by Pat Cooper
March 08, 2019
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
— 2 Corinthians 9:8
I don’t practice tithing as such. I practice faithfulness — faithfulness to God and his word, where I find a recurring mandate to support the propagation of the gospel faithfully, consistently and cheerfully with all the resources entrusted to me, especially in my finances (10% is but a starting point). In fact, my greatest thrill comes when my wife places the church check (as we call it) on the dining room table Sunday morning for me to stick in my pocket and drop in the offering basket as we enter the auditorium. It’s the first thing we do on Sundays and the moment worship for us begins.
W.O. Womack owned a small mom-and-pop pest control business, and I was his only employee. We were called exterminators back then, and some of my friends nicknamed me 007 because, in their words, I was licensed to kill. (roaches, rats, spiders, scorpions and other such creepy crawly creatures, of course. Snakes, too. I hate snakes.) At the end of the day each Friday, we would sit together at the Womack’s dining room table where Mrs. Womack would go over the books, adding up the total dollars generated for the week. Once the numbers were in the ledger, she wrote checks paying the bills and paying me. Always written first though, was a check totaling a minimum of 10% of that week’s business income, an amount cut right off the top (the gross, not the net). To this day, I still see that bright smile sweep over her face as she would slip that check into her Bible, ready to be placed in the offering plate come Sunday morning. I bet she smiled then too.
One Friday, Mr. Womack asked me to step out in the backyard with him while Mrs. Womack took care of the books. “Do you want to know why my wife always writes out our offering check first?” he asked. Without waiting to be acknowledged, he began looking back more than 50 years to their beginning. Immersed in his story, almost two, maybe three hours had slipped by before there was an awareness of passing time. Only a darkening sky would indicate day’s end. But before the sun had slipped over the horizon, I came to know a man whose God was worthy, not only of his very best, but deserving of being first in every area of his life, and I understood why the church check got cut first.
Dear reader, that is how I came to make faithfulness a practice. Faithfulness to God and his word where I find a recurring mandate to support the propagation of the gospel faithfully, consistently and cheerfully with all the resources entrusted to me, especially in my finances.
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