I heard a report on Christian radio recently that stated while 2/3 of Christians believe that tithing is a "biblical mandate," churches report that only 5-10% of their members do it. I can't decide if that means that the remaining vast majority — those that believe in the "biblical mandate" but don't tithe — are okay with not following the mandate, or just don't comprehend that their beliefs should be reflected in their actions.

While my family participates in tithing our income, I don't particularly care for the word itself. It's just a matter of semantics; but in my mind, today's society has transformed the word "tithing” to mean you are going to separate out what you feel is required to give to God — and that's all.

Tithing, to me, calls to mind a small pile in the corner of what to give to God. "Here, let me section this out, Lord. This little bitty percentage? No, under the mortgage, less than the food budget, less than either car payment — yes, that 5th line is yours. Not bad, huh? Well, now that I've done my part I can check that off until next month.”

Please stop reading for a moment and list all of the things that you have handled better than the Lord — any situation, relationship, or decision that you did better without the Lord's help. Go ahead, I'll wait. I'll be humming the theme song to Jeopardy while you think on that ...

So, how is the list going? Mine is fairly short. Actually, mine is non-existent. The Lord has been faithful and shown me again and again that His way is ALWAYS better. I want to give the Lord complete reign over my life and in every aspect of it. My tithe to the Lord — and I don't just mean my financial tithe — is my reminder that all of my life is given to Him to control.

My family absolutely believes in giving to the Lord's work, but I pray we never stop at just 10 percent. The other 90 percent also came from the Lord. While it may not go to a non-profit institution or be given to church work, it will be used for the Lord's work.

My home is to be used to house and raise the Lord's children he so graciously has "loaned" to me for a time. My house will also be used to welcome His children — believers and non-believers alike — to nourish and care for them.

My vehicle is a blessing from the Lord to be used to take me, and anyone else that will fit into it, to do what the Lord has placed on my heart. I pray that all of the resources the Lord has given me that I will, in turn, hand back to Him and say, "What would you have me do with this?”

I want to do more than just "tithe”!
I want to do more than just "tithe” my time to God. When I rise early in the morning to soak in God's Word and pour out praises and petitions to Him, I don't conclude my time with Him by saying, "Whew! Glad that's all I have to give Him today!” No, I start there to fill my heart with His word, but strive to "pray without ceasing” as I walk with Him throughout my day. Sometimes He has to break into a jog to keep up, but He's always there!

Please don't hear me saying not to tithe! What I'm trying to say is that a tithe should just be the beginning of giving God all that you have. Your tithe is not only obedience to God, but a symbol to yourself that you will also give the Lord the rest of your time, money, talents, and gifts.

Jesus said, "If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving — large or small — it will be used to measure what is given back to you." (Luke 6:38)

Do you really want the Lord counting pennies when he gives back to you?