My earliest memory of tithing is so embedded in my mind. I still remember the smell of peppermints and butterscotch wafting from her purse as Mom would pull out her checkbook filled with bank-issued, yellow checks. She would write our tithe check the first Sunday of each month in that little Nazarene church. As she quietly tore the check from its binding, I remember thinking that she was giving A LOT of our money to the church. Looking back, I realize that it was a very small amount. I’m sure it seemed like a lot because it was such a sacrifice for her to give that 10%. You see, my Dad’s alcoholism and gambling absorbed the vast majority of the pension he received for his time in service to our country. We had so very little. There was nothing extra. Mom had a way of stretching dollar bills into delicious, southern meals and she made for me the most lovely clothes from remnants of fabric out of the sale bin from Shirley’s Discount Store. She went without for herself as she sacrificed for others, but the tithe was a priority. I learned from a very young age that regardless of what the money-to-month ratio looked like, that giving our tithe was a priority. She taught me by her example of obedience.
When Greg and I were engaged, we decided the tithe would be a priority. We seek to teach our children that the tithe is often a very sacrificial form of obedience. While we give our tithe via online banking, we seek to include teaching regarding our family’s tithe on Saturday nights during family devotion.
If I could, I would thank my sweet Mama for teaching me through her example. I pray that our six children see that same obedience in our lives and go on to teach the same to their children.