Every once in a while, it is important to make sure we all know where the money comes from to help St. Michael’s live into her vision of Transforming Hearts Through Jesus Christ. Let’s start with the myths:
Myth One: No, St. Michael’s has no secret endowment or any other fund used for day-to-day operations.
Myth Two: No, St. Michael’s Church is not given money by the government simply because we are an historic landmark property.
Myth Three: No, St. Michael’s Church is not given money by the Diocese or any other denominational structure.
The Realities: Every cent used for operations comes strictly out of your tithe. About 250 of you tithe to St. Michael’s Church, and we are grateful!
Most don’t realize the cost of keeping the doors of our historic church open. It’s hard to believe, but just to pay for healthcare for staff, we spend $160,000 per year. All costs of operating St. Michael’s come down to this: it costs approximately $6,000 each day to open our doors. I’m so grateful for those who follow the biblical mandate of tithing.
I share these myths and realities not to guilt anyone into giving, but to clear up confusion. Your tithe comes to a very special place and is the best investment you could ever make. There are many reasons for this.
Tithing is simply a fruit of our discipleship. Tithing is further investment into your life as a disciple. Remember, discipleship means learning to live, look, and love more like Jesus. As we live into discipleship, tithing becomes something we crave to do. As we learn what Jesus did and how He gave His life, we too desire to live the life of giving away what is rightfully His. So, tithing 10% is simply our lifestyle and fruit of discipleship.
This leads to what I like to call the Boomerang Effect. This week, I preached on Isaiah 55:11. God reveals to Isaiah, “The word that goes out from my mouth will not return to me empty.” Chapter 55 of Isaiah is one of the most beautiful in this long, prophetic book. God speaks of his power and that the word from His mouth will not return empty but instead reap great blessing.
The best analogy from this teaching is the boomerang. A boomerang is a tool designed to return to the thrower. It is a weapon used by indigenous Australians for hunting. Today, it is simply a fun recreational activity, like throwing a Frisbee that flies back to you. How amazing! Tithing is like this. As we tithe, we are always, always blessed. We give it away only to receive something pretty amazing in return.
It’s very different from throwing a stick. When you throw a stick, you should expect nothing in return (unless your puppy is involved). But in throwing a boomerang, there is a convicted expectation it will come back. Hopefully, we would use a boomerang and not a stick to describe our lives of faith, prayer, and tithing: As we pray, expecting that God hears and will reveal Himself in return; as we give, God sees and hears and gives blessing in return.
Let me be clear, it may not be a financial, physical, or relational blessing—but it might. You might see a direct return on your tithing investment immediately, or only over the long haul, or maybe not until you get heaven bound. That’s not the point. As we are faithful, we reap the faithfulness of Jesus. Again, we don’t always know what that “return bound” blessing might look like. But we do know this: The boomerang, the tithe, will not return empty. It produces boomerang stories of faith, prayer, and tithing!
Yes, tithing is the best discipleship investment you could ever make. The boomerang effect results in the powerful blessing of seeing people come to faith during Vacation Bible School, the Alpha Course, and life groups. We see the return investment in healings and generations of men, women, and children going deeper with Jesus.
So, I urge you, join your brothers and sisters who, in response to discipleship, tithe ten percent. Be prepared to catch the boomerang!