As “Giving Tuesday” fast approaches, we offer up this reflection on generosity from our Bishop of Canada, Dar Shepherdson. Watch your email the next few days for invitations to share generously!
Tithing: God’s Grace in todays world
When I was 8 years old, in our pre-baptismal class we were told that tithing was 10% of our income, this thinking has long been the traditional thinking within Christianity and one I accepted without question – and I meticulously recorded my dimes and quarters as income and faithfully gave 10%.
A few years later the Church’s position on tithing had morphed from 10% of income to 10% of “increase”, again without much question I meticulously categorized my expenses as necessities or increase and paid my 10% accordingly. In looking back, it was interesting that most of the deep discussions we were having about tithing was not that the premise of giving had changed but “what constituted a necessary expense”.
Little did I realize that even these accounting discussions were my early introduction to the discernment process and into what it meant for us to become a prophetic people.
You have been given the principles of generosity, rightly interpreted for a new time. These principles call every disciple to tithe faithfully in accordance with means and capacity.
—Doctrine and Covenants 162:7c
The giving of our tithing from our generosity or capacity is not an end to our responsibility but the beginning of our becoming the embodiment of Jesus the Peaceful One in extending his Grace to a world in need through our generously giving.
The tithing dollars we generously give should support all the jurisdictions of the Church equally – Local, Mission Centres, and Worldwide Mission, and it is our responsibility not only to use these funds wisely within our own congregations but to faithfully support others who are also bringing hope and peace in areas throughout the world where we cannot.
In a recent Daily Bread article Michele McGrath introduced me to a book “A Bigger Table” where the author John Pavlovitz suggests there are two kinds of Christians: those who see sin and those who see suffering. When we begin to recognize and see suffering, our tithing truly becomes an act of generosity, an extension of God’s Grace – fulfilling God’s call to be a prophetic people.
Yours in Christ,
Gwyn, Kat, and Shannon
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