Friday, March 9, 2012

Flowers Fade Friday: A True Tithe

I've recently been on a little kick with writing about giving and tithing {read the posts here and here}. Both times I've written about generosity, I've received the sweetest comments from my sweet friend, Ruthie, who shared that ever since she and her husband got serious about tithing they have been so encouraged and blessed in their obedience. I asked her to share what God has taught her about giving over the past year, and I hope you are as blessed by her story as I am!

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Hello friends! I am honored to be taking over Jen’s blog today. I was so happy to get to know Jen through blog land and am constantly inspired by her acts of faith, journeys furthering her education, and let's face it... the fun she has with her hubby!

So who am I?

I am Ruthie Hart and I blog over here.

I am a Christian wife, puppy mommy, marketer by day, and blogger/crafter/dreamer by night. We live in the greatest city in the US of A...Austin, TX! {This is Jen... ye-ah for Tejas!}

Jen asked me to write about our faith and my husband's and my commitment to giving. She and I emailed back and forth a few times after I read this post she wrote about the topic of giving. 

A couple of months ago, the pastor at our church gave a talk about tithing and how God provides wonderful things if you serve Him. The Lord freely gives us forgiveness, compassion, and adopts us as His own before ever asking for anything in return. Jon and I were brought to tears when we realized we haven't been doing enough. God has blessed us not only spiritually, but financially and we have been selfish with our money. We had talked about starting to tithe but never have. We had donated to hurricane victims and dropped some money in the offering bucket on occasion but never had we given our first 10% to the Lord.

Our pastor did a great job of explaining the difference between tithing and giving. Tithing is actually a Jewish principle that Christians adopted. Take the first 10% of whatever you make and set it aside to honor God and His purpose in this world. Lots of people think they are tithing when they give 3-4% but no, that is not what God commanded. 3% is giving, 10% is tithing. Now this can be confusing for many people (including me)...why does God need our money? Well, turns out...God doesn't have a mortgage or car payment so He doesn't actually need our money to survive. In the book of John, Jesus tells the people if they obey his commandments, that shows they love him. And his Father will love them too. Tithing is about love, justice, mercy. The mercy the Lord so graciously gives us despite our ongoing sin and denial of His love and power. 

So back to that day at church...

That talk was just what we needed. A kick in the butt. Our pastor challenged us to tithe 10% for 3 months and if we didn't see a God providing change in our lives after that 3 months, the church would refund us. Can you believe that?!

Something else that stuck out to me was if we make more than $2,000 a YEAR that we are richer than 80% of the world. If we make more than $25,000 a year, we are richer than 99% of the world. I am guessing you are very rich.While I am sitting here spending $50 on a pair of shoes I don't need, $50 is the monthly salary of an entire family in some countries. My heart hurt. 

Jon and I decided that it was time to share our blessings. The first thing we did was adopted a Haitian child, Pierre. Read more about Pierre and our decision here. 

We also chose to forgo Christmas gifts for each other this year plus use our tithe this month to adopt a family and give them Christmas. I can barely put into words how much this Christmas season changed our hearts. Delivering gifts, providing warm clothing and food, and hearing heartbreaking stories about the families we adopted was such a time of growth for us, our marriage, and our relationship with God. 

Now I don't want you to think that this was all fun and rainbows for us. I want to tell you the truth. I was so excited to start tithing that day at church when I felt like the Lord was wrapping His arms around us and saying, 'you can do this'. But then it came time to write the checks. And I was immediately hesitant. To watch such a large chunk of money leave our account without being touched by me, that was really hard. Just being honest. Jon was so trusting of the Lord and kept telling me to wait because he knew God would provide for us if we gave to Him. This caused a few arguments that left us both hurt; I just couldn't seem to trust His will. Why not?!?!?! I was so mad at myself. 

I wrote in depth about the most special Christmas gift I received and you can read it here. Jon and I did end up getting small things for each other and he was excited to give me a letter 2 days before Christmas. As I read the letter (you can read the letter here), we were both in tears. God had provided for us! Not just spiritually but financially!!! The day we had gotten into an argument over how much to give, Jon closed a deal at work that would cover two months worth of our tithe. How amazing is the work of God's hand. 

God doesn't want to just give you love and spiritual gifts. He wants to give you beautiful things too! He wants you to enjoy your successes and sometimes even buy nice things... all while glorifying his name. 

"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously." -2 Corinthians 9:6



Jen said...

I love Ruthie, and can attest to her generous heart... she blessed me in such a huge way with the organization I am working with and had such a big impact on keeping my hope alive. What an encouragement :)

GingerPeachT said...

I'm praying for God to touch my husband's heart to start tithing. He wasn't brought up with tithing to be as important as I was. But he is the spiritual head of our family so I'm not gonna take the lead. I hope we start soon though!

Amanda said...
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Amanda said...

Ruthie, what a wonderful post! Scott and I have talked about recently... starting to tithe as I think we have found our Church-home at Shoreline and I've been kind of skeptical about it too, but know that God will provide and you and Jon are a true testimony to that! Your pictures look GREAT too, girlie :) Great post - I know you're making differences in many people's lives!

Kristina Streeter said...

I LOVE this post! We decide to tithe for all of the same reasons you do. Ryan, my husband, grew up tithing, I did not - and I truly see the blessings God provides for us every month! :)

Heather Leigh Riley said...

Wow, This post touched my heart!!

Heather said...

Such a wonderful post! I've seen tithing change our life and marriage too. I love Ruthie!!

Heather said...

what a great post, thanks Ruthie!

btw, your dog is ridiculously adorable!

Kelly said...

I LOVE this!! I have to tell you that prior to my husband and I getting married I thought tithing was a little crazy! The thought of giving up SO MUCH MONEY in my mind was nuts! I thought I was a "giver" so why did i HAVE to tithe! Can I tell you how MUCH the Lord has blessed us through our tithe! This has inspired me to write a post on my own about this! People need CONCRETE examples of how God provides to be encouraged because HE SOOOOO DOES provide!!!! IN CRAZY WAYS!!!! THANK YOU!!