NOTE TO SELF: My husband was raised Mormon, and he recently told me that it’s very rare that you will ever hear a sermon on tithing or giving. I was pretty shocked when I heard this, considering 85% of the sermons (which felt like lectures or scoldings) I’ve heard in my Christian life have been about giving money to the church.
“The Mormon church believes that tithing is between you and God. It’s personal,” he explained to me, as my mouth still hung open. “The majority of the members tithe 10%. They just understand the importance of giving. However, it’s not always about giving money. The Mormons believe that tithing is also about giving of your time and talent.”
We recently went through one of the worst winters of our lives! We were living on less than $700 a month and our mortgage alone was over half of that. Tithing 10% of our income was not an option. We needed every penny we had. But we had other things to offer: our time, our ears, our shoulders, our prayers, our compassion, our skills, our talents, and our hearts.
Blogging for Gospel for Asia has been such a great experience for me, but it came at a time when I couldn’t give monetarily, so instead I wanted to help them by sharing their organization with my readers. And now that we’ve got our feet somewhat on the ground for the time being, we are finally able to sponsor a child through their Bridge of Hope program.
No one knows that times are tough more than I do, but just because you or your family may not have money to tithe or sponsor a child or give to a charity, doesn’t mean you can’t give “freely” and spontaneously. You just need to think outside of the bank account. Do you have canned goods you know you won’t use? Donate them. Are you not working and have a lot of time on your hands? Volunteer somewhere. I also know for a fact that you have a face and a mouth. Use it. Smile, and smile often. Say hello to a stranger in passing. That is still giving in some way, and it can bless others immensely, more than you may ever know. A very good friend of mine sporadically asks on her facebook status if anyone has specific prayer needs that she can pray for them.
Be spontaneous. Give freely of what you do have to offer.
PRAYER: Father, open our eyes to see the needs of others everywhere we go. Open our hearts to give of ourselves freely and spontaneously. Teach us to be creative with our skills and talents so we may bless others wherever we go. Amen.
JOURNAL: Make a list of your good qualities and talents. Now make a list of ways you can give freely without paying a penny by using those talents!
If you’re at a loss for ways to give “freely”, my friend Marie Wikle started an organization, Spreading Joy, and she wrote a blog, 50 Ways to Make a Difference Without Spending a Penny. This should get you started on your path to giving “freely.”