17 Hours Per Week

Although I’m well familiar with the concept of tithing and do my best to be a faithful tithe payer, yesterday I began thinking of this tenth in other ways besides money. The teacher did a fantastic job as he led the class in considering topics such as whether a person should pay tithing on her gross or net income, whether giving money to charitable causes such as United Way counts, and what exactly happens to tithed funds. Today I want to consider a type of tithing that wasn’t mentioned yesterday.

At some point in my life, I heard the phrase “time, money, and personality” used in reference to tithing, and yesterday found myself thinking about tithing our time. We all have the same amount of hours per week, 168. At the end of a week, how many of us have “tithed” our time? How many of us have spent 17 (let’s round the figure up, not down) serving others, worshipping God, or simply being kind to our fellowmen?  I know people who are too rushed to pray, too busy to read the scriptures, and too tired to go to church. I’m no math whiz (just ask my family), but I know that multiplying 17 by 4 gives us 68, the number of hours per month that we should devote to serving and worshiping  our Creator, the Giver of all good, the One who grants us breath from moment to moment and allows us to move and work and play.

So what does it mean? What can we count? Attending church counts. How many hours per month do you spend doing that per month? How many hours have you spent in scripture study, prayer, studying religious topics, performing services for others? Can we count our hours on the job if they’re spent being uplifting, kind, and generous? Does time spent blogging count if we’re writing about religious topics?

Sitting here at the computer this afternoon, I’m realizing that sometimes writing a tithing check is easier than giving a tenth of our time. And by the way, about whether to tithe on the gross or net income, a class member responded that it depends on whether we want to be blessed on the gross or the net.


Author: jayne bowers

*married with children, stepchildren, grandchildren, in-laws, ex-laws, and a host of other family members and fabulous friends *semi-retired psychology instructor at two community colleges *writer

6 thoughts on “17 Hours Per Week”

  1. The class member gave a very sound response! Thanks for these thoughts, marlajayne, because I do think it counts if we are intending to glorify God and it can become sticky. I know someone who gets food stamps and uses them to help others while her children do without…Not to knock televangelists as a whole, but when elderly folk are guilted into giving what they don’t have, it’s wrong. It’s wrong for anyone and not “a cheerful giver” approach but this is a very common excuse for people to be against church, therefore, God.
    I hope you are well and God is healing your grief.

  2. It’s always refreshing to read your comments. I’m sitting here thinking about the people who give to televangelists, and I’m wondering if I’d call that a tithe or a contribution. Your word “sticky” is a great one for these types of situations.

    About your food stamp acquaintance who’s so generous with others, I feel that charity belongs at home…with my own children first. One could argue that “home” includes all of those sharing our Home Planet, but I tend to take a more narrow view. Just curious: do you think this person gives to others in order to be seen and praised?

  3. Exactly what runs through my mind…charity begins at home, especially when it comes to children! That’s not a narrow view, marlajayne, that’s a fact. Not to overindulge, but a child should have something besides what other people donate once-in-a-while if it’s possible.

    It’s like going from one end of the spectrum (selfish American kids) to the other. One part that angers me is all the animals being fed. If one cannot “do”, that’s to be understood, otherwise, it makes me want to “tell someone off”!! I just can’t afford to give a piece of my mind away!! :-))

    Yes, it’s most assuredly for attention, and I say that with regret. This is someone I spent quite a bit of time with, in a Christian effort, trying to help when I realized she had no respect for the time, money and effort of others.Some things happened community-wide recently that confirmed my thoughts; sometimes we can’t help and are actually encouraging “wrong-thinking”. Christians do not have to be doormats, but I wholeheartedly believe we should give of our time as much as money.

  4. You have a way of looking at things that makes me feel grounded…hope that makes sense. For instance, once I was sharing with a colleague that I thought the most important work I’d ever do was within the walls of my own home. I sincerely believe that even though I don’t always do such a hot job. Anyway, this person asked if I thought my home referred to strictly “my home,” or if I thought the whole world was my home. In other words, didn’t I feel an obligation to others outside of my four walls? He was a philosophy teacher, by the way. I do feel a responsibility to others, but I’m going to look after my children and grandchildren (and husband too of course) before I take on the world to feed and clothe.

  5. To be honest, I didn’t want the “whole village” helping me raise my child…then they are obliged to indoctrinate them! Of course we care, but don’t guilt me over those who want “the village” to do their job or take responsibility for the mistakes they made or were too sorry to address.
    “God gives every bird its food but does not throw it into the nest.”
    (The birds are making some look bad…)
    You opened a can of worms, it seems!! 😉 I sometimes volunteer to hand out food at two local charities and it ain’t pretty! Some are truly pitiful, some are just lazy or convinced by doctors that they have a condition. I knew a girl who would get meds from mental health and sell them for street drug money…Like anything else, we have to trust God to make our efforts come out to the good!

  6. My feelings exactly about raising the children. The only person’s advice I really care about hearing is their father’s because I know that he truly loves them as much as I do and that he understands their hearts, minds, temperaments, and so forth.

    Yes, we do have to do the best we can and trust God to make our efforts come out to the good. I’ve heard many times that when you give a gift to a person (regardless of what it is), that’s the end of it. It’s then THEIRS to do what they want with it. Your part is the giving side, and then you let it go.

    One last comment. I know know why I’d never thought of this before, but the other day I came across something that said, “Jesus was not an enabler.” He helped people and then he sent them on their way. The truth of that hit me so hard! That’s what He did…helped them and sent them on their way.

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