Aaron and I have been tithing our entire marriage, and along the way, God has taught me a lot about idols in my life, His provision, my willingness to trust Him, and my willingness to receive generosity.  We have had several seasons in our life where I’m sure people would have given us an “out” and told us it was okay not to tithe, yet we did not feel that was an option.  Here are just a few examples:

Aaron and I are the first to admit that we have made many poor financial decisions (especially early on in our marriage).  Yet, we have made an effort to learn what the Bible has to say about money and finances, and we have made an effort to bring our financial decisions in line with our convictions.

Idols Revealed

For a long time, I have struggled with the idol of financial security.  Years ago, God showed this to me and has been helping me see that ultimate security can only be found in him.  He has faithfully provided for our family along the way, and while this may look differently than what I would have planned, he has provided what we need.  My idol then morphed into being debt free…wait???  isn’t that Biblical, and a good thing?  Yes!  However, my desire to be debt free wasn’t completely for the right reasons.  In my mind, mature, financially wise Christians are debt free, and so I desired this more for making us look good than for honoring God with our money.  In my heart, my desire to steward my money well was not always driven by pure motives.  Thankfully, God has graciously revealed this to me, and although I still desire to be debt free (and we are working towards that), it is now motivated by a desire to steward our resources well, and to be able to be more generous.  I have learned that there is no magic formula with tithing such as “if you tithe, you will be debt free and have a large retirement account by age 30”, however, I can confidently say that if you are obedient to God, he will provide.

Over the years, God has also taught me about pride and humility.  I love being able to give to others…but because of pride, it is harder to be on the receiving end. It can puff up ones ego to be seen as the “generous one” and can be very humbling to be the one provided for.  We have had family and friends pitch in to help when things were really tight, which was humbling, yet also a blessing to see the Body of Christ helping one another.  As we have seen this displayed, we have been encouraged and have also had the opportunity to be a blessing to others!  There have been several times we have been able to make the decision to be generous, rather than getting or doing something we want, and this has brought us great joy and increased our affections towards the recipient of our gifts.

So, although we have had reasons why we could have “justified” not giving, to us, obedience to God’s word has meant tithing and being generous every step of the way.  And guess what?  God has always proven himself faithful.

I don’t share this to impress you with Aaron and my giving (as I said, we have plenty of stories of poor decisions along the way!), but to encourage you towards obedience, and to welcome you into the joy that is yours as you give to something bigger than yourself, and to the faith building experience of seeing God’s faithfulness in your own life.
Written by Amy Johnson (Worship Leader at Rock Hill and Elder Aaron Johnson’s wife)