When it comes to tithing to ministry and cross-cultural missions, every penny counts.
My husband and I have an agreement. We tithe his paycheck to our local church. I have free reign to send the tithe from my writing income to a mission or ministry of my choice as the Lord lays on my heart. Like a child who gets twenty dollars from Grandma, I bet I spend those tithe checks several times over in my mind before I actually decide who I should send it to each time.
In recent years, as I’ve ventured into fiction writing which takes many years of hard work before it begins to pay back, I haven’t had any money to give. This bothers me. I love to give to missions. I have a passion for world evangelism. I love blessing God’s people here in my own neighborhood and demonstrating Jesus’ love to those who need it. Each year my church holds a Faith Promise Rally where we pledge to give so much to World Missions in the coming year. But with no salary of my own, I have nothing to give.
Recently I received a royalty check for a short story published in an anthology. Since twelve other writers shared the pages with me, I didn’t expect much. Frankly I was surprised when my first royalty check equaled a whopping $32! As I took my check to the bank, I thought, “I need to take some out for tithe.’
And then my bubble of joy burst.
Do it anyway, the Spirit’s nudge insisted. Because it’s right. My job was to be faithful in giving and let the Lord decide how my money would be used.
Instead of writing a check, I stuffed cash into an envelope. I didn’t want anyone to know I was the one who was so stingy to world missions!
It wasn’t till I got home that I realized I was guilty of comparing myself to other people. In God’s economy, $3.20 can do great things.
I’ve thought of nine things $3.20 will buy that can impact the cause for Christ. Can you add to my list?
- A skein of yarn, knit or crocheted into hats to give to a home for the elderly homeless in Romania. Check out Kim Jackson’s wonderful ministry here.
- Pencils and other school supplies for a child in a Christian school in Guatemala. The influence of Christian Schoosl such as Morning Glory Christian Academy keep kids off the streets, making them less vulnerable to human trafficking. These young people are growing into responsible, God-fearing citizens, willing to rebuild their country instead of fleeing to America.
- Bus fare for someone going to trade school or a job interview.
- A fast food sandwich for a homeless person.
- A package of socks for a single mom who works three jobs, cares for three children, and is too exhausted to keep up with her own laundry. A ministry called Pennies From Heaven did that for one beleaguered day care worker.
- Coffee for a missionary and a contact that might lead to a significant conversation about salvation in Christ. My daughter had such a meeting at a café when she worked overseas. At that coffee chat, she was able to give a Bible to the young woman.
- One Bible or two New Testaments in Spanish. Check out Biblica Direct, a great source for outreach Bibles.
- At least one Christ centered book in a non-English language as translated and published by the ministry of Phil and Susan Casey, Literature and Teaching Ministry. I love this ministry that makes Chrisitan literature and commentaries available to church leaders in other countries. I’m amazed at how little one book or tract can cost. Just think of the ripple effect one book on Christian doctrine might have on an entire people group.
- The ingredients for a batch of cookies for a local college campus Christian ministry. Students at the Western Illinois University Campus House love homemade cookies, especially around finals time. What a joy to show the love of Jesus to the students! It could also purchase a package of hot dog buns and hot dogs for a campus outreach at Ohio State University where Christian students distribute free hot dogs outside a nearby bar.
Those are my ideas so far.
No matter how the money is ultimately spent, it might be the exact amount needed to reach the monthly goal of a missions budget. It’s a known fact among Christian leaders that missions support doesn’t come from a few wealthy, generous givers; rather, it’s made up of many checks of small donations, surprisingly from widows and couples on pensions. Your little plus many other little gifts add up to make a lot.
Malachai 3:10 says:
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”
The whole tithe, even if it is just $3.20. Because with just a little bit, God can do marvelous things.