I’ve often said there are two things single parents are short on: time and money. Somehow though, a single father or single mother has an uncanny ability to make dollars stretch further and find a way to do the work of two people in half the time. True as that may be, it brings up the question of if we, myself included, are consciously and regularly worshipping God with our financial and intangible resources—such as time?
I promise I’m not going to turn this into a mini-sermon on what tithing should or should not be; but I do want to emphasize the importance of sacrificially giving the Lord our firsts and best. Check out the passage in 2Corinthians 8:1-6 about the church of Macedonia. Despite their deep poverty and afflictions, they not only gave joyously of their material goods, but also themselves. They had such a firm grasp on what Jesus had done for them that the natural byproduct was to do the same for others. Friends, that is a common thread through the entire New Testament.
Hold on, Matt, you just said single parents are short on time and money—now you’re telling us to give both away? I’m not telling you to do anything, but merely explaining that when we take these steps of faith we are blessed on the other end. To be honest, my main objective in writing this blog is to share with you the conviction and now blessing of something I recently experienced myself: slowing down! A couple years ago I was at a parenting conference and one of the speakers gave a perfect explanation of the word BUSY:
Ouch! That one cut me to the core and I haven’t been able to shake that thought ever since. Somehow over the years, though, I regularly find myself mismanaging my time and not giving God my firsts and best of what He deserves. As it would happen, I just got back from another conference where I received a very clear revelation as to how chaotic my current schedule was, what it was doing to my walk with Christ, and how the rest of my life was being affected. I have now committed to several key changes in my routine when it comes to tithing my time:
- Routine has now become relational
Busyness takes what is meant to be intimate and holy time with God and turns it into another spoke in the wheel of our life. I challenge you to do what it takes to get from a place of going through the motions in your quiet time with the Lord to making it a time of sanctuary and sacrifice. This may mean switching a morning or evening routine around, but just like the sacrificial giving of our financial resources, if we give God the best of our daily schedule, He can and will bless the rest.
- Understanding the battle we are in
Whether we want to accept it or not, we are engaged in a battle for ours (and our children’s) hearts, minds, and souls the moment we wake up each day. Having this knowledge, why not pray specifically for what you may be going up against? If you are going to a job you do not enjoy, pray specifically for God’s leading and protection at work. If you are having difficulties with your ex, pray specifically for your heart and theirs. Leave no cracks in your armor—ask the Lord to cover anything and everything you will encounter each day.
- Be still
Psalm 46:10 says, Be still and know I am God. We can break that small passage down into two spiritual disciplines—being still (on the outside, but especially on the inside) and knowing He alone is God—the only one that is all-powerful, all-present, and all-knowing. It takes time (yes, we must make room for this) and effort on our part, but the result brings us to a place we would have never reached on our own.
A couple years ago I took a big leap of faith by increasing my financial giving to the church, and it has been blessed. Now, I am doing the same with my time. I am a busy person—but I refuse to choke myself by being under Satan’s yoke. God gets the best of my morning quiet time now. I don’t know how or where the rest of the time for work, ministry, and family will come from—but I trust Him. What areas are you lacking in spiritually, financially, and physically? What steps are you willing to take to turn them over to the Lord, so He can do what only He can do? Find great assurance that when we walk in faith and obedience, God can turn the little things into more than we could have ever asked or imagined.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for; the conviction of things not seen…And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for He who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. –Hebrews 11:1, 6 (NASB)