Read: I Cor. 9:23-25 |
I like to watch the Track and Field events called the “Hurdles”. Some hurdle events are sprint hurdles races and some are long hurdle races. Additionally, the heights of the hurdles are different based on gender and level of competition from grade school to professional.
The goal is run the race while staying in the assigned lane and jump over each successive hurdle in the fastest time possible. In order to hurdle properly and not simply jump over the hurdle, a runner must train and develop muscle coordination to approach the hurdle properly. Athletes attack the hurdle by launching over it from a few feet away. The runner extends the lead leg with a slight bend in it so that the heel just narrowly clears the height of the hurdle. After launching, the runner tucks the trail leg horizontally so that it is flat and close to the side of the hip. The objective is to minimize the center-of-gravity deviation from normal sprinting and reduce time spent flying through the air. [Source: Beginner’s Track and Field: Learning the Hurdles]
Typically, the runner takes three steps before encountering the next hurdle; at that point, the process repeats for the remaining hurdles.
Now let us relate the “natural” to the “spiritual”. When it comes to Tithing, we can also encounter hurdles.
First, we must recognize that we are in a “hurdle race”! We “will” see hurdles; it is not just a sprint, we are in a long race. When we see the hurdle coming, we need to take three steps to clear that hurdle.
First Step – Prayer
The first step is to pray. We pray that God helps us set aside and protect His offering. We know that Satan will hit us with bills and once in a lifetime’s sale. Nevertheless, we must pray to be steadfast and unmovable. We must ask him to bring to our remembrance other similar hurdles, which we have heard of, seen or experienced. Clear the hurdle by staying in our lane with God’s help. He will help us meet every financial need.
Second Step – Trust
The second step is to trust. We trust that if God allowed the hurdle to be in our life then we can clear it! Often times the hurdle appears bigger than it actually is. At other times, the hurdle is big, but God never intended for us to overcome it without His help. Trust in the Lord and He will guide us over the hurdle.
Third Step – Action
The third step is to act. We are to act on what the word of God says. God keeps all of His promises. God wants you to try him!
Those are the three steps for the Believers that are willing to attack the hurdle. However, we also have Believers who do not address the hurdle in their lives. Some Believers stop and linger in front of the hurdle waiting for God to move it, they want to go in someone else’s lane to go around or under it, and still others may run the other way only to find taller hurdles.
For hurdle challenged Believers, the hurdle may only be as high as their wallet but looks like a ten-foot hurdle. The challenge is to look at the hurdle from God’s perspective and not ours. The battle and the hurdle is not ours, it is the Lord’s. Study His Word and develop the spiritual muscle coordination needed to approach the hurdle appropriately. Trust His Word and see if He will not deliver.
We are in a race. The race is a hurdle event. The race is not for the swift, but the strong. As we count thru our steps Pray-Trust-Act and leap over hurdle after hurdle, we will find the hurdles getting higher. Though they get higher, the steps do not change. We still need to Pray-Trust-Act as our faith grows. We will find that the things, which used to be a hurdle in the past are no longer a hurdle at all.
A. When it comes to Tithes and Offerings, what hurdles trip you up and cause you to stumble or doubt?
B. Are the hurdles that trip you up for Tithes and Offerings the same hurdles that cause you to stumble in other parts of your life?
A. The first step of “Prayer” is easy, how do you develop “trust” and the courage to “act” on your faith? Discuss with a Prayer Partner or post a comment for what you have done.
B. When it comes to giving a Tithe or Offering, what makes it hardest to clear the hurdle 1) I do not trust or know where the money is going, 2) I need everything I make, 3) The tithe and offering isn’t Biblical, 4) Other Reason – (Please specify)? Discuss your answer with your Prayer Partner or post a comment for a broader discussion.
A. Looking back in your walk as a Believer, what hurdles did you face that are no longer a hurdle. Share a few with your Prayer Partner or post a comment.