When I first met Mike he was a 17 year old new Christian. He had committed his life to Christ about a year before and immediately started tithing 10% of what he earned from working in the oil fields and at Big Cheese Pizza.
I never had to work. My dad funded my existence and enjoyment, so when I worked at his office in the summer of 1984 I decided to follow Mike’s lead and tithe what I made.
I was never without. Mike was. He knew what it felt like to eat nothing but Mac n cheese and peanut butter everyday, and he had five Adidas t-shirts in different colors that he just MIGHT have borrowed long-term from a Towne East store in 1976.
When he first started tithing, his stepdad asked him why he was giving his money away. Mike said, “It’s not mine to begin with, it’s God’s. I’m giving what the Bible says I should give.” His stepdad was mystified. “Do you know how much 10% of what I make is? It’s a ridiculous amount to give!” Mike boldly said, “10% is 10% no matter who you are or what you make. It’s enough to feel no matter what your paycheck is. That’s the point.”
This tithing mindset goes hand in hand with generosity. My dad actually gave 50% of what he made for decades. Some to the church, some to organizations, some to friends and family. He always had enough to share.
As stated in previous posts, we’ve recently had to cut way back on our spending. Eating out is now a luxury for special occasions only, and any remodeling of our 20 year old house is currently out of the question. However, we recently decided to take some of our savings and help someone we dearly love. Today, within a month of helping our loved ones, we received a random check from another dear friend in the exact amount we gave.
That’s the way giving works. A generous heart ends up receiving equally generous amounts in return. I can’t explain it, it just consistently happens and I am so grateful! All of our lives we’ve experienced this beautiful phenomenon and I just had to write about it! We need each other! God stirs our hearts and when we act on it we make a significant difference in each other’s lives.
“So when you give, don’t let anyone know what you are doing. Your giving should be done in secret. Your Father can see what is done in secret, and he will reward you.”
Matthew 6:3-4 NCV