Friday, August 19, 2011


"I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer." ~Martin Luther

Okay, that's math that just doesn't make sense.

Or does it?

I've been preparing for an event that's coming up tonight. I've gotten up early, stayed up late, and given it my all.

But by Wednesday afternoon of this week, I was still feeling anxious and overwhelmed, so I opted out of small group time to get in a solid two hours of preparation. I knew that meant I could run through my teaching four times and feel well-prepared.

But my heart needed preparation more than my mind. I knew it. And so with a two-hour block available to me, I spent almost the entire first hour not practicing. I was, however, preparing in the most important way:

I worshipped. I opened up my Bible. I prayed.

And then I practiced. And something in me knew God was stretching those two run-throughs much further than I could have made four run-throughs stretch.

Maybe when we think of tithing, our mind immediately goes to offerings of money. What about offerings of time? Even on our busiest days, what else should beckon us more than the preparation of our hearts? It seems counterintuitive, but what if sitting at the feet of Jesus is the single most productive thing you could do all day?

I know this passage in Malachi is probably talking about money--but what if we considered these "tithes and offerings" mentioned as offerings of time? Read this through with TIME in mind:

"Will a man rob God? Yet you rob Me. But you ask, 'How do we rob You?' In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse--the whole nation of you--because you are robbing Me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. 'Test me in this,' says the LORD Almighty, 'and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops and the vines of your fields will not cast off their fruit,' says the LORD Almighty. 'Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land," says the LORD Almighty."

Malachi 3:7-11

What if the blessing is fruit that comes from time spent worshipping, praying, and consuming the Word of God? What if God preventing pests from devouring our crops is a picture of Him protecting our time for the remainder of the day? What if we are called blessed and dwell in a delightful land because we offered up the first of our day to Him?

LORD, a tithe of time is a tough offering, mainly because we've gotten too busy. But we know You operate under a totally different economy. Remind us that You can make 23 hours of our day stretch way further than we could possibly stretch all 24 on our own. We can SAFELY offer up to You the first fruit of our day and trust You for the outcome.

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