I know that God still wants me to be more patient because he keeps putting me behind people at the grocery store who write checks. I’m very expedient at the grocery store; I always have a list and do my best to take the most efficient path through the aisles. I always count the number of items I have because 16 items does not qualify as 15 items or less. Even if I have an amazingly efficient and timely run through the grocery store, there’s always the potential of getting stalled at the checkout line, especially if someone is writing a check.
I cannot think of a single purchase or bill for which I use a check. I buy groceries, gas and Chick-fil-A with cash and we pay all of our bills online. My life is completely free of checks and I have saved so much time by not having to sign my name and write amounts in both numbers and letters. Well my life isn’t completely free of checks because there are still those who insist on writing checks for their groceries.
My disdain for checks could possibly be rooted in my own personal experience with writing them. When I first got a checking account I didn’t really understand how banking worked. I would write one check and, thinking that check had cleared, I would write another one. Unfortunately the first check hadn’t cleared and when the second one hit it would bounce like a dodge ball.
The most embarrassing checks I ever bounced weren’t to Best Buy or the Gap, but to my church. I wanted to start the habit of tithing and giving to God, but the rest of my life wasn’t ready for that habit. Instead of giving to God first, I would buy some clothes and movies right when I got paid. When I tried giving to God there wasn’t enough money left. Instead of giving God blind and lame sheep, I was giving him rubber checks.
I’m happy to say that I haven’t bounced a tithe check in a long time, mostly because I give online now. Even if I were still writing actual tithe checks, though, they would go through every time.
When I got really serious about tithing eight years ago I needed to rearrange my entire financial life. It wasn’t enough to just have the desire; I had to follow up that desire with action. I needed to make a budget, curb my spending and give to God first. It wasn’t complicated, but that didn’t make it any easier. Giving God 10% of my income meant going without those purchases to which I had become accustom. When I first started it was hard to stop buying so many movies and video games, but eventually I realized that giving to God and being obedient to him were better than any purchase I could ever make.
I had the opportunity a few weeks ago to preach at our church about my journey with tithing. It has been one of the most transformational spiritual disciplines in my life. It’s easy to euphemize our idolatry of money by saying we’re simply planning for the future and being responsible. If those plans exclude giving to our ultimate provider, though, then they are rebellious and sinful.
If God is speaking to you in this area I’d encourage you to listen to my sermon and see how he might want to challenge you. I don’t have tithing and generosity completely figured out, but by God’s grace I haven’t bounced a tithe check or electronic withdrawal in 15 years.