Tithing is something that I learned very early in my life and have practiced pretty regularly (until recently anyways). I actually learned it in college while going through a membership class in a Presbyterian church. They spent quite a bit of time talking about it and its importance- but I guess I forgot. When we moved to Kentucky I decided that we couldn't afford to tithe. After all, we are taking out government loans just to survive. This made quite a bit of sense. There were some months where I wasn't even sure if we could pay the bills! But low and behold, all the bills have been paid and continue to be paid. We have received blessing through scholarships, extra jobs, gifts from friends and family and yes, loans (mostly no interest to low interest). And the more the provision comes, the more conviction (guilt really) I feel. So, we have decided to begin tithing again based on the income of our jobs (not our loans). Ultimately, I have learned two things:
1) If the church (and other organizations, but primarily the church) is about promoting the gospel, doing good, helping, providing and supporting- why would I not want that organization to have my finances, especially in a time of recession more than any other. I also benefit from this community and have given very little to it. Even though it will be very little, I need to financially support the structure because the structure supports the community (others, Nicholasville, our family, etc.)
2) It's about faith. As far as I can tell, the budget still does not balance out. It doesn't appear that the funds coming in will match the funds going out, especially now that we are tithing, but somehow it always does.
We do continue to cut back in many ways as a family, but this has been for our good. It has helped us realize that we need far less than what we want. Most recently I have learned this about food. For some reason we have, as Americans, this intense fear of not having a large quantity of high quality, eclectic food. Its crazy how much we can spend on food and we often justify because it has a dual purpose: entertainment. But that's going to have to be another blog:)