Yesterday, for the first time in forever, I gave up an offering in church.
Yes, you read that correctly, but let me explain.
In the Bible (Malachi 3:10), it is written, “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” A tithe is that firstfruit, that first 10% of our earnings/income/increase that is supposed to go back to God. We are called to do this in reverence to our God, thanking Him for how He has provided for us and giving back to Him what is His. According to the Bible, this is a non-negotiable- we must do this.
Offering, however, is that which we choose to give above and beyond our tithes. It is when we give in excess of what God calls us to do. It is more.
And I gave more yesterday; I was finally able to give my tithes to God AND give an offering to Him as well.
Financially, I struggled my way through this past summer. Yet I utter no complaints because God provided abundantly and there was no need that He did not supply. As I went through this final season of unemployment, I learned that there were other, non-monetary, ways for me to tithe. Tithe is just giving back 10% of what God has given us, right? Well, He has given me time and talents… so I can tithe those, too! And that’s what I did, I gave God 10% of my time and my talents. I took time to read and study His word, write my understanding of His word (*clears throat* these #MondayMessage posts), and serve in His kingdom wherever needed. I graciously gave God back His due portion of what He had blessed me with; yes, I tithed- monetarily and of my time and talent- but there was never anything more.
I have learned that every day, by God’s grace, we have 24 hours to live. In this 24-hour block we must live, work, sleep, eat, engage with others, commune with God, clean, etc. I had been carving out so much time for me and my needs, that I was not able to give God any more. He deserved more, but after the 10%, I was either financially, emotionally, or physically drained and I could do no more because I had to stash away something for me.
My desires were greater than God’s needs.
My time was too valuable to share.
I don’t think I can fully explain how it felt to give more. To finally be able to say, “thank You, Lord, for Your bountiful gifts; I give You what is Yours…but I also give this in abundance!”
It felt good; it felt great!
Finally, finally, I was able to give God more of me.
Beloved, I wish the same for you. I don’t know where you are in your current walk with God, but I encourage you to go deeper and give more. While my reference of financial tithing blurred into tithing of time and talent, please understand that I am encouraging you to offer God more of your time and talents. But understand, I am not telling you to run yourself literally or financially ragged, doing more than your wallet or body can handle. Look deep within yourself, seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and then give more, as you are able. Whether it’s spending more time in His word or helping an elderly lady cross the street, take that leap and give more of you.