Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Story For Those Who "Can't Afford to Tithe"

“Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing.” (Malachi 3:10)

Today in worship we talked about the importance of the “tithe” – God’s plan for helping us set our priorities straight regarding money. We also discussed some of the many reasons why people say they “can’t afford to tithe.” The following story addresses many of those concerns:

“Once there was a man who, early in his career, made a vow in church to give to the Lord a tithe of all he earned. In his first job he earned $50 per week, so he tithed $5.00 each Sunday. As he grew older and advanced in his work, his income grew to $100 per week, then to $200 per week. And all through the years he continued tithing on his weekly income until he was finally making $1000 per week.

It was then that he telephoned his pastor and said ‘I have to talk to you.’ The pastor came to the man’s beautiful new home, and they had a good time talking about old times. Finally, the man came to the point: ‘Do you remember the promise I made years ago to tithe? I have kept it all this time. But now, I need to be released from it. You see, when I made that promise, I was making $50 a week. Now, I’m making $1000 a week and it’s costing me $100 a week to fulfill that promise. I’m sorry, preacher, but I can’t afford to tithe any more! So, how can I get out of it?”

The wise old pastor thought for a moment and then he said to his friend, ‘I’m afraid that you cannot be released from your promise, but there is something that we can do. Let’s pray…’ and at that the old preacher began to pray with the man, ‘Dear Lord, shrink this man’s income so that he can once again afford to tithe $5 a week. In Jesus name, Amen.’”

[--From the bulletin of St. Luke UMC in Columbus, Georgia]

As you begin to consider what you’re going to commit to God’s work through the ministry of your church, I encourage you to think about God’s call for us all to be people of the “tithe” – or at least to do what we can to grow towards it. If what you gave to the work of God’s church was multiplied by five or ten, would you continue to maintain your current standard of living? Think about it! 

Over twenty years ago, my wife and I made a commitment to God to tithe off of our gross income (not off the net amount, but the gross amount), and we have never yet regretted it.  So, our church's celebration/commitment Sunday is November 13th.  Will you join us in making that commitment, as well?  Remember always that God loves you and I do, too!

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