Archives for : April2017

Spring

QUIPS & QUOTES

Doug Larson says, “Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.”

Like it or Not, Spring Has (finally) Sprung…

And, depending on whom you ask, it’s a delightful time of crocuses and daffodils when “April has put a spirit of youth in everything,” (William Shakespeare, Sonnet XCVIII)

or “April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land. Mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain…” (T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land, pub. 1922).

In either case, April is a month that is memorable for a lot of different events, for better or worse:

Spanish explorer Ponce De Leon sighted Florida and claimed it for the Crown – April 2, 1513

Civil Rights activist Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis, TN, on

April 4, 1968

The Civil War effectively ended when General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant on April 9, 1865

President Abraham Lincoln was shot on April 14, 1865

The Titanic sank on April 15, 1912

Paul Revere took his famous midnight ride to warn the American rebels that the British were coming on April 18, 1775

George Washington was sworn in as the first U.S. President on April 30, 1789

~ SS

 

 

 

 

Tithing: Honoring Jesus with our Finances

Tithing: Honoring Jesus with our Finances

 

Jamie Griffin is a Middle School Teacher and Blogger who runs the site MrJamieGriffin.com. He and his wife are working hard to pay off their student loans and teach others how to Do Money Differently.

 

Last year I wrote a post about tithing, and it was by far one of the most popular posts on my blog. Plus, with Easter last weekend, it is a pretty fitting time to bring the topic back around. In the Bible, God asks all who follow Him to give back to him the first 10% of everything we have. That is the basic definition of a tithe. If this is a new idea for you, whether you actively follow Jesus or not, tithing can have a powerful impact on your finances. In this post, I want to share how tithing has blessed our financial journey through honoring Jesus, learning to be stewards of our resources, and practicing becoming more generous

 

Honoring Jesus

 

To honor someone is to hold them in high esteem and treat them with respect. The definition seems easy enough to understand, but I don’t feel like honor is a word that is used very often. I most commonly associate it with funerals, and doing the best we can to honor a loved one’s wishes in death. But I think we can apply this to living people we encounter everyday, and definitely to Jesus. Another common use refers to authority figures. You can honor a person in authority by doing what they ask of you. When I was a kid, I honored my parents by doing the dishes or taking out the garbage, not because I wanted to, but because they asked me to and they were the authority over my 8 year old self. We can apply the same principle to Jesus. In the Bible, Jesus asks us to tithe the first 10% of everything we produce. If you choose to say yes, you are being obedient and intentionally choosing to honor Him.

 

At first, you might not like the idea of giving away 10% of your income, and to be honest, neither did I. But the more you do it, the more it becomes about loving Jesus and falling under his authority, and less about trying to aggressively clutch onto every penny you get. I think love has an important connection to honor, and without love, the honor doesn’t mean much. Showing honor is an act of love, and that’s what tithing can become. Be intentional and choose to honor Jesus with your finances.

 

Being a Steward of Money

 

I mentioned that Jesus is an authority in our lives. The cool thing about Jesus is that he also gives every one of us authority. He commanded us to go out and make disciples, spread the Good News, and speak and act with His authority. How cool is that! He gives us authority over our families, our neighborhoods, and the world around us and gives us the charge of taking care of it. Whether you know it or not, you are a steward to the world around you and everything in it. Well, one aspect of this world is money, and that is also a gift from Him. It is our responsibility to be good stewards with our money, and a great way to do that is to tithe. Tithing acknowledges that our money came from Jesus, and we are giving back to Him what is His.

 

Tithing Leads to Generosity

 

Tithing is a wonderful act of giving, and I believe that giving teaches us to be generous. There is so much we can give. We can give our time, our energy, our ideas and intellect, our food, our hospitality, and an abundance of resources (including money)! I’ve said before that budgeting and being intentional with money takes practice, and I believe the same goes for tithing. Each month you get the opportunity to practice giving your money back to Jesus! But like any new skill or act, the more you do it, the better you get at it and the easier it becomes.

 

Tithing has led us to becoming more generous with our money. Since my wife and I started dating, we made tithing a non-negotiable and haven’t missed a month in four years. Through our giving, we have become more generous people, and have found ways to give more of our money than just 10%. In the past year, we started giving away $50 each month in practical ways, in addition to our tithe. It might be a check in the mail, donating to a charity, or buying a gift for a family. Each month is unique and we treat it that way, finding a new way for our giving to be a blessing to others. Our goal is to increase this amount each year and eventually give away 50% of our income each month! It might sound crazy, but tithing has taught us to be generous with our money, and content with our lifestyle. I look forward to the challenges of growing in our giving as the years go by.

 

How to Get Started

 

At first, it might feel weird, or counterintuitive. Like how am I supposed to save money and get out of debt if I am giving money away!? Trust me, I have thought the same thing before! Right now we are sitting at about $9,000 left on our student loan debt! We are so close! Last year we tithed nearly that amount, so it is really easy to think, “if we only used that money to pay our debt, we would be debt free by now!” But I truly believe that we wouldn’t be. Jesus has blessed our socks and shoes off (in that order), and it is because we are good stewards of his money, are obedient, and honor him through tithing. For Jesus, 1 + 1 doesn’t always equal 2; it equals whatever he wants it to be! Trust him and let him be your financial planner.

 

If you feel Jesus tugging on your sleeve to start tithing (or just want to explore it more), I have some practical tips to help you get started.

 

Step 1: What is 10%

 

Figure out what 10% of your income is. This seems like a no brainer, but sometimes you have to start with the basics. Find out how much 10% of your monthly income is and see if you can pay all of your expenses without it. It might mean reconfiguring certain parts of your budget, but see how you can make it happen.

 

Step 2: Tithe Right Away

 

If you are worried about having enough money at the end of the month, don’t wait until then to tithe. It is a lot easier to tithe the first 10% of your paychecks than the last 10%. If you wait until the end of the month, you run the risk of spending extra money going out to eat, seeing movies, or a whole lot of other fun things. If you tithe right away, it is over and done with! It might mean adjusting the entertainment budget, or a few more home cooked meals, but it can definitely be done!

 

Step 3: Be Consistent

 

Once you start tithing, don’t skip a month. It is like building a muscle, your tithing muscle. The more you work it out, the easier the workout becomes. Make a decision to be consistent and tithe every single month.

 

Wrapping It Up

 

Tithing has been an unbelievable blessing to my family! It has taught us to really trust Jesus and become more generous people. By giving Jesus the first 10% of your paycheck, you are choosing to honor Him and be a good steward with what he has given you. Tithing will also help you become a more generous person, not only with your money, but also with your time and energy. It is another way to say Yes to Jesus!

 

Final Questions

 

Why do you tithe? How has tithing changed your finances?

He is Risen

He is Risen, Alleluia! Hallelujah!

On this Easter week, Christians around the world will rejoice together,

He is Risen! He is Risen!

Our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, through the sacrifice of His own death and resurrection, has raised all believers to new life. This rebirth is Good News that is for every believer in Christ, both here on earth now, and forever on into eternity.  Christ’s redemption has freed us from our sins, “all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3: 23) To be redeemed then, is to be forgiven, made holy, justified, free, adopted, and reconciled.

Christ made us in his image, which makes our hearts yearn with an inner longing, ever seeking this living, giving Source as our nourishment. The deep longings we have are springboards from which we grow into more and more intimacy with God, reviving, redeeming, and resurrecting our hearts, all the while awakening us to the wonder of God’s great provision. We cannot help but lift our hands and hearts in praise and shout together: Alleluia! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord with all our being for He alone is worthy to be praised.

 

Amen!

 

A Photo For April

April marks the turning point in Alaska.  The long, dark days start to turn bright, the snow begins to melt, and it’s got me looking forward to summertime hiking.  This photo was taken last year from the top of Harp Mountain, a 5,000 ft peak near Eagle River, AK.  It’s a steep climb with no switchbacks, but the views from the top are clearly rewarding!  My wife and I call it date night!