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Monday, March 17, 2008

Coal Town Hill

We live in a section of Lawrence County referred to by the “Old Timers” as “Coal town”
One of the roads leading into the area is appropriately called “Coal Town Hill”. This is one of those monster hills that as kids only a few of us could brag about being able to ride our bicycles up ----- there were no gears on bicycles in those days. I believe that this is the highest elevation point in Lawrence County. Our house is inconveniently located in a place that is parallel with the lower section of coal town hill but is inaccessible by road. To walk to our home it is necessary to go north clear to the top of the hill, head west then south to almost the bottom of the hill. The whole time while walking this I am tempted to trespass through private property to easily reach my house.

Last September I didn’t even like driving up this monster let alone walking it. I wouldn’t think of trying. I first had to get off my seat at the computer and start walking on the level. I started using the treadmills in the senior center near our house. My first attempts were not spectacular. I could do a mile in around 22 minutes with zero elevation. I worked at improving this with limited success. Obviously the extra weight I was taking on the trip didn’t help. I had to change my eating behavior to accomplish my climb up this hill. This change was a gift from God and a testimony of His power and not mine. I asked for His help. Now I leave my house in the morning and walk 1.7 miles to have coffee with some friends, walk another 1.1 miles to the senior center where I walk two 16 minute miles using an 8% elevation and then walk the remaining 1.2 miles home by way of coal town hill.

Tithing is the same way. There was a time when I didn’t even think of trying -- too hard, I can’t do it. I had to change my mind set to accomplish this. Like the climb up Coal Town Hill it took training and prayer. Most of us can not go from zero giving to ten percent in a moment’s notice. We have to first get off the chair and start. First we need to have a change in mind set. We need to ask God to help us get rid of the excess weight in our budgets so that we are in a position to give to Him first. Some budget changes are easy, others take a while to implement. Sometimes we are stuck with some past decisions that take time and planning to extricate ourselves from. Tithing is a spiritual exercise -- we feel closer to God when we tithe. There are also temporal benefits. When we watch our expenses close enough to tithe, we always seem to be able to save for emergencies. Our financial and spiritual lives simultaneously improve. Like being able to climb that monster hill we are in better shape because we took those important first steps.

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