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Thursday, 24 November 2011

Deuteronomy 16:10 - Tithing

The Offering Plate - Keeping People From God? 
Tithing used to keep me from church. When I was not able to find work, I stopped going to church for a while.
Why?
I had nothing to put in the offering plate other than the lint in my pocket. Truly? Yes truly. I worked for barter. Ate clover, lambs quarters, dandelions, cat tails. I had no income - nada.
Empty offering plate representing the stumbling block tithing can create for some people
Offering Plate - Stumbling Block?
One day, I heard they needed someone to help teach Sunday School.
I had 17 years teaching seniority in the city. Here was something I knew how to do. Here was the answer to my dilemma.
I could go to church, and leave with the children - thus avoiding the offering plate, but still feel happy to be able to contribute in some way to the work of God.
My collection plate avoidance strategy worked well .. for a while. That is until a former Sunday School teacher returned to church after several months absence.
The woman informed the children, in front of me, that I was teaching Sunday School the wrong way, and that from then on she would be teaching Sunday School the right way.
Was I teaching Sunday School the wrong way?
Perhaps I was - I don't know.
That is neither here nor there, and an entirely different story.  The point is - once again I felt unworthy. I no longer had something to contribute, and once again, I was faced with the prospect of that offering plate. I stopped attending church.
How many others, I wonder are in the same situation?
A Turning Point - Blessings From Tithing
I was invited to attend a healing service at Victory Christian Centre in Port Perry where Joan Hunt was speaking. During the service, she made a jest about praying for one knee vs, two knees (twonies) [In Canada, many call our two dollar coin, a twonie. ]
Joan asked how many people could use prayers for twonies. I only had a handful of change in my wallet. I raised my hand along with the laughing crowd.
Joan then spoke on tithing, and how tithing helps you receive.
The dreaded collection plate was being passed around.
I knew I had no folding money, but looked anyway. There to my amazement amongst the papers was  - a twonie! I popped it into the collection plate.
The next morning, I received a phone call.
Would I be able to watch a neighbour's dog while they were away? Would $200 be enough for the job?
Can you say miracle?
I'm trying to find which passage in the bible says "Cast your bread upon the waters, and it shall return to you ten fold."
I did find this though:
New Living Translation (NLT)
38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.
I was thrilled to tithe 10% of what I received the following Monday.
What Tithes Can I Give?
Sunday night, prior to the next meeting. I was faced with a quandary. I hadn't received any more money since I had tithed the 10% on my increase -what to do?
 The next morning I awoke with Deuteronomy 16:10 in my mind. I ignored it,  deciding that I could either tithe10% of what I had left, or not tithe at all. The scripture and the decision weighed on my mind all day.
That night, while having an anaphylactic reaction, I asked someone to look it up for me. If I were going to leave this earth, I wanted to know what  the message was. Here was the answer to what had been troubling me.
Deuteronomy 16:10 English Standard Version (©2001)
Then you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to the LORD your God with the tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as the LORD your God blesses you.
Since receiving my healing, I've felt my life really isn't mine, and wanted to give thanks for what I received. What do I do with my hands? What are my skills?
I started volunteering my talents with ministries, helping them reach more people online with God's word, quietly adding churches to Google maps. I still tithe from what I receive as well, and yes God has blessed me in some unusual surprising ways.
What are your experiences with tithing?

May God Bless you as you bless others,
Suzanne