Why I Give
Giving and tithing were values instilled in me from a very early age. My parents were generous people with both their time and money, and I was always taught that Christians are supposed to give 10% of their income. Even though I didn't know why I was supposed to tithe, I did it because that was what Christians did with their money. So, if I got a $5 allowance, I tithed fifty cents. If I earned $10 from mowing the neighbor's lawn, I tithed $1. This practice carried into high school when I tithed off the money I made at my part-time job. Pair that with the example of generosity set by my parents and it's easy to see that the spiritual aspect of finances was prevalent in my life from as far back as I can remember.
Growing up in church, one story that consistently stuck out to me is found in Luke 21:1-4. In these verses, Jesus notices that the rich are putting their gifts in the temple treasury but becomes overjoyed when he witnesses a poor widow giving two coins. He exclaims that the widow has given far more because she gave all she had while the rich gave from their wealth. I loved this story because I felt I could relate to it. Though I wasn't a poor widow, I identified with someone giving what little they had to honor the Lord. I learned that if Jesus valued the widow's two coins, he valued what I gave as well!
As my understanding of the Lord grew over time, I learned that God doesn't care about the dollar amount that shows up on my end-of-year giving statement. He simply cares about my heart. By giving Him the first-fruits of my income, I am showing the Lord that I understand the money was never mine to begin with. I'm not giving to the Lord what belongs to me. Rather, I'm giving BACK to Him what He's entrusted me with. By seeking ways to bless others financially, I'm showing Him that I want to advance His Kingdom with the money He's given me, as opposed to holding onto it and building my personal Kingdom. Money is a huge resource that God uses to spread the Gospel, and I want Him to know He can trust me with it!
The practices of tithing and giving have also allowed me to feel an overwhelming sense of the Lord's provision. Somehow, in a way that only God can show, the more generous our hearts are when giving to Him and others, the more obvious He is in our finances. If you don't believe me, I challenge you to try it. Give the first 10% of your income to your local church. Marathon uses PushPay which makes giving easier than it's ever been! It takes less than one minute which makes the process incredibly convenient. From there, buy someone's lunch or give your waiter an extra-large tip. Watch what happens to your faith when you choose to release to the Lord something that many of us cling to so dearly.