“If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing” (1st Corinthians 13:3).
Many give a great deal or very regularly but never become any less judgmental, rigid, entitled, or duty-bound; in fact, they become more so! God help us! Then again, all of us miss the point.
Dallas Willard says, “Grace is opposed to earning, not effort.”
We can’t get the point until we miss it. None of us do it right until we do it wrong. Because that’s finally when grace has room to work in our hearts. When we fall down and get back up again, when a discipline of giving reveals and then heals our self-delusion, when we’ve tasted the joy and freedom of giving even if we then backslide, there is grace. Grace feeds gratitude and love—for God, for others, for ourselves. Perfectionism starves them. Give with the rhythms grace, not the nails-on-chalkboard of perfectionism.
Writing a check, putting cash in the offering plate, setting up an automatic withdraw from your back account—these are the “outer” efforts of tithing. The “inner” effort is unearning the money you worked so hard to earn. Grace is opposed to earning, remember. Your money is part of the overabundant Flow of God’s love and life (“grace”) to you. You participate with this grace by letting it flow to you and through you. Tithing is the letting go, unclenching, relaxing that lets grace Flow. Blocked coronary arteries hurt your heart and weaken your whole body. How much more dangerous is a blockage to the Flow to and through your soul?
Saint Paul Lutheran Church
715 South Third Street
Clinton, IA 52732
(at the foot of the south bridge)