Exercising Trust

By: Hunter Jones
I don’t usually like to write using sports analogies. As an athlete through high school and college, I heard my fair share of “life is like sports; sports are like life” anecdotes. However, in Paul’s writings (and throughout the Bible) illustrations about sports and training are used regularly to describe Biblical principles. And, as I set out to say what I hoped to say about trust, the most direct message kept entangling itself with a good, old-fashioned sports analogy.

So folks, here it is: Trust is a muscle. 

If you tuned into this year’s Olympic games, you might know the name Sydney McLaughlin. Sydney is a young woman who beat her own world record at the Tokyo Olympics in the 400 meter hurdles with a time of 51.46 seconds (For context: That’s fast. Very fast.). In the year before the Olympics, Sydney made a change in her training–a big one. She switched coaches. Coaching styles are often incredibly unique, so this may have meant a near complete 180 in training for Sydney. This would mean that when her coach presented a workout or training plan that was new to her, she would need to devote herself to it–completely–to see the full effect. And, because she made this change just a year out from the Tokyo Olympics, she had no time for doubt. She needed to completely trust her new coach.  

Just as an Olympic athlete’s strength is directly related to his or her trust in their coach and their training, so our trust in God is directly proportionate to how often (and how completely) we are willing to exercise it. And perhaps one of the most concrete ways we can exercise our trust in God is through tithing.

While tithing has rich meaning related to stewardship and understanding that all we have belongs to God, as well as providing for the local church, tithing is also a trust exercise. Each month, when we multiply our checks by .10 and give to our local church, we are saying to God, “I trust You.”

But as we exercise this muscle (painful as it may be at the time), something miraculous happens. God promises to show up. In Malachi 3:10, as God speaks to the Israelites about how they have chosen not to follow or trust Him, He states:

“Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”

Perhaps for you, this looks like God providing through a friend who gives without knowing that your tithe meant you would not have all you needed for the month, or perhaps this looks like you rejoicing that your money has contributed to missionaries sharing the Word of God with unreached people in countries around the world.

This one step, though difficult, gives us the opportunity to not only say to the Lord, “I trust You,” but also receive the return of God revealing more of Himself to us. For the one with the financial need, He may show Himself as Provider, and for the one who rejoices at the work of God around the world, He may show Himself as Sovereign. 

Tithing is more than writing a check. Tithing is a command that challenges us to exercise and build our trust in God, opening us up to discover more of His character, and (once our trust muscle is strengthened) to practice trust in God in ways we never imagined.
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