As I have been trying to comprehend everything that our team experienced in Kenya, I have continued to be overwhelmed. My mind races with new ideas for the people we met and with concepts that we have learned and talked about during our discussion times. One thing that has left a big impression on my heart is the concept of tithing.
I have been blessed to be raised in a family that believes strongly in tithing and giving in general. My mom is one of the most generous people I know, not only with the resources she has been given but with her time in various ways. Tithing is automatic for me for many reasons, but one being that I have seen the ways in which the Lord has blessed my family and me personally financially.
As we sat in the AIC church in Kijabe I witnessed the majority, if not all, of the schoolgirls and people in attendance put something in the offering plate. These young girls whose parents may be struggling to find enough money for school fees and their daily bread are giving up some of what they have to the Lord. They gave freely and cheerfully like the Lord leads us to do, living with open hands—ones that are not clenched around money, material things or just this world in general. What an example to live by!
During our table talk one night, Dr. Case brought up some statistics about tithing. “If every American Christian that goes to church regularly tithed, the American church would have an extra $46 billion.” My mind cannot wrap around the thought of that much money let alone what that amount could do for the “least of these” in this world. Just for example, this money could: fund 1,000,000 new clean water projects, finance 10,000 HIV prevention programs, sponsor 20,000,000 needy children, double the budget of World Vision, provide food, clothing and water to every single one of the existing 6.5 million refugees in the world and provide glasses, limb braces and prosthetics to 1 million people. And that is just scratching the surface.
Are we starting to understand how important tithing is yet?
In 2 Corinthians 9 Paul talks about the generous giver and alludes to the parable of sowing and reaping. The part of this chapter that is in new vision for me is the final four verses which say, “This service [tithing and giving] that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
We give because we are THANKFUL to God for all of the many things He has blessed us with. Why would I hold on so tightly to “my money” when it is the Lord who has blessed me with it in the first place? Tithing not only changes our own mindset but it helps others be obedient to the generosity the Lord calls us to. Tithing is an indescribable GIFT. What will you do with the resources God has given/gifted you with?