In Adult Education we are using the course In Heaven’s Name, Why on Earth? It’s a course about discipleship and healthy relationships.
One of the issues we’ll be discussing is money. We’ll talk about “whose money is it?” We’ll also need to say something about tithing. I have real issues with tithing when it comes to money, even though my wife and I do tithe. A tithe is 10%–but 10% of what? Income–so is that before or after taxes?
To ask some people to tithe is to ask too much, in my opinion. No one should have to choose between enough food to eat, the medicine they need, and a tithe. By the same token, to ask some other people to tithe is to ask too little. Is it not possible, after all, to have or earn more than we need? And if everything we have is really God’s and we are God’s stewards, should we not think about how 100% of what we do with the money we “have” should be offered to the service of God and our neighbor, rather than “only” 10%?
Then today I thought, “what if we thought about tithing our time? What if we thought about how “our” time is also God’s gift, and asked ourselves how our Lord might prefer for us to use the time we have?” Surely there would be time for work and family and leisure and recreation. Each of those aspects of the life each of us lives is built into its very fabric according to Scripture.
Would we also then see the importance of committing some time to worship, prayer, meditation, and study? Or the importance of commitments and relationships with others for whom our Lord calls us to care?
To think about tithing time can raise some of the same issues tithing money raises. And for some of us time is as or more precious than money.
All the more reason, perhaps, to be intentional about how we steward, use, and spend such a great and gracious gift.