Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Tithing: Part 2.

As I madly work on getting the demonstration version of my church's web site ready to put on the web, I have to stop and marvel at how awesome God is. So, since I actually made the commitment to tithe, what happened? I'm totally fine!

I am financially where I usually am, as I do tend to spend a bit more than I should, but I am also socking away funds for my too-cool-to-even-imagine vacation, coming up in April. But, as always:

"You can't out-give God". A saying that floats around many churches. My life now has meaning, direction, purpose and FUN! Friends, it doesn't get much better then that! Material stuff has never made me happy inside, but having fun-loving and affectionate people in my life, fills me with a quiet contentment (if not a smile and a laugh).

God can't trust you with a duty for Him, until He can trust you not to go off half-crazy. He can't put important people into your life, until you learn how to keep confidences. I've learned, especially, that God won't do any of the above when I believe it is my right and due to have it!

Every day I live, every step I take and everything I do is a gift. I could have died yesterday and not be here right now. Tomorrow isn't guaranteed. I may howl when I get confused about web site design, construction and maintenance, but it is a gift to have a chance to try it again, for another day.

I met a man today, paralyzed from the neck down from a motorcycle accident. His disability always gives me pause. (It scares the liver out of me). But, just like me, he's learned to be thankful and basically content. I am amazed at the level of patience he has had to master. He must wait for everything to be done for him literally by another person! I fear I'd degenerate into a screaming shrew faced with those types of challenges.

God is also honoring one of my prayers. I want to be more aware of Him, even when my brain is doing something. I can sense His presence as I type. There is a kind of personal peace I'm discovering that is almost better then being with people. It is different, gentle, powerful and friendly. When I pull God in on my phone calls, iChats and other computer wonderings, it makes good conversations even better. My friends lavish their time upon me. My friends are all VERY busy people. I am amazed how I am interacted with by a flock of really classy folks. Like me, they have outgrown the need to constantly complain and find what is wrong. They delight themselves with their friends, families and some also have God.

I have real hope today. I don't know how my future will change for the better, but I know it is already in the process of that change. Now that I have finally gotten some control over a once out-of-control pride, God can trust me with praise from others, work for the church and a totally over-the-top vacation. Said vacation partly paid for and arranged by friends I also work for. My yearly vacation blow-out is an event I began after returning to Oakland.

I had abandoned my possessions with the crazy batterer and I was once again, starting over from zero. Dinners at the Marriott led to meeting their General Manager, which led to a really good room rate at this fabulous hotel. I truly was refreshed and relaxed, even though the Marriott City Center is right in the middle of downtown Oakland.

The next year new adventures were added as I learned more of what one can arrange for a vacation. A limo ride into San Francisco where I had the thrill of watching my guest and the chauffeur swap tales of their mutual trade. I did not realize that my companion had been a chauffeur while in college. Laughter was had by all. I have also discovered the absolutely divine amenity of a hot tub right in your room. Now, they make you pay for that, but IT IS WORTH IT!

I love being alone on my vacations, just God and me. I spend my time telling Him everything that is happening, while I'm dining, swimming, walking, or lounging around in a HUGE space (compared to my room). I drink more water, just for the joy of being able to use my very own private bathroom. Oh, man - no running down the hall, sleeping in street clothes because, when nature calls, I have to RUN! Thankfully, my current residence is secure and I no longer look at a hotel as a break from being in some level of danger. God is good to me!

So this April I get to do three days and two nights at a really up-scale Lake Tahoe resort. It is a photographer's paradise! Meadows, mountains, lakes and trees all within walking distance. I plan on using the heck out of my digital camera and you will all get to enjoy the photos, right along with me! Did I mention gourmet food? Four different price levels of heavenly food. Rack of Lamb, to Eggs Benedict (in two different varieties!), Filet Minoan and a lot of stuff I can't remember. This food is amazing. When you've had real gourmet food, you will be willing to pay for it! It's expensive, but so is a diamond. Keep the diamond, but let's hit the restaurant! The company which runs this resort also runs The Argent Hotel and I know their attention to detail and service will be fit for a queen! Did I mention goose down comforters, needle pointed spreads and chairs which compliment each other? I am truly blessed. I get to barrow a CD player, so I can hang out in my room and while looking at the fantastic view, I can enjoy my favorite music. Maria and John chuckle at my excitement, but Maria is also taking a trip to one of her favorite destinations. We're exchanging phone numbers so I can make her giggle with my breathless joy at being treated like I'm related to God!

For me, this all ties into tithing. For me tithing is simply a declaration that I'm serious about my faith. A stake in the ground, an anchor in the sea of life. All the rebellion I used to struggle with has vanished, leaving me willing and able to pour out large chunks of my life and time for God, the church and His people. Some of you may cringe at that. (I used to). Yes, I go to meetings and have a lot to do, but through it all, I'm happy healthy and grateful. I never want to re-visit my days of being adrift in a meaningless world without God, the church and His people. God has taught me how to cut people more slack. I was raised by impatient people and I used to serve up intolerance as a main stay of my personality. Today, I am finding ways to pause before blasting my fellow beings with my (at times) less-then-helpful, opinion or advice. I feel like all the pieces of me are coming together in a new way. How could I have taken so long to learn not to fear being responsible and mature?

1 comment:

steven edward streight said...

I wonder if you like TD Jakes. He and Joyce Meyer and Erwin Lutzer are among my favorites, the few that I have any respect for.

TD Jakes said recently on TV: "I don't want to hear you praise God when He blesses you. I want to hear you praise God when He ignores you, or delays your blessing."

His point was that we have joy no matter what is going on in our lives.

I have suffered so many setbacks lately, it is nearly suffocating me and burying me in trouble and frustration...and I feel fine.

I know you relate to this. I'm glad you're in a good mood and happy and feeling fulfilled.

I miss our Skype calls nightly. Your voice alone cheers me up mightily. You are the perfect podcaster.

Will visit your church site soon. Do put a link to it in your sidebar here...