Tithing Our Time?

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This is a guest post  from Mr. NotTheJetSet

not the jet set . net is a blog about personal finance, stewardship, green and frugal living – personal finance for the rest of us: one family’s story. We don’t claim to know it all. We won’t claim to make you rich. But we may get you to think a little differently about money and how it affects your life.

He’s a spender, she’s a saver. Together, they’re Not the Jet Set.

Fed up with working too hard to not have any money, we made the decision to take control of our finances. We began a mission to get out of debt and stay out of debt – forever. On June 23rd of 2006, we completed Baby Step 2 by paying off approx $40,000 in 20 months. During that time and ever since then, we’ve seen it as part of our calling to help others achieve what we have – financial peace.

Tithing our Time

Years ago, while living in Texas, the Mrs. and I belonged to a church that was ‘stewardship based’.  At it’s core this meant that there was no fund raising activities to benefit the parish – bake sales, catered dinners, bingo night, none of it.  The intent was that all funding was to come from stewardship – tithing, free-will donations, and Sunday offerings.  Many felt that it was not possible to run a parish of this size this way, but it was our priest’s insistence that would win folks over.  He often said, “As a stewardship parish, we’ll never have a money problem – only a faith problem”.  A powerful statement meaning that if our income wasn’t paying the bills, then lack of money wasn’t the problem, but rather the lack of faith driving us to give.  It was great to be a part of, and also amazing to see the affect that our FPU classes had on the weekly numbers as more families were giving and more were able to at least work towards a tithe.

Ever since then, we’ve been big believers in stewardship as it applies to not only our treasure, but our time and talents as well.

  • In terms of treasure – We tithe and try to give on top of that when we are able.
  • In terms of talents – We facilitate FPU classes and council families needing additional help.
  • In terms of time – Well, I guess this is where we feel we have been falling short.
*Matt’s Note:  The 4th area of stewardship is our health.

So how do we give our time?

Sure, one could argue that the 2 hr+ FPU classes and their prep work would fall into that.  But are we then just ‘double dipping’?  Seems like we can do more for the Lord.  Of course we go to church every Sunday, but that’s just the minimum – we used to do so much more.

Then we got a bit of a wake-up call.  Our Priest’s sermon recounted a Bible verse about listening to the Lord, and then gave the modern interpretation of it – interrupted with cell phone calls, pager buzzing, text messages… Our time with the Lord has been invaded and a common culprit of that is technology.  Later that day, we were with a group of friends who were talking about the same thing and how they simply had to stop the way they were going and re-prioritize their life.  We knew we had to do the same.

So the Mrs. did the math and approached me about this concept of ‘tithing our time’.  If we truly gave a tenth (a tithe) of our time to the Lord, that would amount to 16.8 hrs per week.  A great goal, but pretty intimidating – I mean, that’s 2 work days.  As our priest in Texas would tell people wanting to tithe on their income, but fearful about being able to commit to the full 10%, he would say to start with something – even just 1%, start with just $10, start giving something!

So that’s what we are doing.  We are starting with something.

Here is what we are doing…

  • We have both enrolled in an adult Bible study class through the parish.  This class lasts about 2 hrs once per week, plus has homework each week.
  • We are giving a part of each day.  In the spirit of starting with something, we are giving 30 minutes each day to the Lord – be it Bible study homework, quiet contemplation, prayer or something else.

With these, in addition to Sunday Mass and FPU classes, we are each giving 8 hrs per week to God.  Not bad!  That’s nearly 50% of the goal of 16.8 hours.

In the spirit of giving, we also looked at our own house.  As the Bible says, “he who does not take care of his own household is worse than a non-believer”.  Here we are giving so much of ourselves outward, and yet the living room is a wreck, the dishes are stacked up by the sink, the office/sewing room is a horrible catch all and barely usable, and the basement has yet to fully recover from the house projects of a year ago.  So the Mrs came up with a plan for the whole family to give 30 minutes each night to cleaning the house.  Focused, intense effort wherever it is needed most.  We were able to try it out for a few days last week and the results were amazing.  Three and a half people (the little one doesn’t help that much at under 2 years old) cleaning the same space for 30 minutes has resulted in very clean and presentable spaces each time.  In fact, it was the spark we needed to start getting the office/sewing room under control.

So I’m interested to find out how YOU give?



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1 Gary

It is my belief that what God wants from us is a personal relationship. Time we spend in study, prayer, and meditation is just part of building and growing that relationship. Jesus left us with the commandment to serve our fellow man, and bring them to Christ. I believe that that is where stewardship come in.

Time you spend with your father is just something you should want to do because you love him. Time you spend serving your father is something you do because he asked you to do that.

God has given us all different gifts to use. Personally, I have led both Crown and FPU. Become a budget counselor through Crown, and have served several local ministries doing budget counseling. The last couple years, God has led my into jail and prison ministries where I serve today. In fact, if god allows me the opportunity to retire, I hope to use it to become a full time jail chaplain.

It is my prayer that we ALL find what our gifts are, and we choose to use them for the glory of God.

GLY&SDI <

2 Lydia aka Ms. MoneyChat

Treasure – tithes & offerings, as well as supporting other mission and nonprofit work that are near and dear to my heart.

Talent – i teach financial courses at local ministries, do speaking engagements and volunteer with a youth organization. in fact, i just “retired” from my corp gig to go full force into working in the field and area that i believe God called me to. if you ever read the Monk and the Merchant (great book), i’m definitely a merchant, with a heart to benefit the work of the monk (or it’s also referred to as kings and priests).

Time – aww, this is where things get tricky. i’ve visited the idea of tithing my time on several occasions. the part about taking care of your own home as a way of committing some time to God was a great eye opener. it makes so much sense! i, like the author, have a tendency to do so much outside of the home that my home is often neglected. committed time is an area that i’m working on.

Health – within the last year or so, i began eating healthier and working out more. i even juice to ensure that i’m getting the nutrients and vitamins from veggies that i may not find enjoyable to eat (such as beets). this too is an area that i’m working to improve.

great post as always.

3 Mr. Not the Jet Set

It was an eye opener to us as well. We knew that each part of the house was lagging, but when you stand back and see it overall – WOW! We were really neglecting our home. We really started to notice it when it started affecting our outward giving (our 2 year old kept rifling through the FPU stuff for class!)

As we’ve been doing this and tackling a specific area each night, it has been amazing 1. the work that has gotten done 2. the peace it has brought to our house.

4 Miranda

We give of our treasure and talents fairly readily. I am working on giving more of my time. And we’ve been taking better care of our health. We can’t help others if we aren’t in any shape to take care of ourselves!

5 Mr. Not the Jet Set

“We can’t help others if we aren’t in any shape to take care of ourselves!”

Exactly!

6 Jen

I am going to work on this thank you!

7 Peter

We’ve been doing a study through a small group at church about relationships, how to build them with people you know -and how to show Christ’s love to the people that you come in contact with. We’re commanded to love the Lord our God, and love others. We’re doing our best after being reminded of this idea to be giving by loving others in small ways. Being there to listen, or to help out a friend with a budget. Reaching out to family members or friends that may be having a hard time – even if you’re tired or emotionally drained. Allowing God to be loving and giving through us -even when we’re not able. It’s been fun and rewarding!

8 Mr. Not the Jet Set

Great insight, Peter. It really doesn’t take much sometimes. A few minutes of your time just to listen. Transferring a couple quick skills that may seem basic to us, but groundbreaking to others.

It is amazing to watch the Lord work.

9 thisisbeth

Wow. I had never thought about tithing time! While right now I’m not giving 10% of my income to my church, there’s no reason that I cannot give 10% of my time to the Lord (whether in church service, or personal relationship). This really gives me something to work towards!

10 Mr. Not the Jet Set

Our stewardship parish would often refer to stewardship in terms of time, talent and treasure, but time was always something that I guess we assumed we were doing.

You can’t do everything, but sometimes when you feel like you can do more and want to do more, it’s good to take a step back and give these a good hard look.

11 Jason @ RedeemingRiches

I think it’s important to remember that the “earth is the Lord’s and everything in it” – that includes our time, energy, talents, resources, gifts, abilities and money to name a few.

We are called to steward all of those things for His glory (and our good). When we have loose grips and open hands on all of our “stuff” including time – we start realizing that there is endless joy in living that way!

Thanks for the reminder!

12 Mr. Not the Jet Set

You’re welcome, and thanks for the stewardship primer – that is one of my favorite verses on stewardship. It’s important to remind yourself from time to time the difference between your role and His.

13 Charissa Cowart

It’s important to step back and re-evaluate your life in terms of the things you’re doing for God and the things that are getting left behind. The important thing to remember is that the 10% tithe is 10% that IS NOT OURS! It already belongs to God, it should be a regular part of our life to give that back, whether it’s money, or time, or service, or whatever it is. (I’m preaching to myself here too especially on the Time issue).

Thank you for this post! It’s a great reminder to step back and take a look at where my time is spent.

14 Robert Espe

Since the 10% tithe is based on the Mosaic minimum for giving money to God, that begs the question, what was the Mosaic standard for time? These passages make it sound like a lot more than 10%, although they are also clear that they don’t need to be “churchy” activities. The Benedictine motto is “Ora et Labora”, “Pray and Work” (work of daily life).

Deuteronomy 6:6-8
6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.

Deuteronomy 11:18-20
18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

15 Mr. Not the Jet Set

Robert
Good question, and one that deserves an answer. I’m no Biblical scholar, but I’m not aware of any verses referring to tithing time specifically – tho BibleGateway lists several about tithing from the New and Old Testaments. As I understand it, time, talent and treasure is a modern teaching and interpretation of the scripture.

My goal is to become more Christ-like, and part of that is being less selfish and more of a giver as well as managing all that He has entrusted with me.

The concept of ‘tithing or time’ is more to re-evaluate if we are really being good stewards of the time we have been given. I’m really excited about what we have done in giving some of our time back to the Lord as well as to our family.

16 Mr. Not the Jet Set

Great comments, everyone. Part of our goal at Not the Jet Set . net is to get people to think a little bit differently about things like this. I’m really excited by all the positive and thoughtful comments.

Also, you may be interested to know that I’m typing this comment from our office / sewing room where:
1. I can see the majority of the floor
2. the Mrs. has been cranking our her handmade wares for a craft show with incredible efficiency

This is awesome.

17 Mr. Faris

I think just starting small at what you can offer of your personal time and funds is a great place to begin this process of giving.

I also think that one’s intention should also carry weight in regard to what one would love to do but sometimes fail to achieve all such noble intentions because of a lack of time.

Thanks for a great post.

18 Bayou

this was by far one of the best blog entries i have ever read. usually i skim through catching key points here and there. this keep me interested. definitely taking some pointers from this.

God Bless you Brother

19 Joe Plemon

While this post is definitely a challenge to me, I would guard against legalism. Some might believe that if they tithe, they are then free to do what they want with the other 90%. In reality we are responsible to the Lord for what we do with 100% of our money, 100% of our talents and 100% of our time.

The inference I might make is that when I give 10% of my time to the Lord, then I must not be serving him with the other 90%.

As I said, I am challenged by this post to consciously dedicate more of my time in specific service to the Lord. But if I get to that point, I hope I don’t “slack off” with the other 90%.

Thanks for being real. Your honesty makes this post come to life.

20 Matt Jabs

I agree Joe, good comment.

I know the post was written to help people focus on giving time to the Lord, but you do raise a good point. Just like giving our riches, we need to give as much time as possible back to the Lord… after all, we’re here for Him purposes anyway! :-)

Cheers.

21 Heather A

I was looking for devotional material on the tithing of our talents and have to concur that this is one of the best blog entries I have ever read! Update us with your success and I will bookmark and return often.

Meanwhile, I might have to tweak the devotion I have coming up in the next few weeks to reflect some of what I have learned from you.

Heather –Presbyterian leader

22 FinancialBondage

Yes, God owns 100%. He owns everything. Even the 90%. It’s easy to forget that sometimes.

23 Leah

Tithing is an Old Covenant law.
The New Covenant (New Testament) does not demand a tithe. Jesus wants ALL of us. Everything we have should be used for His Glory.
Ask yourself, is 10% enough for the Lord when He gave everything? He wants All of you. All your heart. All your mind. All your soul. All your strength. All your time. All your resources.
For it is only when you lose your life that you will gain life eternal.

24 Matt Jabs

You are precisely correct Leah. That said, the concept Mr. NotTheJetSet introduces is a great way to get people started who may not yet be giving of their time at all.

25 Lori

I never feel I can do enough. I recently started cleaning my church (for pay), but I am still using my time to do this. I drop in (every Sunday) 10% of all my earnings (before taxes), plus I dedicate myself to 18 hours of cleaning per week. I also spend time at home in deep prayer or watching movies from the religious station or even reading my bible. I have a lot of time (compared to most) that I dedicate to ‘God’s time’. This is how I tithe. Both my time & cleaning talents. I always pray in private (behind closed doors). Sometimes I sit with my chin on my folded hands during conversations with people and praying then as well. I have a lot to be thankful for. I praise Him, I ask for prayers for others, as well as myself. I try to be as close as possible when I am away from church.

26 Dee

I’m convicted when I read about “being a good steward of the home”. I’m a mother of 5 children and I home school them all. Used to be an organized person but come to my house and you will see right away that I need more hours in the day to stay organized. Yet, I don’t know how I muddle through every day in such a mess and always feeling like I’m two steps behind. I get a free day and I still can’t get caught up because I am so behind in paperwork…both for schooling and the bills. Can you tell me how I am supposed to tithe my time when I can’t even find time to exercise, or pay my bills on time? If it weren’t for teaching Bible to the children, even devotions would be lacking.

27 Matt Jabs

Oh dearest Dee…
You already are giving your time!!! Your work as a godly mother cannot be replaced. Never doubt your contribution as a homeschooling, caring, loving mother – keep doing what you’re doing and get the kids to help you as much as you can. Life lessons for your kids = help for you! God bless.

28 Martha

Bless you all my Brethren for these encouraging comments. Matt Jabs, a million blessings for your care. I have not been tithing moneywise but I tithe my time though not maybe 10%. I go to the internet every day at least for one hour or so. I follow prayers on the TV, especially Prophet TB Joshua’s Emmanuel TV. I glad I have discovered this website. Kindly pray for me and my kids, to be financially, emotionally, peacewise and all that comes with God’s Grace and Mercies.

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