Time for What Lasts
What portion of our lives is given to things that don’t last, things that are gone in a few years, or gone next year, or gone tomorrow? A lot, I’m guessing. Over 90%? 95%? 98%?
It’s the other 10% or 5% or 2%, that we give to what lasts a lifetime, or lasts forever. Doesn’t seem right somehow, does it? That’s the problem with humans—we are so short-sighted and focused on the immediate. (OK, you’re right—it’s one of the problems.)
And it’s getting worse. How many people still treat marriage as something that lasts a lifetime? How many people think there’s anything eternal at all?
If we’re even trying to maintain life-lasting or eternity-lasting things in our lives, we’re… well we’re kind of odd. We’re swimming upstream, and the current is getting stronger. At least that’s my assessment of the situation where I live in North America.
Under the Law of Moses, the Israelites were commanded to give 10% of everything to God. The eternal God. One tenth of every animal in their flock, every bushel of grain they harvested, everything. They had the option of making additional gifts—10% was the floor, not the ceiling.
We have to work, of course. We have to spend time taking care of home and family. God knows this. What He said to Israel was, in effect, “One tenth is required of you. It’s not that I need it, it’s that you need to learn from it. Learn by giving part of your life to me, the eternal, that really all of your life is mine.” God commanded them to give a substantial enough portion to keep them mindful of it, but not so much as to be crushing.
God didn’t need the “income”. (Psalm 50:10-12) A lot of churches make a big thing of their members tithing. Donating to the church, of course, or to a particular preacher. But the tithing under the Law wasn’t about income for the religious institution. Wasn’t about money at all. The tithe was to be given away! (Deuteronomy 26:12-14)
Life can get filled right up with things that don’t last.
We need, we really need, to make sure we’ve carved out a chunk of our lives and dedicated those minute, hours, days to lifetime things and eternal things. God seems to suggest that a tenth is a good minimum fraction—good for us. It’s enough that it’s not casual, not somehow checking a box—it needs to truly cut into the time spent on the things that do not last.
Don’t know about you, but I’m not doing so hot. Life can get filled right up with things that don’t last. Oh, I do spend some time on what lasts. But I think I’m probably more in the 5% or 2% category.
Do I want to be part of the eternal, be a part of God’s lasting family? Of course I do! Guess I’d better act like I mean it. No matter where the current is trying to take me.