A Tithe of Time

By Not Known

For many of us, our most precious and most pressured resource is time. We
shorten sleep, multi-task, double book and cut corners to try and squeeze more
and more into the day. The Bible says a lot about time. It is ultimately in God’s
hands and there is a natural cycle for ïts use (Acts 17:26; Ecc 3:1-8).

There is a time to work. The Ten Commandment assume that all our work will
fill six days weekly (Ex 20:9). This work includes family and community
responsibilities as well as employment. Paul urges the duty of work as a Christian
duty and warns against idleness (2 Thess 3:8-12).

There is a time to rest. In Old Testament faith, this was expressed through the
commandment to Sabbath rest (Ex 20:10-11). From Friday sunset to Saturday
sunset, no one did any work: neither family, nor domestic servant, visitors or
even animals. After a hard week’s work, the Sabbath provided welcome physical

The Sabbath was a tithe of time, just like a tithe of wealth. It was a weekly
reminder that everything came from God’s hand. It was a declaration of trust in
God – for an hour spent in rest or worship was an hour not given to self-trust
through busyness in making money.

By Jesus’ day the Sabbath had lost much of this significance and was surrounded
by petty regulations and self-justifying legalism. Jesus rejected and
reinterpreted this Sabbath (eg. Mk 2:23-28). After his resurrection, the
Christians’ focus shifted to Sunday (e.g. 1 Cor 16:2; Rev 1:10) and Sabbath
keeping was not imposed on non-Jewish convert (Act 15:19-20).

Few Christians today feel an obligation to keep Sunday as a Jewish-style Sabbath.
Many of us work on Sundays and we expect others to work in the shops,
restaurant, movie houses, transport services and such like that we frequent on
Sundays. Whether this is for our good is a moot point.

The notion of giving God a tithe of our time is attractive. This is a time to pray, a
time to worship, a time to learn, and a time to serve. When giving this tithe of
time, we remind others and ourselves that God is God and that he has the first
call on all we are and have. And, as in Old Testament Israel, a tithe of our time
is a declaration of trust in God’s faithfulness and provision.

Do we have time for God?