I am currently, in my life as a recent college graduate, beginning to take some of those big steps in this season. I was blessed enough in high school and college to have parents who assisted me in many financial matters, legal matters, and other responsibilities. I am very grateful for that, it freed me to focus on pursuing my education with very little worry. Now though, at my ripe old age of twenty-two, I've decided that over the next few years, it's time for me to completely take the reigns on the adult responsibilities of life. The process has been anything but easy thus far, and I am just beginning to realize how many responsibilities there actually are, and how they all need to be negotiated at the same time! Wherever we may be in this process to adulthood though, I believe there is a valuable lesson to learn, either for the first time, or to be reminded of.
Churches talk a lot about the practice of tithing. For some readers, tithing may not be your thing, but if you would indulge me for a second, I'd like to unpack what I believe the heart behind this age old tradition truly is, at it's roots, so that we might come out on the other side with a renewed perspective on our "adult responsibilities".
In the Old Testament book of the law, the Israelites were commanded to give the first fruits of their crop as an offering to the Lord. Why? Because the church said so? No. Because that's what religious people are supposed to do? No. So they could build a baseball field where those first fruits used to be, allowing dead baseball legends to emerge from the fields? Unfortunately, no. This command to give the first fruits of the harvest to the Lord was issued to remind the Israelites of one simple truth.
Nothing we own is our own.
Everything we receive, whether it's our crops, our paycheck, our jobs, relationships, cars, blessings, or televisions. None of it is truly ours. The Bible tells us that every good and perfect gift comes from God (James 1:17) This includes spiritual blessings and material blessings as well. So often we view everything we own as our possessions, our property that we have earned. While we may have worked very hard in order to receive some of these things, at the end of the day all they really are is exactly what the writer of James calls them, gifts. Everything we own has been lent to us by God for the purposes of using it to give Him glory. I say this, not to promote that everyone give away all your earthly assets and responsibilities, but in the hopes that you might come to the same realization I did concerning them.
To use the example of a paycheck, I find that the more tightly I hold onto that money, and the more I micro manage it, and save it into the exact right spots and count every penny every day, the more I worry about how I might not have enough. But when I shift my perspective, and I begin to view that money not as something I earned, but as a gift from God that has been lent to me to use for His purpose, when I realize that nothing I have is my own, for some strange reason, anxiety escapes me. This expends far beyond finance and material possession. When we micro manage our dreams and callings from God, anxiety is bound to overtake us because we are relying on our own flawed strength. But when we truly entrust and give everything we have up to The Lord, anxiety has no room, because now we are relying on His power, the same power that created the heavens and the earth, the same power that parted the Red Sea, and the same power that conquered the grave.
When we begin to view everything we have as a gift, we begin to realize that our"adult responsibilities" are not to make it all work perfectly for our own gain. Our only responsibility is to acknowledge the gift we have received and offer it back up to God for His greater Kingdom purposes. The outcome is His job.