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Tithing Your Schedule

By May 24, 2011One Comment

Hi friends! Ike and I have been traveling all over creation, which is why I haven’t been on here the last week. This weekend we went to the mountains with some friends and we were completely disconnected from the outside world. No internet, very little cell phone service, and hardly any clocks in our cabin. I admit there was a part of me that squirmed at the inability to check my e-mail every 5 seconds, but it was also wonderful to be fully present with people I love.

Speaking of time off, the weekend provided me the opportunity to reflect on a topic I’ve been wanting to write about for some time now. Those of you who read my blog with any regularity know that I am a big proponent of keeping the Sabbath. It’s not the sexiest topic in the world so please don’t tune out just because it doesn’t rev your engine. What I’m about to share with you has been really helpful to me in talking to others about God’s command to rest.

The insight came to me one day as I talked with a friend about her boyfriend, and her frustration that he had yet to propose (since then, he has–yay!). As I listened to her, it was clear that her impatience had less to do with him and more to do with her own physical and emotional exhaustion. She was working a ton and was super involved at church in addition to taking a class. When I asked her if she was setting time apart for the Sabbath each week, she said no and that she didn’t have time.

I have run into this objection a lot over the years. Whether someone is a student or a parent there just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the week to get everything done. Even though this is one of the Ten Commandments we’re talking about, it just doesn’t seem realistic to people. Take an ENTIRE DAY OFF? No way!

Well as I listened to my friend detail her schedule, and as I heard the fatigue in her voice, I decided to take a different approach to my whole Sabbath pitch.

The Sabbath is both a command and a gift from God. But one aspect I rarely considered before is that the Sabbath is also an act of trust. Consider, for a moment, how similar the objections to tithing and resting can be. Both employ a language of scarcity: “Money is too tight right now for me to tithe” or “I don’t have enough time in the week for the Sabbath.”

When pastors face these objections to tithing, they remind their church members that tithing is not simply about obedience but about trusting in God’s provision. What do you depend on more for security–your money, or God? Do you believe that God is able to make up the difference between your bills and your charitable giving? Ultimately, if you don’t tithe anything at all, even the tiniest bit (remember the widow’s mite!) you are making a statement about yourself or about God. Either you believe God can’t provide, or you simply don’t trust Him.

Our schedules are no different. God has asked us to set aside a day each week for Him. But if we don’t make time for rest and worship, if we think our schedules can’t afford the loss of those 24 hours, then we are choosing not to trust in Him. We are stating with our actions that God is not able to bless our faithfulness and use the remaining six days effectively. The schedule God has commanded is not enough in today’s fast paced world.

Granted, observing the Sabbath requires discipline during the other 6 days. It is a commitment to work hard for 6 days in order to rest on the seventh. But then again, the Sabbath is also a reminder that God is not part of this world’s rat race. God is not bound by tight schedules that value production volume over quality, skill and reflection. From that perspective, the Sabbath is not solely about trust but is also about getting back in touch with God’s way of doing things. 

So if you still resist observing the Sabbath, I hope you will reconsider it from the perspective of faith and trust. Why don’t you observe the Sabbath, and what does your choice say about God’s character and ability? In both money and time God is able to provide “immeasurably more than we ask or imagine” (Eph. 3:20) so let’s proclaim that truth with our lives!

One Comment

  • That is a great example to compare the Sabbath and tithing in regards to trust in God. I fully trust God for our needs and tithe joyfully and faithfully. But not so much with the Day of Rest thing. My husband strongly feels as you do, but I haven’t been as supportive of this idea as I should – especially since I am the one who primarily maintains our family calendar. I have been making far too many exceptions to the Sabbath.

    Thanks for the insight!

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