I admit upfront; I'm crummy about it. When I open my wallet on Sundays and put whatever cash content it contains into the offering tray (rarely more than a dollar or two, as I don't carry cash as general rule) it's not even tithing. The $10-$20 that trickles into the church in a month is far from 10% of my income. (It probably isn't too far, but still. Am I even trying?)
While I might be thinking to myself, "I should give more," my brain also kicks in with "But I have credit cards to pay off!" So I comfort myself with "Well, I'll give after I pay off my credit cards."
After the credit card is paid off, it'll be some other excuse. Maybe I'll be thinking "Well, I need to save up for a vacation to Japan with Kitty and Bandaid." Perhaps I will decide the naturally necessity of building savings needs to take all of my spare money - and with so little to spare, there simply isn't any left for the unfortunates.
But like all habits, being charitable isn't an action that one day I'll be simply able to turn on like a light switch. On August 27th, 2010 I won't suddenly start writing checks to Habitat for Humanity. Like all good habits, giving has to be learned.
So I'm going to make myself learn. When I sit down to make my budget each paycheck, before I give credit cards their monthly due and start shopping for new boots, I'm going to take ten percent of that check and give it away. It won't be a further part of my calculations; it's already gone. Whether I give it to The Conservation Fund or drop the check into the next Sunday's offering plate, I need to start working this giving into my daily routine.
So what if my work clothes are out of style?
So what if my shoes are a little bit worn?
It might take me a little longer to replace them, but I'll get to it eventually. It's far more important to get my good habits in motion than to continously put it off with "After I buy those shoes for work. And actually, a new work outfit would be good. A few. And I've been meaning to get a new bookcase. And, And, And"