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We have a relationship with the most generous being in the universe.  We can chose to receive from God's generosity or we can choose to become more like the one from whom we receive everything. Tithing is only a start on that journey. 


Weekly Reflection: Pastor Dana Reardon
February 28, 2005

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With tithing, you reap more than you sow

 

Several times already I have shared my story of how I became a tither-- God cut my income in half.  And while I tell that jokingly as a warning, that's not how most people become tithers.
 
My friend tells her story of marrying a man she dearly loved in part because of his generosity.  Then they sat down to merge their finances.  He began by saying that the first 10 percent goes to the church.  She said, "You have got to be kidding.  You have kids to support. We will shortly have a mortgage to pay, there is no way we can afford to give 10 percent to the church."  His answer was that it was biblical and he believed it was right and that it was doable if you gave it first and then figured out how to pay what else you had to pay with the rest.
 
Like a good married couple, they compromised on about 6 percent but with the intent to increase until they at least reached a tithe.  I say at least, because most tithers I know begin with tithing as a goal, but eventually it becomes a starting place.
 
My friend tells this story now because she has discovered what many of us have discovered -- that tithing is a blessing.  She speaks about this gift to anyone who will listen, not to take from you but to share a precious gift.  She knows that even if she tells you about the blessings of tithing, you may not want to or may not be able to start it today.  This is especially true if you already have monetary commitments that were made before you decided to move toward tithing.  You can do it gradually over several years if need be. 
 
What I want to point out in all of this is that my friend married her husband because he was so incredibly generous.  She liked being the recipient of his generosity.  There are two ways to be in relationship with a husband like that.  You can be spoiled and selfish and he can give to you.  Or you can choose to become more like him and become more generous.  And then the blessings increase at least 10 fold.
 
Okay, so not all of us married a tither.  But we do have a relationship with the most generous being in the universe.  We can chose to receive from God's generosity or we can choose to become more like the one from whom we receive everything.
 
Tithing is only a start on that journey.  God has not given us 10 percent.  God has given us Himself in the flesh, on a cross, and rising from the tomb.  God has given us life and new life.  May this new life be for you an abundant and generous one.
 

 

 

 Copyright (c) 2005, The Rev. Dana Reardon. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Email her at mspastor@aol.com.
 

The Rev. Dana Reardon is pastor at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, Warwick, RI.  A lifelong Lutheran, she came to ordained ministry after 21 years in nursing, mostly in pediatric intensive care.  She graduated from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia in 1998 and served 4 years in Upstate New York before becoming a New Englander.  She is still trying to understand the accent.  While in the Upstate New York Synod she chaired the Stewardship Team.  That began her fascination with what makes stewards -- and more, what makes for generosity. She has three amazing daughters: Pastor Reardon says much of what she knows of life she learned from them.