Generosity I want to share a thought with you. It’s really annoying, so you may want to stop reading now. Some of you may have had a crazy thought like this one—the kind that’s annoying because you know there’s no way it was your idea, but you can’t seem to shake it. When this happens, you get this hunch that God put that thought there. This is even more annoying because it means it’s not going away, and you’re expected to do something with it. Anyway, here’s the super-annoying, nagging thought that I’m positive isn’t my own: “What if I tithed on my time, as well as my money?”
See what I mean? Annoying.
I pretty much dismissed this thought before I could even think it. It kept coming back. Gradually, I allowed myself to mull it over, think about what it meant, and quantify it. A short time before this thought arrived, I had begun tithing again, and I had realized again why. Tithing had proven again that trusting God with my money is much smarter than trusting my spreadsheet. Be that as it may, giving ten percent of my money is written in black and white on the pages of my Bible, but tithing on my time isn’t in the Bible anywhere. So why was God challenging me to do it? The more I let myself think about it, the more I had to admit that it was starting to make some sense.
I have 168 hours in a week. What would it look like if I spent 16.8 hours of my life each week giving of myself? That’s 2.4 hours each day. How would I use them? What if I accepted the challenge and had to come up with creative ways to be Jesus to my world for 2.4 hours every day?? 1 Timothy 6:18-19 instructs us “to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up…the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that [we] may take hold of that which is life”. I don’t know about you, but I’d love to take hold of life and have a good foundation for the future!
Have I been spending 2.4 hours every single day doing good or being generous? Not so much. I mean, there are some days I do. Those days are usually Sundays, though, and it’s usually unintentional. Nonetheless, this nagging idea of tithing my time has definitely been challenging the way I think and is threatening to change the way I live.
Generosity challenges us to see needs that are not our own. Here are some crazy ideas I’ve had since this annoying thought took over:
- I love buying nice things for myself; what if I bought a nice thing for someone who would be touched or helped by it? What if I gave a few of my nice things to someone who isn’t able enjoy nice things as often as I am?
- I enjoy hanging out with the wonderful friends and family God has blessed me with; what I befriended someone who is lonely or different or who doesn’t have the kind of support network that I do?
- I pray for my own needs; what would change if I carefully prayed for others—coworkers, roommates, classmates, or someone I don’t even like?
- What if I shared the resources I have? What if I offered to pick up that car-less friend the next time I make a trip to Target? What if I offered to help a co-worker move…even though it’s snowing?
- What if I gave more than 10% of my income to my church?
I told you these were crazy ideas! But I’m starting to see how acting in generosity opens my mind to actions that really reflect the Jesus that I love and serve. How would the world respond if Christians displayed the generosity of Christ? How would the people in my world respond if I displayed His kind of love?
This idea of crazy generosity may be annoying to me, but maybe that’s because it’s a challenge worth accepting.