After he had been named "National Football League Rookie of the Year," Barry Sanders held out for a five-year contract that included a $2.1 million dollar bonus. The fans and media accused him of greed but were silenced when they learned Sanders sent a check for $210,000 to the Baptist Church he attended when he was growing up.
Sanders has TITHED ever since he left home. If you don't know, a "tithe" is giving 10% of what you earn to God and His church. Skeptical Detroit Lions teammates whispered, "Just another God-squad-der." But Sander's un-sanctimonious style of living quickly won over his teammates.
Shortly after his holdout, Sanders left a practice drill. "I don't know if I can go back in there," he gasped to Coach Wayne Fontes. He wondered what was wrong with his prize rookie running back...in fact, the league's best running back that year.
"What's wrong?" asked the alarmed Coach. "Are you hurt?"
"No! But the guys are using some awfully foul language. I don't know if I can stand it." A very few awkward moments passed. Then the fun loving, joking, happy Sanders cracked up and jogged back to the huddle.
There are a number of life lessons here...for one, tithing is God's plan for all of us. Tithing is a responsibility, a stewardship of handling all the things God has given us. When we tithe, we are saying we know who really is in charge of this world.
For another, Sanders was a man who lived His relationship with God in a real world winning the respect of the people he influenced. He lived what he believed! You are never to begin the discipline of being a tither in every sense of the word!
"Bring the whole tithe into the church...and see if I will not throw open the windows in heaven and pour out a blessing..." (Malachi 3:10).