Tithing of Time
Admittedly the tithing procedure was something out of the Old Testament. And tithing was about material things. When it came to the command to give of one's time in the Old Testament, it wasn't tithing--it was "seventhing" (did I just make up a word?). It was called the Sabbath.
In New Testament times we are told to give as we have been prospered (I Corinthians 16: 1, 2). We have more time- and labor-saving technology than any generation of people who have ever walked the face of the earth. So what if we gave a tithe of our time each week? What if we decided that the scripture that talks about exceeding the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 5: 20) has something to do with our time as well as our money?
A tenth of a 168 hour week is approximately 17 hours. What could we do for the Lord with 17 hours in a week?
3 hours Sunday morning Bible class, worship, travel time, fellowship
1.5 hours Sunday night--including fellowship and travel time
1.5 hours Wednesday night--including fellowship & travel time
3 hours prepare for a Bible class to teach on Sunday AM or Wednesday PM
1 hour forward that lesson to Mass Media to post on the Web
1 hour see two people at the hospital or nursing home on way home from work
1 hour World Bible School, five students, in a busy week
2 hours small regular prayer group or a ministry meeting
2 hours regular or daily Bible reading, not for class, about 15 min/day
1 hour studying Bible with family
A person could make all kinds of substitutions to that list. Instead of preparing for a class, one could prepare a lesson for an eventual Preacher Corp pulpit presentation. He could write a letter to a missionary or a Christian inmate who was struggling with his newfound faith. It doesn't take anywhere near an hour to forward a lesson in Word or Word Perfect to me for posting on the web. Maybe two minutes. Teaching a Bible class or preaching a sermon at a neighboring congregation doesn't add to the time used during the week; you would have been sitting through a class or sermon if you hadn't been the one delivering it and frankly you will probably get more out of it if you teach it. The three hour preparation time for a class at the church building could be substituted by going to the Pope County Detention Center with a lesson in print, ready to give to them, and having prayer and songs and a brief visit for several minutes. That still comes out to about three hours.
In such a week, a Christian would have done evangelistic work, edified the saints, done benevolence, had fellowship, and worshipped. Whether we call the Church's mission a three-fold mission or a five-fold mission, we've done it all. If members of the Lord's church did 17 hours a week for very many weeks, production would go through the roof. We would be building additions to church buildings or be building new buildings all over the place. We'd close that back door where backsliders have been "slipping between the cracks." Our fellowship would be so strong everybody would want to be part of it. We'd be known for our brotherly love.
What does a person look like who tithes of his time to the Lord? I know he doesn't look like me. There are few weeks when I reach 17 hours. I don't keep careful records, but I would suspect that my weekly average is maybe 12 hours. A real time-tither looks like somebody else.
Do you feel like there is nothing in your life but church work now that you have given your tithe? Well, let's see what's left of your week:
56 hours sleeping, 7 x 8 hours per night
45 hours at the job, 5 days x 9 hours (not including lunch)
21 hours one hour each for 21 meal times (reclaimed five lunches)
5 hours house cleaning, meal preparation, or automotive or lawn & garden
12 hours hobbies, sports, creativity, discretionary, loafing
12 hours family, non-church, school plays, concerts, ball games, more loafing
Forty-five hours of actual work per week with a one-hour lunch break would have us arriving at work at 8 in the morning and not leaving the work place until six at night, five days a week. Eight hours of sleep each and every night would be over the national average. How many of us actually eat for a solid hour each time we have a meal? How long does it take to vacuum a house or change the oil in two cars? The figures in our second list are tremendously padded. Living a GOOD life in the 21st century doesn't take 151 hours a week.
Malachi 3: "10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. 12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts."
I Corinthians 9: "6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: "
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Sid Womack, webmaster
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