Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Terrified of Tithing

I am so scared to post this, but I am willing to bet there are other people who have felt this way too. I have a confession: Tithing scares the crap out of me.

First let me just paint my money picture for you. I am young and low on the totem pole as far as salaries go. But I am much better off than I was when I graduated college 6 years ago (wow…I just realized how long it has taken me to get here…and how long it’s been…I really am getting old). But as you can tell from #5 on my list, I still get help from mom (she pays for my car insurance…and gas). I still practically live paycheck to paycheck. I don’t have Suze Orman’s recommended 3-9 month’s worth of living expenses in savings. In fact I don’t save much at all. I just started contributing a measly 4% to my 401K.

But lately I have felt this pull in my heart on the tithing issue. It is similar to the one I felt on the baptism issue. I was so convinced that my baptism as a baby counted and this church was just trying to force their traditions on me…until I felt this shift in my heart and I heard the truth. It was just that I was embarrassed of getting dunked in a tank of water…which kind of meant that I was embarrassed of God. I was fine sitting in a sea of people singing His praise but I didn’t want to stand up in front of everyone and say it. That pull on my heart was so strong it trumped the embarrassment factor…in fact it almost made me feel silly about it.

I am feeling that same pull now on my heart. I want to give 10% but then I realized how much money that was and now I am scared. That is more than my car payment! More than any other bill I have except my mortgage! And just like that...POOF! I am going to live without that money? What about #5 on my list? I don’t want to keep depending on my mom to help support me financially.

I guess I could cut out something? Like my little mini-vacations…but I might loose my mind if I have no fun. I already cut out a lot. I don’t get pedicures or manicures. I haven’t had my hair cut since July. I rarely buy new clothes or shoes. Cam doesn’t get doggie daycare anymore. I try to save money where I can.

And then there is the whole economy thing. I have never been more scared of loosing my job and not being able to find another one in my life. What would I do?

Do all Christians believe in tithing? I don’t remember my parents tithing. I remember putting money in the offering plate, but it was just on offering, not a tithe. I have heard discussions on how every law in the Bible is not applicable today…that you can’t take the Bible literally. That you should just follow the New Testament and “give generously” but not necessarily 10%. I am trying to do research for myself on what it actually says, but more so I want to listen to my heart, because that is where God speaks to me the most.

I want to trust that God will provide for me, but where is that line between trusting and being personally responsible for myself? I did put my full 10% in the envelope last week, but I don’t know if I can do it again. It’s just so much! Some people have suggested easing into it and giving what I think I can handle right now. But how am I supposed to determine what I can handle? If that were left up to me, I would just give whatever I had left over at the end of the month after all the bills were taken care of and I felt “safe”. And I think that would be missing the point wouldn’t it?

Anyway, I am praying about this issue right now. I hate money. Believe me it is not the “idol” I struggle with. Seriously, I would rather just not think about money at all. I just wanted to put this out there because I know I can’t be the only one who struggles with this.


Angela said...

Tithing is not practiced by most Christians. The Mormon church is pretty much the only one that still does it. No legit church would ask you to tithe yourself out of house and home. Nor would a God in alignment with standard Christian ideas. Keep that in mind.

Anonymous said...

You are headed in the right direction! First and foremost follow your heart because that is where Jesus lives and where He talks to us the most. Angela is absolutely WRONG about "a God in alignment with standard Christian ideas" not asking you to tithe. Not only does He ask us to tithe the full 10% he actually "double dog dares" us to do it! Malachi 3:9-10 says You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. Trust Him Suz! You have no idea how giving more to God will help your finances because you are looking at from a worldly perspective, but God looks at from His perspective which we can not possibly understand. Trust and Obey! That is all that the creator of the universe, our maker, our father asks of us. Trust Him with all your heart and all of your wallet. He will do amazing things! Brian

Angela said...

Do not misrepresent my argument. Perhaps a God would ask its followers to tithe, but as I said *and you misrepresented*, that god would not ask you to TITHE YOURSELF OUT OF HOUSE AND HOME.

Abby said...

Just give what you can, it is that simple. Stop analyzing it folks.