Top Ten Percent
I was asked to write about my favorite tithing story…no problem, it is fresh in my memory. When I sat down to write this recollection, however, I felt like some explanation of a tithe needed to come first. A simple definition: ten percent of your income earmarked for the church. More than that, though, it is a test of our obedience and faith, as well as an opportunity to join in the work God is doing and being blessed by what can happen when we allow our little droplet of money to jump into the pool of resources destined for bigger impact.
A general memory of tithing dates back to childhood, hearing and seeing my parents (both of them worked) getting their tithe together, writing a check and sticking it in the envelope for the offering plate. No grumbling, no worries, it was a given.
Before my husband was “saved” (another story for another time) our church attendance was sporadic and I’m pretty sure George would not have known or cared about the “ten percent” thing. We were definitely living paycheck to paycheck, and easily blowing ten percent on non-essential junk.
After 2002, however, lots of things changed around here. The man who previously wouldn’t care to read any book dove head first into the Holy Bible and …Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. This combination of reference materials meant tithing was now a part of our family’s existence. It wasn’t an optional, casual thing. It was very important to him to tithe because his newly found faith in Christ was changing things for the better, and God seemed to be pouring out the grace.
Here’s the story part: We planned a trip to Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park one weekend. We rented a cabin for 2 nights which meant we wouldn’t be at church to drop off our tithe. George realized this when we were in Henderson gassing up the vehicle, so he insisted that we put the tithe check in the mail before we go any further. Of course, I reasoned that we could just write a check for 2 weeks next time and call it a day. He said that wouldn’t represent first fruits if we spent money on lots of other things, and even received money again before giving to the church. He said that God would know his heart on the matter and to just mail it regardless of all the logistics like when the church would get it, when they would cash it, etc. So, I mailed it...there was a big mailbox nearby.
Our cabin at the park was one of several others that were occupied by an apparent family reunion…we were the only ones on this particular stretch that “didn’t belong.” Slightly awkward, but we just went about our fun on the paddleboats, at the pool, walking around the lake. The second day we were there, a water pipe to all of our cabins broke, and we were without water. That was unfortunate, but they said they were working on it and it didn’t bother us as we were going to Eddyville to play at Venture River Water Park that day anyway. We ate a wonderful supper at the lodge and returned to find that we still didn’t have water, so we took a chlorine bath at the Lodge Pool. That evening…if I have my timeline correct, they managed to get the water going again, but only to our cabin, debris was clogging the line to all the others. The reunion group was very unhappy and said they were leaving, but before they left, they gave us quite a bit of their food, since many wouldn’t be there to cook it or eat it. People from that group kept bringing us food they didn’t want to have to take with them, one person after another brought sweet corn, bread, juice, eggs, cheese, ice cream all kinds of stuff. It was actually much more than our family could eat. This reminded George of the verse in Malachi where he says something like…see if I will not throw open the floodgates and pour out so much blessing that there will not be enough room for it. What a blessing indeed! When we went to check out, the desk clerk apologized for our inconvenience and gave us a percentage off discount, which was another blessing.
We call this our tithe story because everything was just so obvious that it couldn’t be mistaken for anything other than a lesson from God.