I’m a tither. Despite the controversy surrounding it, I’m a huge advocate of it. And, honestly, before I got serious about it my life was a total mess. I couldn’t make ends meet. I had trouble holding a steady job. My wife (God bless her) loved me, but lost almost all respect for me. Our marriage was on its last leg. She was pregnant with our 2nd child and was considering leaving. As I said she loved me but with the tight finances, the tense atmosphere, my bad attitude, and my constant complaining it was getting to her. I was working a job that couldn’t pay the bills because I left my job that COULD pay the bills because the supervisors “weren’t treating me right.” Truth is: they weren’t treating me right because I wasn’t doing my job right. I was too “smart” for my own good! Oh… did I mention? I was saved. Yup, Jesus was my Savior. I read my bible, studied it, went to church, was active and well liked. But I would complain, find the negative in things, and was always angry for some reason…even behind the smile. Some nights I’d find it hard to sleep. I kept seeing better but I had no way to make it happen. I was frustrated and distressed. I went to bed tired, woke up tired, and could see no way out. I was at the end of my rope. Something had to change but I didn’t know what. So I went to God for advice. I said, “God my life is not going the way I want. I don’t know how to fix it. What do I do?” A second later I heard the answer: “Start Tithing.” I wish I could tell you I went out and immediately did what “thus saith the Lord.” But no, I did what any “winner” would do: I procrastinated. It took some time but I finally made the commitment to tithe. I called it my “experiment.”
What I Learned From The “Experiment”
Did I become a millionaire overnight? Did someone stop me on the street saying, “Brother, I just felt led to give you this $50,000 check. Receive it in Jesus Name!” No. There were instances where it felt like nothing was happen. In fact, during the middle of it I actually quit for a while then resumed. I did learn a few life changing things though:
1. It Taught Me Discipline
Can I be honest? I didn’t feel like giving away 10% of my income. There were times I hated to do it and questioned my own sanity. But I kept at it. The discipline I learned from tithing was worth every penny. I now looked at everything through the eyes of that discipline: it doesn’t matter how I feel I have a responsibility to keep. I believe tithing like fasting is a spiritual discipline–unpleasant at the time but necessary. And NO ONE can be an effective disciple without discipline.
2. It Taught Me the Value of Priorities
Once I learned to honor God first with my money, the obvious question was “what’s next?” It cause me to realize the things I prioritized were all out of whack. I had to ask myself some hard questions:
- “Why am I not saving more money?
- “Is there nothing I can cut out of my budget?
- “What is my budget?”
- “Exactly WHY am I in this debt?
- “Did I really need to buy that?”
- “Do I really need to buy this?”
- “What is most important now?
3. It Taught Me More Patience
I have to admit when I first started I was expecting quick results. I listened to some TV preachers who spoke about sowing a supernatural seed for a “quick and unexpected” harvest. Man, I was expecting everything to be turned around in a week! That didn’t happen. I’m not saying it CAN’T happen. I’m saying it DIDN’T happen for me. God didn’t immediately change my circumstances. He did something better: He changed me. But it wasn’t a quick fix. It took time. Let me say this: tithing is not the lottery. Don’t let anyone sell you a ticket!
4. It Taught Me to Be a Giver
Over the course of the “experiment” I learned to love giving a lot more. Before I would grit my teeth now it was actually starting to bring me joy. Consequently, it made me a better father and husband. When you learn to give your money away giving time, love, affection, and etc is a breeze! And when you start to see the effects of that generosity you just want to be more generous.
What was the result of my “experiment?” My marriage greatly improved as I learned to be more generous, more disciplined, and responsible for my actions. I learned to take my eyes off me and point them at the greater problems in the world. Oh…and I paid off all my personal debt! Debt that I had trouble with for years was paid in one year. Are you interested in the full details of the “experiment?” You can actually read the full case study here. But what do you think? Are you tither? Have you see any benefits from it? Would love to hear your comments below….
Mike Holmes is founder of Tithehacker.org, a site dedicated to stirring up a revolution of giving. He is also the author of I Shall Raise Thee Up: Ancient Principles for Lasting Greatness. It’s a book teaching how people are raised up as they learn and apply certain time-tested and timeless principles. He is also the husband of 1 lady and the father of 2 small people.