By Amanda Lynch
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I walked upstairs the other day to ask my girls to put away their toys and get dressed. Their resopnse was predictable, “We're having fun. We were getting along. Why do we have to put CLOTHES ON?” After I explained that we were going to the museum to spend the day with my cousin's kids, I had three fully clothed girls and we were out the door in 15 minutes.
Until they saw the full picture, they couldn't follow my direction without arguing. There was no “what Mom says goes.” They had to kick and scream. But, as soon as they found out what was in it for them they submitted and were like putty in my hands.
I do the same thing with God. I go to church, hear a message and feel that all to familiar and not too comfortable twinge that says, “Listen up, they're talking to you.” Then I go home and make up any excuse to NOT do what I heard in the message. This went on for years with tithing. I would hear about the importance of giving God our “first fruits” I'd hear about the blessings involved in tithing, and I'd think, “Well, I tithe my time,” or “Certainly God wants me to provide for my family. It's not like we live in the lap of luxury or anything.” I'd kick and scream in my heart as I put a token offering in the plate. Until recently.
Last year, Chris and I decided to give this tithing thing a try. After many discussions about how to go about it, we decided to just go cold turkey and start with a full 10% tithe. I have to admit I was terrified. However, I am so pleased with the results. God used this opportunity to help me become a better steward of my finances.
Now I think twice about every penny I spend because I know we're already starting the month with less in the bank. I've stopped drinking pop (a healthy choice); I've started bringing a lunch instead of using the drive-through; but more than anything, I have so much more peace about money than I have ever had before.
I have spent much of my life anxious about money. Most people worry about finances, money TERRIFIED me. But now, I feel like I'm part of a financial team with God as CEO. The stress has decreased significantly. I'm not saying I don't think about money. I do, I just think about it differently.
If I could have seen the end result God had in store for me with tithing, I think I would have done it sooner. But God wanted more than my money, he wanted my faith. He didn't want me to tithe so that I could find peace, he wanted me to tithe so that I would trust him with my money as well as my heart.
Submission is a hard thing, especially when you don't know the end goal. Like children not wanting to transition from playing to leaving the house, we get comfortable where we are and ignore God's direction for our lives. Finances are just an example from my life but there are other areas where submission is difficult such as relationships, time, work opportunities or thoughts. But if we submit to God wherever we are holding back, he will bless us. Remember, usually God is not asking you to submit to him so he can get something but because he knows what lies ahead is so much greater than where we are right now.
My girls could have continued to play with their ponies, but they would have missed the butterflies at the museum. Sometimes we have to give up something good to discover something great.
You have plans for us. You've told us that you have plans to prosper us, to give us a hope and a future. Lord, help us to make those plans happen by listening to you. Help us to follow your directions with as little kicking and screaming as possible. Help us to follow you so that we can see the wisdom in your direction. Grant us obedience, Lord. Amen.
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