The Bible is clear about the importance of tithing, or giving back to God a portion of what He has given us. I remember going through different stages before I fully accepted the need to tithe, from thinking a few dollars a week was good enough, to wanting to give more, to wanting to show how much He meant to me, to trying it to see if I could afford it, and finally, to willingly and gladly giving, without question, knowing I can’t afford not to tithe. I no longer feel like I’m giving away my money to the church. I believe I am simply returning to God what was always His as a way to show my faithfulness.
Now that the commitment of tithing is deeply ingrained in my soul, God has thrown a new twist at me. It’s time to tithe on all my resources. All of them. My health. My family. My talents. My time. Especially my time. No, I don’t think God is up there with a stopwatch checking whether I give him 2.4 hours of each day. No, I don’t have to sacrifice my first-born son (although there are times I’d consider giving him away to the first taker). But I do have to remember this: It all belongs to Him. Every bit of it. Every thing of value I have came from Him. Every ounce of ability, every loving relationship, every moment of every day. So when God wants me to spend time with Him, I need to understand that I shouldn't be looking at my schedule and deciding when I can pencil Him in. I’m not picking how much time I can spare, or which part of my day I want to donate to Him. Instead, just as I do with money, I’m simply handing back to Him the part that was always His.
Same goes for every other aspect of my life. It’s not about determining exactly how much of any given thing is 10%, but it is about setting aside a portion for God. If I’m not using my talents for Him, they’re being wasted. If I’m not taking care of my body, I’m squandering the health He gave me. If I’m not using my money to further God’s kingdom, it has no lasting value. And if I’m not honoring or recognizing the Lord during my day/week/life, then it’s really not worth anything. Only when it is by Him and for Him and filled with Him does it — does anything — have value. I don’t get to decide what belongs to God. I only get to choose the attitude of my heart when I return it to Him.