Sunday, January 15, 2012

Responding to A Call

What an amazing weekend!

And it's not even over yet! I have the day off work tomorrow for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, but that will probably be primarily spent cleaning house. My apartment is so messy right now, I can't stand it. But then again, for some reason, the only area of my life that my OCD perfectionist tendencies do not extend to is housework. Strange... ;)

Anyways, yesterday was a pretty uneventful lazy Saturday. Though I did have an amazing dinner with the hubs-to-be. Today was almost equally uneventful, but starting the day off with a powerful worship service always sets everything in a different perspective.

Something that's been on my heart recently is my tithing. As silly as this may sound, tithing is one of the biggest struggles I face in my faith walk. I tend to budget down to the last penny, and when I'm planning a wedding, and wanting to buy a house in the next year, and have bills to pay, pulling out that ten percent is always so hard for me. Shamefully, I always seem to find some excuse.

I talked about this with Anthony today, and he's been feeling the same. So, we are committed to making this a powerful year for us. We are really trying to respond to the call, and are making every effort to go above and beyond what the Lord is asking of us. Part of my plan in kicking this off  is to cross off one thing that's on my 27 before 27 list.

Write a $1000 check to the church.

Now, $1,000 is not 10% of what I have in my bank account at any given time. It's certainly much more than that, in fact. But for some reason, I feel the need to do this. So, sometime within this year, I will accumulate that amount and will give it.

I have to admit, I am very hesitant to post this, because a verse that has always stood out to me from the Bible is in Matthew 6: 1-4.

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,  so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

I think we see a lot of this in today's society. Good deeds done for individual reward and glory, and I am cautious to step into that realm. My purpose in sharing this giving goal with you, is not to say look at me and what I am trying to do, but rather to highlight a struggle that has been placed on my heart, as I'm sure that I can't be the only person to face it.

Beyond that, Jesus also called us in Matthew 28:19-20 to "go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Wherein lies my biggest struggle, something I have faced my whole life as a Christian. Balancing living a holy life without drawing attention to myself, but still drawing attention to Jesus. Leading someone to the word with my testimony, without making myself the example. Jesus is the only example.

I am imperfect, and therefore any individual attempt to lead people to righteousness will always fail. But directing someone's gaze upward, to the source of salvation, assuming they have an open heart to receive it, will allow God to show them his perfect ways.

God has been faithful to me in my life and I am trying my best to respond. I have faith that through his words, I will reach whomever I need to. I have faith that his call is to serve a greater purpose. I have faith that he will use his church to do far more with my money than I can. And I have faith that these words are not for me, but for him.

Have you ever felt that struggle in your own life?

1 comment:

  1. Tithing is indeed a step of faith. I learned this many years ago and God has always provided my needs and more. And yes, I have failed to give for brief periods once in a while and found that not giving did not make me any richer. :-) But the Lord does also expect us to use the good sense he gave us. When we first start to tithe we may find that we have already made obligations to other people (debts, bills, etc.). I'm glad to hear that you already have a budget. Now you are probably reworking the budget to include your giving, and you want to make it a top priority. You may find you have to postpone some goals to do this. Sometimes we may find that our income does not cover everything we have committed to do. God does not want us to forfeit our obligations. Sometimes people find that even after carefully working over their spending plan they are not able to give ten percent right away. If that is the case we can pray about it and ask the Lord to give us the grace to regularly give a smaller percent from every paycheck and then help us gradually increase the we get our finances under better control. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences so openly. I'm proud of you,