Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

11 January 2010

Money Vaccine

A friend and former pastor of mine shared this quote from Rich Stearn's (used to be CEO at Lenox Inc and is now the president of World Vision USA) book called "The Hole In Our Gospel" the other day.

"I have often thought of the tithe in a different way, as a kind of 'inoculation' against the power that money can sometimes hold over us. When we are vaccinated against a deadly virus, our bodies are injected with a small amount of that virus, weakened so that it won't hurt us. By putting this small amount into our systems, we develop an immunity to the virus, and it can no longer harm us. Metaphorically speaking, paying a tithe on our income has the same effect. By cheerfully giving away a small portion of our money, we become immune to the corrupting power it can have in our lives. When we tithe, not out of obligation, but out of love and obedience for God, we are making the bold statement that money has no power over us. Even when we give it away freely, we know that we can depend on God to replenish it and sustain us."

Such an interesting way to think about it!

The tithe (for some inexplicable reason) always seems to be a much-ballyhooed issue. Well... I suppose it's because it requires you to give away 10% of your income... and that's BEFORE you "give". It does COST you something. It can wreak some serious havoc in the new converts budget. I'm very glad that tithing has been a non-negotiable from the beginning to me and my wife, because it would be much harder to start part-way through. Although... when you consider the seriousness with which Malachi 3: 8-12 talks about it, that really shouldn't matter much.

Do honest people rob God? But you rob me day after day.

"You ask, 'How have we robbed you?'

"The tithe and the offering—that's how! And now you're under a curse —the whole lot of you—because you're robbing me. Bring your full tithe to the Temple treasury so there will be ample provisions in my Temple. Test me in this and see if I don't open up heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams. For my part, I will defend you against marauders, protect your wheat fields and vegetable gardens against plunderers." The Message of God-of-the-Angel-Armies. "You'll be voted 'Happiest Nation.' You'll experience what it's like to be a country of grace." God-of-the-Angel-Armies says so.

As the tax season approaches, I draw closer to the day where I'm forced to sit and look at the amount I make compared to the amount I give away. Numbers are solid... cold... hard... absolute. There is no cheating God or Man with them. Normally I'll look, and for a second say in the back of my mind, "I could have bought X,Y,Z with that money". Then I stop and marvel at what God has made the way for us to do and the way that He lets us live... providing all the way through. Every year of our marriage, we've been amazed at how God provides PERFECTLY. Far more perfectly than we could have made that extra 10% work. That's what makes us genuinely celebrate the amount we're able to sow into our church each year. Not to mention that that's how churches afford to function. Tithing is extremely vital to the vitally of our lives for so many reasons.

When you hear the God-super-stories in remote African location where all they have is a prayer and a few pennies... an ingredient that they have (that comes naturally out of circumstance) that we don't, is absolute "Reliance". They NEED God to make it. That's what Stearn is talking about when he wrote, "When we give it away freely, we know that we can depend on God to replenish it and sustain us." Tithing is not a punishment or a curse. Quite the opposite. It prevents those things and releases God to do that beautiful thing He does in our finances when we rely on Him.

Understand me that I'm not bragging, as this is just a Biblical responsibility of all believers. It should be the given. After all, God paid a much higher price than we did... and requires much more than 10% from us. Actually... He wants ALL of us.

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