How often is 10% a good thing? Like, if a person makes 10% of his shots, I can guarantee you that he wouldn’t be the first person I pick for my team (unless he’s like a close relative or something and I feel bad for him). What about the weatherman? I mean, people complain that they keep their jobs by being correct 70% of the time…how would feel if it was only 10%? Or what if you got a 10% on your exam? Let me tell you from experience, it truly is not something you boast about. I’ve heard many people (and been a part of many conversations) questioning the praise for celebrities and athletes who give thousands of dollars to charities when they are making over a hundred million. When you put it in perspective, it really isn’t that much for them to lose.
In most things, I’d be very disappointed in 10%. I be disappointed in receiving 10% of something from someone, or giving something that’s 10%. Except when it comes to the Lord. There, 10% seems like a huge deal.
Take tithing, for instance. For me, its so tough to do, especially because I don’t have a steady income. But even when I do get a paycheck, I always look at what the state took out, what was taken out for social security, and what I have left. Then I think of all the expenses that I have, and I call myself broke (which I am). I told myself things would change once I get myself a steady job with consistent pay and such. I’ve been itemizing my spending over the past 2 years, so I’ve got a good glimpse as to where all my money is going, and what is necessity or priority for me and things like that. And I told myself that when I get that steady pay, I would immediately set aside that 10% off the gross as my tithe. And I got pretty proud of myself.
But when I think about it more closely, why am I priding myself in 10%? That is the bare minimum. It’s supposed to be my offering to God, being thankful for his provision over me, and also to support the church where He’s grown me. And basically, I’m telling God, “Thank you so much for everything. My entire paycheck is because you’ve given me gifts, talents and abilities to work. And thanks for the church where you had fed me spiritually and allowed me to come away with so much everytime. Because you gave me everything, and you are 100% the reason for anything I have to claim my own, I’m going to give you…ummmm…10% of it.” If I truly and thankful, wouldn’t I desire to give more? If I truly trusted that God does provide, wouldn’t it be easy for me to settle on less than 90%?
The thing is, its clear that God isn’t looking at the total amount.
Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.”
I’ve heard that when the people put their money in the temple treasury, they weren’t dropping bills or anything like that. They had massive amounts of coins, and when they would put it in, it would make loud clanging noises as it bounced around inside. And here this lady put 2 copper coins…they probably didn’t even make a sound. And I can picture all the people at the temple, going off of what they hear. They hear the clanging of all the change and thing “Wow, that person is giving a lot. Look at them.” And they hear the little ting of the copper coins and they laugh, thinking “What good is that going to do that church?” But Jesus saw it completely different. He wasn’t simply basing it off of what He heard. He didn’t simply listen, but He watched. And he knew about what they had to offer, and what they did offer. I have no doubt in my mind that the rich people were giving their 10%. But that widow gave 100%. Why? Because she truly believed that God is greater, and she can do nothing on her own. Being a widow, she probably doesn’t get too much money regularly, and quite possibly has children to feed. But trusting in God’s provision, she gave it to Him. That’s the trust I want to have.
Even outside of tithing, its just a picture of surrender. Are we willing to give God all we have a trust in a greater return? I know this is one of my biggest struggles. I claim that God is in control, but I keep holding on to so much because I think if I let it go, then I’ll never be able to get what I need. I get so fearful to lose what I already have, even though I have a greater treasure promised to me in the future. And there are so many areas of my life I feel like I have to surrender, and then I get really proud of myself when I surrender like 10%. I’ll tell God, “Here! I’m surrendering my education to You completely, and I will trust that You will lead me where You want me to go.” And I get so happy about it, while on the side I hoard onto relationships I have with people. And I can see God staring at me and saying, “Good, you gave that up. But I see so much more. Just trust me.”
I have a problem of giving 10% too often. In my service to others, in my attempts at leadership, I give the bare minimum. Whatever I can do that’ll get the job done and get people to notice that I’m doing something, that’s what I’ll do. It takes too much work to give more. But that is what God is asking of me. He wants me to trust Him that if I give my all, He won’t let me down. If I push myself to take the time to chase people who are distant, God will honor it. If I make myself available to use my talents in any and every way to glorify God, He will use it. If I sacrifice my tempory joys to press hard educationally, God will provide in the end. It’s a tough call to answer. But I know God is good. I want to stop making noise simply for the world to see. I want to live the truth that God is wanting to see.