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Catalyst 2.0 Prayer Guide : The Habit of Tithing by Greg Duncan


The Habit of Tithing

by Greg Duncan    

 Mark 12:17:  Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him.    

When I first started mowing lawns and walking home with crisp bills in my hands, my parents unabashedly explained the tithing concept to me – and promptly made change for my earnings so that I would have the right amount of dollar bills to put in the offering plate. Not optional. It certainly wasn’t a foreign concept. I knew that my parents gave to the church every month. It was fun to be a copy-cat giver.   

When I graduated to an actual job with an actual uniform (brown, pink & orange striped shirt complemented by brown baseball cap) at the local Baskin Robbins, I got my first actual paper paycheck! Having calculated the hours I worked times $2.10, I was shocked that my check was less than what I had earned. What’s a deduction? And who’s this FICA guy and why does he get some? I explained to my parents that I could no longer give 10% to the church now that I was only getting partially paid. Wrong. As a dishwasher, a pizza driver, a recreation assistant, a clothing salesman, a paralegal wannabe, the checks gradually got larger, but so did the deductions, and so did the things I “needed” the money for.  But I was in the habit of tithing, I knew it was right, and I simply did it.   

Fast forward to marriage, mortgage, children, medical expenses, and all sorts of grown-up things that compound financial pressure. As our incomes have risen (and fallen) and as our financial security has strengthened (and faltered) our commitment to a 10% tithe has remained steady. Sometimes it’s tough to write that check. Sometimes “joyful giver” is a real misnomer.   

But looking back over more than 30 years of consistent tithing I’m grateful for parents who instilled a value and cultivated a habit. I’m grateful for a wife who shares the belief and reinforces the commitment. I’m grateful for the ability and opportunity to continue to give to my God and my church through the Catalyst programs. With time and space it would be easy to enumerate all the reasons why, but suffice it to say, I can’t imagine not!   

 Are you a habitual tither? What steps, with God’s help, could you take to develop the habit of tithing?

Posted by Terri Soper at 12:00 AM
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