For many Christians, giving tithes and offerings are a normal part of life.
Even though I do not think that Christians are necessarily bound by a tithe (or 10%) today, I fervently uphold the principle of giving a portion of our finances back to God since they all came from Him in the first place.
With that said, my wife and I have recently been exploring the surprising truth of the phrase, “Time is money.”
After going through Dave Ramsey’s courses, we’ve begun to budget our finances, taking control of our money. And we decided to do the same thing with our time as well. After all, God essentially gave us a weekly allowance of 168 hours to spent in much the same way we spend our paychecks.
Since I wrote about creating a time budget last week, I will now explore another aspect of our usage of time: tithing.
Why (and how) would we ever do that?
My reasoning goes something like this:
If we believe in giving tithes to God because every cent of our finances came from Him and if we believe that every minute and hour is a gift as well, should we not also give to God a portion of our time as we do with our income?
As I said earlier, I do not believe that Christians are obligated to give 10 percent of our income. The New Testament is clear that we should delight in giving, but it makes no claim on how much we should give. In fact, Paul even instructs the church members of Corinth to give “as he has decided in his heart” (2 Cor. 9:7).
Christians are to be cheerful givers, not obligated givers.
Giving ten percent of our income is a great starting point, but our focus should ALWAYS be first upon the condition of our heart.
A Tale of 2 Christians
The same should also apply with our time.
If God has given us 168 hours each week, a tithe of our time would be about 17 hours.
Obviously giving ten percent would fly in the face of nominal Christianity that only requires attendance of church on Sunday morning… if that.
Sadly, many professing Christians do not spend time each day reading the Scriptures or praying.
They refrain from attending most prayer services, events, or activities outside of Sunday morning, and their attendance on Sunday morning might also be sporadic.
In essence, they give God an hour or two each week.
But let’s take a minute to imagine a different scenario.
My church has three regular services: Sunday morning, prayer, and small groups.
Sunday morning tends to last a little less than 2 hours.
The prayer service typically goes for 1 hour.
And small groups normally take 2 hours.
That’s 5 hours a week.
Add a daily hour of private prayer and Scripture reading, and you would be spending 12 hours specifically dedicated to God and His people.
That still leaves 5 more hours of our time tithe for discussions over coffee with other believers, ministry meetings, community service, or even good ol’ evangelism!
But Isn’t Everything I Do Worship?
Of course, a possible argument could be that a Christian should not need to allocate time given to God since we are called to do everything in worship.
Yes, we should worship and glorify God with every action we take: “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Col. 3:17)
Even though time spent loving our spouse or family is God-glorifying, there is still a need to set aside some of it for God.
Worshiping God by working hard at your job is wonderful, but time should still be made for hearing from God in His Word, coming to Him in prayer, and being with His people.
We are called to worship and wisely use both our time and our finances, and that means setting apart some of our time and finances specifically for God.
But I Don’t Have Time!
Another objection might be the lack of time.
While it is true that some people are exceedingly busy, the truth is that we are rarely as loaded down as we would like to believe.
We can easily fall into the trap of believing that our worth and value are directly attached to the weight of our work-load.
The busier we are, the more important we feel.
I fall into this snare often.
And it’s sinful.
Instead of living in light of God’s sovereignty, I attempt to carry the world on my shoulders, which is a prideful lack of faith.
Of course, after honestly assessing my time, I usually also find that I have much more “me-time” than I thought.
For example, consider this article from 2014 that claims Americans within my age group watch 27 1/2 hours of TV on average each week.
I won’t even venture a guess as to how much time is spent on social media.
So what do you do if you don’t have a tenth of your time to give to God in personal devotions and church services?
Here’s a suggestion: Monitor how much of your time this week you spend watching TV, scrolling through social media, playing video games, etc.
Very few of us will come away from such an experiment happy with how wisely we use the precious time God has given us.
To be clear, I have no intention of placing a legalistic burden upon anyone.
I simply believe that giving God a tithe or a significant portion of time (as with our finances) is a healthy practice.
So, do you agree with me?
Should we dedicate a tenth(ish) of our time specifically to God?
How much of your time each week do you spend at church services, communing with God, or intentionally growing alongside other believers?