thoughts on Tithing.

Before I got married I thought that you had to give 10% of your income to your local parish, no questions asked. It wasn't until Anthony and I started talking more about tithing that I realized that your tithe doesn't actually have to go completely to the parish. Don't get me wrong, the parish is good. Parishes need your support, and desperately. Trust me, I spent six years working in five very different parishes across the Denver metro area and I know how much parishes need your support, but that's another blog for another time. Realizing that our tithe isn't completely spoken for was and is exciting. God gifts us with this thing called money and allows us to use it how we wish. Do we have to tithe? No. Do you have to breathe? Well, no, but it is a good idea if you want to continue living. Is tithing as vital to life as breathing? I'd argue that in many ways it is. Tithing has shown me God's generosity in profound ways. We give and He gives back in spades. It sounds cliché but it is so true, God literally cannot be outdone in generosity. Just as God gifts us with money, we can gift others with our generosity, with our tithe. Where are your passions? Is your heart set on fire for women's ministry? Youth ministry? The pro-life movement? College ministry? Does a portion of your tithe go to supporting that which sets your heart on fire? If yes, good! If not, why not? Is God calling you to give in a way that matches your passions? For us, it has been an incredible opportunity to share our hearts with each other. I can get to know Anthony's passions and his priorities for a portion of what we tithe and vice verse. God has blessed us richly {not that we are rolling in the 'dough' over here!} and in turn calls us to share with others. I love, love, love being able to prayerfully consider where God is calling us to give. Yes, He calls us to give to the parish, but which parish? A specific ministry within the parish? A religious order? Something else entirely? There are so many conversations we forget to have with God, conversations we overlook or neglect and tithing is often one of them. Where is the Lord calling you to give? What an incredible opportunity that the Lord gives us in not only blessing us with money but encouraging us to give it away and watch it grow even more! As missionaries who live entirely on the support and generosity of others (which, believe you me was downright terrifying at first!), I've seen in so many different ways how generous the Lord is. He is generous with us and the people who support our mission. He calls us to give and it is humbling to see how He takes what we give and multiplies it. It is a beautiful, life-giving cycle that draws us to deeper communion with Him and greater reliance on His generosity. People support us and in turn we get to be generous with college students, building relationships with them and inviting them to know the Lord more. Then they go out and are generous with other people and share the gospel to the ends of the earth. The ripples are endless. Maybe you haven't thought about it. Maybe you are in the same mindset I was in for so long, the idea that your tithe is spoken for and you just have to give at the parish you go to, end of story. But have you asked God about it? He wants you to give just as He's given to you, but where is He calling you to give? Is tithing a necessary, boring thing for you, or is it an exciting opportunity to use what God has given you to grow the Kingdom in some way? Is it - gasp - a way for your passions and God's generosity with you to meet, grow, and change the world? Go! Pray! Then give!
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