It is not a surprise that when the budget doesn’t seem to stretch as it should, that we look at areas where we can cut back. For Christians who consistently give a tithe or offering, this area is often the first where it seems we can afford to cut back. However, the exact opposite is true. This is the last place we should consider cutting back on.
Tithing isn’t done when we can afford it – consider the poor woman who gave two copper coins (Mark 12:41-44). Consider also, David’s purchase of the threshing floor (2 Samuel 24:24). Tithes and offerings cost us. They show that we’re surrendering our finances to God and trusting Him to provide enough.
Giving other than Finances
That said, offerings often came to God in the form of first fruits. This was of stock or of crops, not necessarily of finances. Have you taken the time to consider what you can give God first out of other things? Can you give Him your time and your skills?
There are other things that you can offer in your local congregation that can be both a blessing to God and your church. Do you have a skill that could help the church to run more effectively? Can you greet people at the door, type up the newsletter, help with song word projection or even lead the congregation in worship? Do not think that it is only finances you can give. Whatever you give, give it with a thankful heart, serving your Lord.
If your church reaches out to different missions or ministries, can you give to these in a way that won’t take from your finances? Could you instead create a gift, volunteer some hours to work, help develop an online presence or cook a meal to bless someone in need?
Give of Your First Fruits
The idea of the tithe is to give first to God. If you’re not earning, does this mean that you cannot tithe? We can give first to God in so many things. Instead of being discouraged that you cannot give more financially, look at where you can give.
You can give Him your time first – start your day in prayer and His word. Then look for opportunities to use your time to bless others throughout each day. You can give of your skills to serve in the church or bless others. Do you love cooking? Have someone over for a meal. Can you pray for others? Take part in a local prayer chain.
There are many ways you can give to God first that don’t focus on your finances. You can still be countercultural and focus on giving when much of society encourages you to take. Just be sure to have yourself open to prompting from God and you’ll be amazed at the ways you can put Him first.
Author Bio: Christine Meunier has a fascination with money and what it can do to help others. She is carrying out a bible study on what God’s word says about wealth. Why not join her? http://www.wealthinthebible.com/
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