A Changed Heart

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I grew up learning about the Biblical basis for tithing. I understood it, or at least I thought I did. But when I was working hourly jobs as a teenager and young adult, I told myself my pay was too irregular to tithe. I told myself that I needed all of my money. There was no extra. I knew I should tithe, but I didn’t see how I could. When I did happen to have some extra cash in my wallet on a weekend, I’d throw a $20 bill into the offering plate to ease my guilt, and I’d leave feeling great about my “sacrifice.” I was really just a bad tipper at best.

When I got my first salary-based job, I did start to regularly tithe. I made a point to give off the top of my paycheck, because by this point I knew myself well enough to know that it would be gone by the end of the month. Then I got married. Thankfully, Alana had always been committed to tithing and so as we joined our lives, our commitment to tithing to our church was only strengthened.

It was because of her that I also began to see the joy in tithing above and beyond. She had extra things she gave towards, like sponsoring a child and supporting a mission organization in Mexico.

Fast forward through six years of marriage. We continued tithing, increasing as we could. We were still giving above and beyond to other ministries. We even joined the board of a mission organization focused on building a children’s home in Uganda. Yet, after being on the board for over two years we were struggling to feel bought in. Our hearts just weren’t in it. We started to pray and asked God to show us why we didn’t feel very connected to the mission. It was not that we did not love the work being done, or trust the leadership of the team on the ground in Uganda. It was something else that was holding us back.

As we continued praying, God reminded us of Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” That was it – we were giving our time to this ministry, but not our money. We knew what had to change, so we started regularly giving (above and beyond our tithe to the church and other giving) and we began to feel more a part of the organization. We began to sponsor a boy through the home, support the teachers, and give more to help the organization further its goals. Once we made the shift and put some of our treasure there, we began to see that we were involved in making a difference – more so than just spreading the word or voting on some board decisions.

I have moved from being a taker, to a tipper, and then along side of Alana, I am moving from being just a tither, to a truster. And I can say without reservation that as we are growing to trust God with our finances, we are learning to trust God more and more with everything in our lives. Alana and I will continue to ask God to show us areas where we need to trust Him. We will continue to ask Him what we should miss out on, according to the world, so that we can save more and give more to bless others. The current issue on our minds is a vacation we wanted to take to Costa Rica in the spring. What if we put the Costa Rican beach on the back burner and went to Uganda instead? What if we got to actually meet the teachers and the children? What might God do in our hearts then? We’ll keep praying about it!

-Erik Mitchell

2 Comments

  1. I love this post! Such insight from a young couple. Proud of both of you! Isn’t our God awesome! May God continue to bless your young family! Proud you are “extended family” Betty Chapman

  2. You and Alana are such an inspiration – and not just because I’m your mom! I like the way you put that – from a tither to a truster. I like that! And what you said about the Uganda mission – putting some of your treasure there increases your heart for the mission. Excellent! I love you, Son!

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