We should tithe more…
Tithing is more than what we do with our money. You may have heard that we tithe our time, talents, and treasures. When having conversations with people about taking time to engage their neighbors, the elephant in every room is how to make TIME for it. You are probably thinking, “I have an extremely busy life. When I’m finished with my day, I just want to get home and shut myself off from the world.” (Excerpt taken from Neighbor Hubs page 18).
Guess what, you’re not alone.
The reality is that we all have commitments to work, to church, to school, to sporting events, to extended family, to vacations, to fill in the blank. Our lives are slammed packed with stuff. The fact is that I can open and look at my calendar right now only to find my stress level climb. It’s real.
So how do we fulfill our call to make disciples given our busy schedules?
We tithe our time.
I first want to suggest that while becoming a blessing in your neighborhood will take some extra time commitment, we’ve developed a strategy so that it’s not adding much more to your schedule. Rather, it’s simply overlapping the normal rhythms of your life and inviting others to be part of this life with you. Taking an extra 15 minutes to listen to a neighbor as they explain their hurts will cost extra time, I know. But consider it an act of love for someone who may not have a person to listen to. Late last year Jourdan (my wife) and I stood in our front yard just listening to neighbors share their story as they recently lost their one and only son in a tragic accident. We listened and we wept with them. We spent an hour with them that night, and it was worth every second. I know how much it meant to them, and it may have been even more valuable for us. You never know how God will use you when you intentionally make time for others. We certainly didn’t see that one coming.
The Holy Spirit doesn’t wait for your calendar to open up; He just presents opportunities. I was running late to a speaking engagement with a large church in Fullerton, California on a Thursday afternoon. Leaving Irvine with traffic takes you at least 45 minutes to get there. On the way out of my neighborhood I saw some kids selling “Lemonade for a Cause.” I decided to stop even though I was running late (which is rare for me by the way). I paid with a five dollar bill and told them to keep the change; the kids scored a markup sale that was 1000% more than a normal cup of lemonade. I left the neighborhood and jumped into traffic and was a little late for my event. End of story, right? Not quite… I happened to run into the mom of the kids selling the lemonade at the neighborhood park a few days later (she recognized me). She asked if I was the guy that left the five dollars and proceeded to tell me how much it meant to the kids and thanked me. She wanted to teach her kids how to give back to the community and said that I showed them that through my actions. I shared how we’ve been blessed to be a blessing and walked away thanking God that allowed me to bump into her. “I’m glad I stopped,” I thought to myself. Otherwise, I would have missed the blessing…
Tithing takes intentionality, discipline, and sacrifice. It’s not always easy, but God sure does bless us in our obedience.
Your neighbors need you. How much more of your time can you tithe this month?
Want more on how to engage your neighborhood? Purchase a copy of Neighbor Hubs – A Guide to Living Intentionally in your Neighborhood today! Order in the next 5 days and we’ll also send you 2 magnets with your order. (Who is my neighbor? And, How many meals)
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