“Spiritual disciplines” are things we do to stay in love with God and grow in faith. They can be things we do alone or together; they can be ways to spend time with God or to serve others. As the people of Sylva First UMC share one of their spiritual disciplines with you each week, we hope it will inspire you to new ways of loving God and growing in faith.
I’ve been a Christian for over 40 years, and so thankful for that. (Been with Sylva FUMC for 7+ years.) I had a strong childlike faith when I was young, but my family drifted when I was in my teens. When I was 20 turning 21, I was graced with a radical turnaround in my life to live for the Lord and serve the Lord. I was blessed to be in a church community and a family where I had good spiritual mentors and teachers. One thing I was taught early in my Christian walk was the importance of tithing (giving a tenth of your income) and giving as a form of honoring God, worshipping Him, and giving thanks.
Some things I have learned over the years:
- The old well pumps had a lever which you pumped the lever by hand to get water out of the ground. Many of them had to be primed with a cup of water before the pump could pump the water from the ground with the action of the lever moving up and down. I have heard it said on many occasions that giving to God is a way of priming the pump of His blessings.
- This works not by getting God to give us more (God already gives us lots of blessings!). Instead, it opens us up to a deeper gratitude for what God has given us. Truly, tithing and giving is a small way to give thanks, small in that what we have is so little in comparison to what God has and can provide, a giving of thanks that brings great returns for us, and others!
- God has a bigger shovel; we cannot out give him, but it sure is great to partner with God.
Some practical things on giving:
- In these days of electronic financial transactions, it’s so easy just to set up something as an automatic deduction or automatic payment every month and forget about it. But I think our spiritual giving is much more than that.
- Before the COVID shut down, I would always physically write a check for my monthly tithe to the church, as I wanted it to be an act of intentionality and an opportunity to thank God for what he has done at the beginning of each month. I would always try to make this the first transaction of the month, just a little way to say God you come first. (Often, this was the only paper check that I would write in a given month.)
- Since the COVID shut-down has come, and I get my mail at a post office box which I go to infrequently, I have resulted to going online and sending a check to my bank via bill pay, so that I know it gets there as soon as possible and not delayed by me getting to the post office infrequently. But it’s still an act of intentionality.
- I love to give offerings over and above my tithe, but I’ve learned also to be disciplined in this matter, as I do have to live within a budget, meet my financial obligations, and pay my debts. So even though I would like to give more, I have to be careful and disciplined about what I do give, and make sure it’s going in the right direction. I do look forward to the day when I have no financial debt, and that I am freer to give more.
In summarizing, the first and foremost thing I see is that our giving is a form of worship and thanks. Something we can rejoice in, and be glad for no matter how little or how much we have to give!!
A great big Thank You to our Eternal Daddy !!