Lessons from a Homeless Man Part 1

Preacher Gary

When I was in Bible college, I volunteered in a homeless ministry. We walked the “mean” streets of Columbia, Missouri and just built relationships with career homeless. The most dynamic one was a guy who we only knew as, “Preacher Gary.”

Preacher Gary was a little eccentric and had a more than a few strange ideas about Christianity. Some of his ideas are surprisingly insightful, here’s one of them:

God wants Christians to tithe. The Old Testament required a tithe of money, cattle, and crops. And in the New Testament Jesus says that the Pharisees should have tithed even herbs from their garden. As Christians, we should go above and beyond the bare minimum and tithe on everything! So 1/10 of your time looks like 2 hours and 24 minutes, or 1 hour and 36 minutes if you only count hours you’re awake. Do you spend an hour and a half or more reading your Bible or praying every day? How much time do you spend watching tv?

While the sentiment is a little extreme there is a Biblical basis for … some of it. In 1 Corinthians 16:2 Paul calls the church to collect an offering for saints in Jerusalem by: On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. Paul expects consistent, purposeful giving from a body of believers.

Later, in 2 Corinthians 9:6–7 Paul refers back to this gift: The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. So the Christian is expected to be selflessly generous.

Lastly, in Ephesians 5:15–16 Paul talks about living life to it’s fullest: Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. “Best use of the time,” in greek is literally, “redeeming the time.” Your time is not your own, your every minute was bought with a price (1Cor 6:19).

Now let’s temper this with some common sense. Following Christ never requires legalistic rule following and a tithe is no exception. Christians are expected to give cheerfully. It would be wisest to have a consistent, sustainable method of giving. Giving is not simply limited to giving money to your church. Or in the case of time, reading your Bible and praying. You could sponsor a child through a charity, help a friend buy groceries when things are tight, volunteer at a soup kitchen, teach a Bible study. Any one of those would be great ways to give to God, what is God’s.

In light of this, check your schedule and make sure you’re using your time well, was bought with a price.

I wish to express my undying gratitude for your focus and attention: THANKS COOL PERSON!

I have more of these cool things on my blog at lead2.live You’re awesome, and you matter a lot.