate yourself to giving God his share, he makes sure you have what you need to ensure you can give and still be taken care of.

“He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 2 Corinthians 9:10-11

Several months ago God woke me up at 3 in the morning to tell me He wanted us to commit to giving back 10% of what is left at the end of the month.  We have been tithing 10% at the beginning of the month for many years now.  10% at the end of the month is extra… it’s giving.

I almost laughed, partly because I was punchy from being so tired, and partly because it’s a major event when we have anything left.  But I agreed.  “Okay, God, if that’s what you want.  You know there’s not usually anything left at the end of the month, but if you can stretch what we have so that there is, you can definitely have 10% of it.”

Kind of seemed like a small amount… 10% of whatever is left, but something interesting happened.  Budgeting and shopping, which I normally find stressful as all get out, suddenly became challenging in a good way.  The amazing ways God provided the things we needed, and the uncanny savings that popped up during shopping trips, they did not escape my notice.  As the month passed and I could see the potential for having a surplus, it became almost like an exciting game.  The idea of having something more to give back was making me giddy.

Dance to Give

And you know what?  We’ve had something left almost every single month since then.  When we have experienced an unexpected expense, God has provided an equally unexpected gift that allows us to tithe more, and still give.

When I tally the numbers at the end of the month and figure out how much we get to give, praying about where God wants us to give it, and writing out the check… I literally feel like dancing with joy, and suddenly the idea of hilarious giving is not so hilarious.  It’s wonderful.  It’s Jehovah-jireh, our God who provides.   🙂

God loves a cheerful giver.  He loves it when we scheme to save to give.  He loves it when we giggle with joy at writing that extra check, and when we dance to be able to put it where He wants it:

the benevolence fund,

that teenager’s upcoming missions trip,

YWAM team to Mexico (1)

Bethany's trip to Mexico

full time missions support,

scholarships for kids to attend camp,

cup camp 2015

gift cards for the family who is struggling…

Where would you give your gift?

God said He will enrich us in every way so that we can be generous in every way.  That includes enriching our desire to give.   I can’t tell you how many ways doing for others will bless you.  

Do you tithe from your income?

Have you witnessed God provide for you in amazing ways?

Would you ever consider giving, above and beyond your tithe, and see what God will do for you?  Why or why not?



6 thoughts on “Tithing and Hilarious Giving

  1. Pingback: Praying God’s Will; 1 Thessalonians, Chapter 2 |

  2. Pingback: Praying God’s Will; 1 Thessalonians, Chapter 4 |

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