Tithing is usually thought of giving 10% of one’s income to the church. I always try to give what I can, but I’ve never followed the 10% rule. I’ve heard of churches that focus quite a bit on members giving a full 10%. That gives me that uneasy feeling of a church being more focused on its members financials than its members faithfulness. I wouldn’t want the church to demand 10% of my money.
Except I realized this season that the church does have a 10% demand. Lent constitutes about 10% of the year (10.9% to be exact). It is a time that is especially devoted to sacrifice and prayer. In a way, Lent seems kind of pointless, because it asks us to do what we already should be doing. And yet, we’re failing. That’s why we need a special time hollowed (hallowed?) out to consciously, collectively, try again. Lent is our opportunity to do what we’re supposed to and try to make it a habit.
Much like a traditional tithe, it isn’t so much about exact change or exact minutes put into the offering. The tithe is about offering a portion of ourselves. It might be more or less than our neighbor’s offering, but like the widow in the temple who gave her last two coins, it is the intention and faith behind the offering that is important. We give what we can. It’s never enough, but it’s part of the journey forward.