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Faithfulness through Percentage Living

by on May 17, 2017

“Percentage living” refers to dedicating a portion of something to God, such that the whole thing is made holy. Remember the mini-parable Jesus told about the woman who leavens a whole batch of dough with just a little yeast? That’s the concept of percentage living.

Two things make percentage living a faithful spiritual practice. The first is that we are responsible for determining the actual percentage. What percentage of your life—each day, each week, each year—will you dedicate to God?

The second is that whatever percentage we dedicate to God, that offering occurs before anything else. Giving ourselves to God first ensures that nothing else will interfere with our intention to live in the presence of God.

When we determine in advance what we will dedicate to God, and offer ourselves to God before anything else, our whole lives are “leavened” and become sacred.

Think about how the concept of percentage living applies to your day, your week, your energies, and your finances. So for example, spending a percentage of your day in prayer sanctifies the whole day. Dedicating one day a week to rest and thanksgiving (as the 4th Commandment directs us) sanctifies the whole week.

You can apply the idea of percentage living to any aspect of your life and enjoy the benefits it provides. Percentage living is

  • God’s way of allowing us to participate in the spiritual life
  • Gives us something to actually do
  • Makes our spiritual life more manageable
  • Relieves some of the guilt so many of us feel that we’re “not doing enough” for God

To begin applying percentage living to your life, simply reflect on your life’s resources—time, skills, opportunities, responsibilities, interests, etc.—and prayerfully dedicate a percentage of those resources to God. Figure out what that looks like, and schedule a time when you’ll offer that percentage to God. For example, I have an interest in music. I am dedicating a performance of music to God by playing something in worship this summer. Now all my music playing is sanctified by this gift.

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