Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My Story- Stewardship vs the Tithe

I know, I know- stewardship & tithing: 2 very unpopular topics. But I wanted to share my story and what I've recently become passionate about.

I don't remember much formal teaching from my parents regarding tithing (which is surprising given that my dad has been the church treasurer for as long as I can remember). I know it was a concept that was highly modeled for me, though. Whenever I started tithing, I remember that it honestly was with the motive that if I did so, God would bless me (or at least, if I didn't He might withhold his blessing). Then it changed to something I merely did because I "should", and I enjoyed the tax incentive at the end of the year. But still in my thinking, all our finances were still just 10% God's, 90% ours to do with as we pleased.

In the past few years, however, my husband and I worked so hard to set aside some money. We watched our savings account slowly grow and I became so proud of us- proud of what we had earned, what we had saved, the amount we had amassed solely on our own. Then came illness, a hospital stay, medical procedures and a mailbox flooded with medical bills. And I watched that amount that I was so proud of - the tangible pinacle of self-reliance and ownership quickly deplete.

And I realized at that moment why stewardship is the model God created. We aren't ever owners of our money. And there is no such thing as self-reliance. Instead, we're stewards, entrusted with the money by God to be used in ways that glorify him. It's not that 10% is God's, it's all God's.

And suddenly, seeing that money go towards medical bills wasn't as painful because I realized that it was never mine to dictate anyways. God had provided it and He would be faithful to provide for our needs again. And I try to remember that I don't need to worry about it, nor do I need to feel prideful. It's just the completely freeing trust of being the middle-man- the steward of God's resources to His Kingdom.

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