Sunday, November 25, 2007

Tithing? Home Ownership? Which One? Or Both?

My wife and I this evening made the first step in officially joining the membership of our church. We made a few commitments of how we would become more active and involved in the church. We committed to:
  1. daily prayer
  2. daily Bible study
  3. involvement in the church and community
  4. relationship of a spiritual nature
  5. regular church attendance
  6. tithing (giving 10% of our income back to the church
Half of these things (1/2/5) we already do on a very regular basis. Others (3/4) are easy fixes that would require nothing more than a little effort and time investment from us. It's that big number 6 that promises to be the most difficult for us.

While we are both fully committed to fulfilling our obligations as described above, there's just one thing that sits in the wings right now that makes that last item all the more challenging. My wife and I have been renting our home for as long as we've shared a home. We have long wanted to become homeowners, but have struggled with how to fit it into our budget, with our credit, and all of the other issues that first time homeowners have to deal with.

As I Uttered this morning, we looked at a new home last night in Indianapolis. A beautiful home, only thirteen years old, full of almost everything we've been looking for in a home:
  • four bedrooms
  • two and a half baths
  • a large bonus room
  • a formal living room
  • a family room
  • a dining room
  • a fireplace
  • an attached two car garage
  • a large walk-in closet off the master bath
  • a beautiful view of a pond
  • in a nice neighborhood
Best of all, the price could very well be below market value, depending on how the deal could work out. So we both fell in love with this home, and have decided that we want to seriously pursue the possibility of purchasing this home.

Enter the tithing. We worked up a budget this evening to see exactly what we could afford as a monthly mortgage payment. It sounds like the cost of the new home could be twice what we are currently paying for rent on our much smaller, much older, much less featured home 70 miles from where I work. The way the budget lays out, if we begin tithing, as planned, making this increased payment on a mortgage would be very tight. Doable, but tight.

I've heard all of my life that tithing -- giving the first ten percent of your income back to the work of God -- will pay its own rewards. I've heard numerous people share their stories of how they came into so much good fortune just by following the principles outlined in the Bible as they pertain to tithing. I've also heard that you shouldn't start tithing because you expect to receive such windfall.

It's going to be a difficult thing, I fear. My wife and I have both been feeling some very significant changes in our lives lately as they relate to our relationships with God, and how we feel about becoming more active and more involved in the church. We both feel very strongly about doing what's right, and we both feel that what's right is to tithe, no matter how difficult that might seem to be.

And we both want very badly to purchase our own home. This home. I, in fact, want this more than I have ever wanted it in the past. I don't think my wife has realized that yet, and I haven't told her. I just hope that we can work through this so that we can make this move into our own home and still hold firm to the commitments that we both feel so strongly about.

If you're reading this, and you feel comfortable doing so, please remember us in your prayers.


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