Tithing Your Time
When it comes to paying tithing, I have learned that it is easiest to not even put it into my budget. That is, I pretend I'm not even making the money I end up tithing. If I make $100 before taxes, I immediately send myself into an imaginary universe where I have only made $90. Doing it this way stops me from ever facing dilemmas like "bills or tithing."
In this short Sunday Blog entry, I'm going to suggest we do something similar when it comes to time.
Give Your Time to the Lord First
To put it bluntly, sometimes I am awful about giving God the time of day. Sure, I pray and read my scriptures most days. I strive to be good and loving toward others. I go to church each week. But beyond that, I let myself get so busy with work and life that I'm left trying to fit God into the times when I'm most tired, and that just doesn't work very well.
When we get into this rut, I have one simple suggestion: tithe your time.
For me, this amounts to something simple. I think about God first instead of last. I wake up and try to think scriptures and prayer before anything else. Same at the start of my lunch break. Or that brief pause when I'm waiting in a long line. Or when I'm deciding what to do for the evening.
Technology has made it easier than ever to make a decision that you can dedicate to God in a heartbeat. Read a scripture while waiting for your kids outside the school. Create a quick list on your phone of people you know who are struggling you could reach out to. Ponder what you're going to get your mother for Christmas. Say a prayer. Donate a dollar to charity (they will gladly accept even the smallest contributions).
It might sound exhausting, but it really isn't. It's a split-moment thought, and you don't have to act on it every time. It's just a matter of having the thought in the first place.
Life is generally fast-paced, but there are always pauses, moments when you have a choice of what to do for five minutes. Or the choice to wait five minutes before starting the next thing in your endless cycle. Consider tithing this time and pondering, "What could I do in this moment to make myself, God, or someone I care about happy?"
"When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God" (Mosiah 2:17).
Why tithe your time?
I often wonder how some all-powerful being could have interest in little insignificant me, even if he created me as a spiritual parent. Why would it matter to him that I do well on a work project? Or how could he see such divine potential in me while watching me childishly rant in frustration as I drive in rush hour traffic?
Last, if he has such endless blessings in store for me after this life, how could he possibly be okay with me not dedicating all of my time to him? Honestly, this one puzzles me most of all. For whatever reason, God lets me (and all of us) spend most of our time dealing with the day-to-day of this world, not eternal things. Sure, he asks us to worship him on Sundays and reverence him throughout the week, but for eternal happiness, this seems like a low price to pay. Yet, he accepts it.
As I was recently troubled by these thoughts, a friend shared a scripture with me: "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:" (Romans 8:16). This scripture doesn't prove to me that God exists, or cares about me. It reminds me that I know it in my heart those things are true. That I have felt God's touch in my life. That he is perfectly loving and loyal, and yet is okay with the fact that I'm not anywhere close to that, at least not yet.
Truly, I believe that he will bless us with eternal joy for striving to honor him and keep his commandments, even as we lumber forward imperfectly. That is my faith, and with it, I want to do more and give him the best of me, better each day.
I hope all of us have that desire, at least from time to time. And maybe this little exercise of tithing our time can be a tool to help us get a little closer to putting the Lord first.