… what does one do?
As far as I’ve been learning … one does it.
I read Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw’s book Jesus for President. As I read, I questioned parts of it and parts of it questioned me. But beyond all the things I wasn’t sure of, bottom line, Shane still challenges me in this: he advocates looking at God’s Word, listening to his Spirit, and then doing whatever God leads. Even if you are pretty darn sure every single person you know will commit you to a mental institution because of it.
On Sunday, Mark Saunders talked about how Peter, despite his assurance that Jesus was absolutely wrong, followed his instructions. Mark called this the “because you say so” mentality (Luke 5:5) and challenged us to think the same way.
This morning, Dad shared a devotion on how change can bother us, but if we obey what God tells us, he will always use it incredibly.
So I had this sneaking suspicion that God had some crazy idea he wanted me to follow.
And then I had a crazy idea.
I started thinking about tithing, about how we only tithe from what we make, and how, while it’s not always easy to give away part of your income, it’s easier than giving away something you’re attached to.
I wondered what tithing originally looked like. It didn’t involve just income, but crops (Leviticus 27:30), flocks (Leviticus 27:32), food (Deuteronomy 12:17). Side note: there were various things you were supposed to do with different tithes (eat them in the temple, exchange them for silver and give the silver to God, etc., etc., go have fun reading Leviticus), but one that I thought was especially interesting was in Deuteronomy 14:28-29. Here, at the end of every three years, the tithe from the crops of that year was brought to a storehouse, from where the Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows could take freely.
So I wondered what it would look like if I gave away not only a tenth of my income, but a tenth of everything I own. Last week, Mark Saunders (man, he says some good stuff, huh?) said the following: “Do you have that one thing that you won’t loan out to anyone? You know what I want you to do? Go home, and loan it to someone. You think I’m joking? I’m not joking. that thing stands between you and God, and is therefore an idol.”
Well, that idea’s been marinating in me. And then this whole thing about following God’s crazy ideas that turn out to be the most awesome things you’ve ever done.
So, soon I will go into my room and I will count how many books I have. How many cds I have. How many shirts I have. How many necklaces I have. And I will give 1 out of every 10 away.
To start with.