Tithing provides a flow of generosity
I saw a movie
recently about the first heart surgery on a “blue baby” – one who is not
getting enough oxygen. The baby was born with multiple defects of the
heart called Tetra logy of Fallot. With this, the biggest
problem is a constriction of the artery that feeds blood to the lungs.
The surgery did not correct the constriction; rather it shunted blood
from another artery to increase the flow of blood to the lungs.
When the procedure
was done the baby began to turn pink. It was remarkable to see -- even
in a movie. In my years in pediatric nursing I have seen babies go from
blue to pink. Without the surgery these babies are stunted and do not
grow right. And eventually they die. The surgery offered new growth
and new life.
I wrote last week
about a woman who had learned about tithing. I think this baby and this
surgery serve as a good metaphor for the transformation that takes place
when a person really learns to give.
It is a constriction
of the vessels leading from the heart that makes it hard for us to
give. Sometimes it takes a shunt to bypass the constriction and enable
what we have been given to flow more freely from our hearts.
Tithing is not a
miracle cure. We do not suddenly have whole hearts like God's when we
learn to tithe. But when God performs this shunt and allows a free flow
from our heart then our whole being pinks up and the possibilities for
new life and growth abound.
People often ask me
why 10 percent? It can be said to be biblical, but I have heard
arguments for as much as thirty percent to be biblical. I think 10
percent because it is sufficient flow to bypass the constriction and
generate enough flow to breathe new life into one that is stunted.
In my years in
nursing I saw babies go from blue to pink and knew that the beginning of
new life was present. In my years as a pastor I have seen people begin
to tithe. I have seen incredible changes in their lives as they grow
and become the whole generous people that God created them to be.
I knew that new life was beginning there too.
Lord, We pray that
all of our hearts may be opened and your blessings flow freely through
them and from them as abundantly as they have come from you. Amen
2004, The Rev. Dana Reardon. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Email her at
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.
has three amazing daughters: Pastor Reardon says much of what she knows of
life she learned from them.