My wife, Karen, and I, have learned that one of the easiest ways to worship God is through our money. It is far simpler to budget our money (money that God has blessed us with to begin with) than it is to worship Him with our prayers and our actions and the way that we treat others. Don’t misunderstand that statement. We still make every effort to worship God in all of those other ways!
But setting aside the first 10% of our earnings takes the least amount of effort and self-control. Karen and I tithe because we love God. We worship Him because of that love. We don’t make our money more important than our God. We have made it a point to make this a priority in our lives and in the lives of our children.
Here’s how I put it into perspective for myself:
When I first met Karen I knew there was a spark, there was something about her that was like nothing else that I ever felt. Unfortunately I had dated many others before her, but she was different. I soon fell in love with her because of the woman that she is. She makes my life so incredibly better. She loves me for who I am, despite my past and my faults and my failures. She sees the good in me when others don’t. She loves me and supports all of my efforts in everything that I choose to do. She believes in me. I know that when I have no one else in this world to turn to, I will have her.
I love Karen so much. There is nothing that I wouldn’t give to her or do for her. I often have made sacrifices to give her things that show her that I love her. A string of pearls as a gift for earning her masters degree. A charm for her bracelet for our first Christmas together. Most recently I gave her a Christmas gift when we had both agreed not to get each other a gift. See, I am currently unemployed, so we aren’t earning a lot of money. We decided that the wise thing to do is to not splurge on each other for Christmas, but make it all about our two daughters instead. Karen works full-time and had a need for some clothes for work. She’d been talking about it for a while and I knew that it was important. So I took my own spending money to buy her a gift card so she could get what she needed.
That spending money was for me. I had planned to use it for something else that I have been wanting. But it didn’t upset me to give to my beloved something that was mine. That’s because I love her so much. I want her to have whatever she needs from me.
It’s the same with my God. I am desperately in love with Him. Even though I have loved many things before Him. Women! Money! Credit cards! Vehicles! Travel! The list of things that we covet goes on and on. But God has given me so much more than any Earthly thing or person has the power to to give. He has not only forgiven me for my past sins, but He has wiped the slate clean! He has promised me eternal life. He provides for me when I have no clue where provision is coming from. He sent his son, Jesus, to die on a cross to atone for my sins and my disgraceful attitude and thoughts and actions that I sometimes exhibit and have often displayed in the past. You can not place a value on that. It is worth everything.
How much more has He blessed me with, than the meager tithe that He tells me to give to my church. How much more should I want to give back to Him in the same way that I do my wife. I want to see His Kingdom stretch far and wide. I want His church to be funded. I want to offer my best to Him…. Because I love Him.
I want all of my fellow Christ followers to feel the same way. But I don’t want you to feel this way out of guilt. I want you to feel this way out of love.
If you don’t feel this way I want you to pray about it. I am praying for you. I am praying that the church leads by example. I am praying that your heart will overflow with such a strong and passionate love that you will desire to honor God with everything that you possess. I pray that you realize how very tiny a sacrifice it is to do this. I pray that God wraps you in His love and it overwhelms you as much as the new love of a woman or a man does when we first experience it. Then your heart will overflow with worship. Then you will find peace in your giving. Then it won’t be something that you should be doing, but something that you take pleasure in doing.
I can’t imagine telling my wife that I love her and I trust her… but not with everything. I can’t imagine her being okay with that. I honestly feel like that is the opposite of love. Why do we expect God to be okay with that? Shouldn’t we give to Him out of love.
Francis Chan, in his book Crazy Love says that
giving, without love, is worth nothing.
This is so true. God knows where He ranks on our lists of priorities. Right now, if He is not at the very top of your list, quickly talk to Him and tell Him that you’re struggling, and that you want to desire Him more. Tell Him what in your life is more important than Him. He understands. He can help. He desires a relationship with you. You’re not fooling Him, neither am I.
Have you ever felt that someone’s love for you was only lukewarm, even if they said that they truly loved you?
Is there any worse feeling than fully loving someone who is only half-in with you?