How I Came to Tithing

Contributor: Senior Warden, Dick Smith

My first time elected to a Vestry was (remarkably) at another Church of the Good Shepherd (Tequesta, Florida).  At that time, I didn’t have a clue how a church managed to support its services to the community.  I naively thought what was collected in the offering plates would be adequate to pay church expenses.  As a rooky Vestry person, I was then introduced to a foreign concept called the ‘pledge.’ As if that were not enough of a jolt, soon I was assigned to meet other parishioners and personally ask them to pledge so the Vestry could prepare the next year’s budget. 

Just like every other formative event in my life, this created a very real crisis for me.  How could I ask others to commit to something unless I understood what it was all about?  I studied the Bible to help me understand what’s expected of us when it comes to committing financially to the church I had heard about something called the “tithe” before; yet, it seemed outlandish that we would really be expected to give

at least 10% of our income in support of the church. Nevertheless, based on all my research, there was no other conclusion possible

Then, not having any realistic plan for how it could be done, I committed an outrageous act of faith:  I started giving the tithe. 

That was a long time ago and now I firmly believe the fundamental truth: “it is in giving that we receive.”  It is always a challenge to manage the use of money.  But in my experience, it remains ever true that generosity is itself a gift of God’s grace.  Giving is foremost a blessing to the ‘giver.’  It is a real joy and the best thing I do with what has been entrusted to me. 

Tralee Johnson