Experiences In Giving

Shortly after becoming a Christian, my wife, Lourine, who had preceded me in accepting our Savior, told me I had to tithe 10% of my income. Tithe?!?! What?!?! I had had a good year. This was going to be a lot of money. I felt like the guy who had signed the contract without reading the fine print! After considerable counseling by my wife, I did write that first check for 10% of my income. I did try to argue that I had only been a Christian for four months of the year, so I really only owed 3.3% but to no avail.

However, I decided that I should look into this tithing thing. I found that a tithe was an Old Testament sacrifice that acted as one of the signs of those who followed the God of the Bible. Then, I discovered that Jesus had fulfilled the Old Testament Law and that we were free from its obligations. A loophole!?!? A loophole could be very useful! But, actually, it was more of a catch.

As I studied what the Bible had to say on the matter, I realized that tithing had been applicable to those who were waiting for the Law to be fulfilled. Jesus, by fulfilling it through a free and willing sacrifice of everything he was and had, set a new standard of what giving should be and it was more than 10%. For me, as an investment professional, I saw that Jesus, who could claim all of the universe as his own, exchanged all that he had for my liabilities so that I could be credited with all that was his.

Once I understood the infinite magnitude of this sacrifice, I was left to ask myself what did I think was appropriate to give him, since actually, everything that I had was really his. My decision on what I should give was also informed by the realization that Jesus had done all this so that I could be adopted into God’s family, serving him on earth now and enjoying Him in heaven for all eternity and that the apostle Paul encourages me to store up treasures in heaven.

I saw that anything I stored up here in this life would not go to heaven with me. In my best investment year, I was up 120% and in my worst year I was down 50%. Meanwhile, everything that I stored in heaven would have an infinite eternal return. This was one of the clearest portfolio allocation decisions that I have seen in my career. I now strive to give as much as I can for I know that what I keep I lose but what I give I keep. Yes, what I keep I lose; what I give I keep. I still have good investment years and not so good years, but I am always at peace with what I give. To the degree that I am not at peace, it is that I suspect that I could have given more and therefore gained more.

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Articles in this Issue

A Culture of Plenty
Tim Keller
Christians as agents of reconciliation
David Bisgrove
Thank God for his perfect gifts
Thanks for making His Toy Store happen
Recap: The Wonder and Fear of Technology
Make this a Christmas of hope
Elise Chong
City to City International Intensive recap
Meredith Denton
An Announcement from Tim Keller
Tim Keller