This is a God Moment talk the Rev. Liz Parker gave at the worship services on Sunday, February 4th at Palmer at the request of the Stewardship Committee.
To tithe is to practice the spiritual discipline of giving ten percent of your income to support God’s ministry.
I feel strongly that working toward the tithe is a spiritual discipline all Christians are called to embrace, but I didn’t always feel that way.
I was twenty years old when I became an Episcopalian and absolutely clueless about who paid for the coffee I drank after the service, and whose money kept the lights on and paid the salaries of the clergy and staff. That changed after the curate asked me to give a talk to the congregation on stewardship! I realized I couldn’t give the talk until I had prayerfully talked it through with God. Thus began over a decade of on and off financial generosity toward God.
Finally, after I was married and we both had steady incomes, my husband and I started working toward the tithe. We did, however, have seminary loans, so we deducted those from our total income and pledged on that amount!
Year by year we would increase our giving by one or two percent until we were finally tithing (although the years we had two sons in college we had to cut back).
Here’s why I tithe: I owe God everything. God gave all of us this beautiful planet with all the raw materials we need for food, shelter, clothing and medicine. God gave me life and God gave all of his life to all people of all time in Jesus. And Jesus, at great cost, gave everything for me on the cross. It gives me great joy to give freely and happily of all God has given me. It’s liberating.
So, beloved of God, I invite you to practice the spiritual discipline of working toward the tithe!