Many people are familiar with the biblical command to tithe, or give the first 10 percent of income back to God.
Malachi 3:10-11 gives the justification for doing so. “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the LORD Almighty.
The concept of tithing is to trust God with 10 percent of your income so that he can protect and bless the remaining 90 percent. People who faithfully tithe often report unexpected opportunities and income protection, but that’s a story for a different blog.
Money is so foundational to life of people that it is sometimes very hard to give up 10 percent of our income. It is often seen as impossible when living paycheck to paycheck.
But, God sees tithing as a trust issue. Do you trust God with 10 percent of your income knowing that he can protect and bless the rest?
In Matthew 6:21 and Luke 12:34, Jesus notes that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
If someone looked at your checkbook to see where you spend your money, he would probably have a good idea of what you valued most in life.
There is a commodity that is far more valuable than money, and that is time. It can never be saved or replaced, but it can be wasted, lost, spent or invested. We all have exactly 525,600 minutes available to us every year.
What if we saw our time as a treasure and sought to tithe 10 percent back to God. Could you invest 144 minutes a day – or just under 17 hours a week – in pursuit of things that matter to God?
I’ve been pondering that question for quite a while and, yes, it seems that we could. And when I do, I am richly rewarded with a better attitude, less guilt and more joy in my life.
Here are some ways you could tithe your time back to God by investing in his Top 8 priorities.
- Time with God – This would include a systematic study of God’s word as well as journaling and prayer. You could easily invest 30 minutes a day there.
- Time with spouse – This includes time in which you are present and intently focused on the other person. It could be a conversation where you seek to know or understand your spouse better. It could be a walk holding hands and supporting or encouraging the other person. Easy 20 to 30 minutes here.
- Time with children – It has been said before that kids spell “love” as T-I-M-E. This means, phone down, eye-to-eye communication in a loving and respectful way. It means doing something they want to do, like go to the park, play a board game, read a story, bake cookies or anything that focuses your attention on them in a positive, uplifting way. Here’s another 20 to 30 minutes per day, or an hour or two each weekend. Be sure to invest time with the kids individually as well as collectively. I had no idea how impactful my monthly daddy-daughter dates were with my three daughters until they were in their twenties and all mentioned how much they looked forward to the one-on-one time.
- Time with parents – If mom or dad is still living, NOW is the time to be making those phone calls, inviting them out to lunch or simply spending time with them. The fifth commandment requires us to honor our mothers and fathers. In fact, it’s the only commandment followed by a promise. “Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you.” (Deuteronomy 15:6) When we allow bitterness and anger over childhood wounds to eat away at our souls, it doesn’t go well with us. Pick up the phone.
- Time at work – Too many people punch in, muddle through the day, and punch out looking forward to their next paychecks, but they are not fully invested in the work they do, the company they serve or the people they work with. Invite a coworker to lunch and take an interest in their personal lives. Everyone needs support and encouragement every day. Is a coworker caring for an aging parent, have a sick child, need help with a project, or just feeling blue about something? A kind word or note from you could make a difference. Also, we’re told to go the extra mile. So, when the boss needs something done that isn’t in your job description, volunteer to take it on. Colossians 3:23-24 tells us to work as though we are working for the Lord. When we do, we are rewarded.
- Time with non-churched people – There are A LOT of weary, hurting, spiritually hungry souls who don’t necessarily take the time to got to church every week. You can make a big impact in their lives. For example, is there a single parent who would appreciate a few hours of free babysitting or help with a project around the house? Is there a nursing home or hospice center near you where people would appreciate chatting with a friendly visitor? Is one of your coworkers planning a move and looking for help loading or unloading boxes? Could a seasoned citizen or handicapped neighbor use some help getting the lawn mowed, leaves raked or driveway shoveled? Did someone have a new baby, or just return from the hospital who would appreciate a meal delivered to their home? Opportunities abound when you look for ways to serve.
- Time with fellow believers – People who go to church still need your time and attention. They might have doubts about their faith or fears about the future. Join a small group that meets weekly to get to know people more intimately. You can help people better understand the Bible or their faith. Volunteer to serve in one of the church ministries on Sundays, or in one of the organized church outreaches to the community. Grab a few other church members and seek ways to serve people in the neighborhood. Again, you’ll never run out of ways to serve others.
- Time at rest – Yes, this is also a way to tithe your time, but make it count as a way to fully recharge your batteries. A nap might be nice, but time in nature works miracles in reducing stress. Time around a campfire sharing stories is a great way to rest while connecting with others. Alone time qualifies for rest, too. Not binge watching a TV series, but meaningful time where you clear your mind. Remember, God commands us to enjoy a day of rest every week.
These are just a few ways in which we could easily tithe 144 minutes of our time each day toward things that truly matter to God. The time we invest for God will not return to us empty. In Luke 6:38, Jesus tells us, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
As we are called to be generous with our money on all occasions, we should seek to be generous with our time, too.