As a new Christian many years ago, I was introduced to tithing by the Pastor of the Church I attended. I gave – as many people do today, whenever I had the opportunity. I was quite ‘poor’ then, and had little to give financially, but would put whatever I could into the offering each week.
As time went by and I grew in my faith, one night the Lord spoke to my heart and reminded me of the one-tenth He asks of me… I was convicted in my heart to be obedient to God, so I started paying God first out of every check. One tenth right off the top – went to my church for many years.
During all of those years, even through severe abuse (where I was strangled nearly to death twice), great debts, in which I lived in a run down duplex with old and torn second hand furniture (and very little of it mind you), the Lord proved that He is faithful when His children obey Him. There were times I should have been dead – He spared me. There were times they should have hauled me to jail for not paying my bills – He spared me. There were times there was nothing to eat – He provided an abundance to me. It went on, and on. No matter the situation, I was well taken care of by my Father in Heaven.
Until that is – I got comfortable in my situation, and became financially successful. It wasn’t intentional – I had moved, couldn’t find a church I liked in my new area, and I started stepping away slowly. Before you know it, I was not tithing anymore. Things went ok for awhile. I rose to the top. I gave of other things, and shared my money eagerly with others and my community. I didn’t attend church, so I figured I was ‘tithing’ by giving an abundance elsewhere. Wrong Answer!!!
I lost my very successful position, and could not find work for over a year in my field. I was still taken care of – I had food to eat and a place to live, and received an Unemployment check – for awhile anyway. After spending all my savings (which was supposed to go to buy me a home), and maxing out every credit card and any other avenue I had (I owed several people personally in the thousands!) – it got frightening. I was seriously looking at being homeless and being forced to go bankrupt (of which I strongly refused to do if at all possible).
I was forced to move into a small garage, and take a job making much less than I was qualified for. I worked all the overtime I could, but there still wasn’t enough money to ‘save me’. I worked diligently with my creditors, and paid as much as I could. I was still being blessed in my faith, as far as being taken care of. The Lord allowed me to receive a consolidated loan based solely on my integrity, through a place that I had worked years before. It was unheard of that a financial institution would do such a thing at the time, but it was my miracle. It spared me from bankruptcy. Though I did not tithe as He had asked me to, I was obedient in other things, and He took care of me. But there was no abundance – of anything. It was pay check to pay check and barely that. My car was falling to pieces, and broke all the time. It seemed like I would just get a breath of fresh air in the finances and then along would come something else to eat it up.
Not long after having my first child, my back went out severely. I had to seek a chiropractor, yet again had no money nor insurance to do so. The Lord led me to a wonderful office, who gave me a special ‘deal’ and proceeded to treat my spine. In the process, I learned that the two doctors were believers. I would have great conversations with one of them – a very sweet 7th Day Adventist believer. And because I am vegetarian, we would talk about foods as well. One day she happened to mention her parents, and how they had come to this Country with nothing but their faith. But how they had always sought out a church and made sure they gave a tithe of at least 10% of anything they had been given or earned – resulting in their great financial success today in owning several (vegetarian) businesses – they tithe much more now. 🙂 As she spoke, chills went up my spine and I recalled what the Lord had said to me years ago about tithing. It hit me like a brick in the head! That was what was wrong – I had left Him out of my finances!
I went home and immediately looked up the address to the church that I had attended in previous years. I figured though I didn’t have a church to attend, I could mail my tithe to church I had attended before. I also figured I probably owed them at least that much from all my years of attending there that I did not tithe. I also asked the Lord to lead me to a church in my area that I could attend and tithe to instead.
You wouldn’t believe the blessings and how rapidly they poured in on me from the day I mailed the first check! It was remarkable – debts were unexpectedly written off, interest rates dropped on only my debts, without explanation. Slowly but surely with each paycheck – there was more left over. But how?!! I didn’t make any more, and I was paying out more with the added tithe in my budget – but I’m telling you – it was there! Things just seemed to work all by themselves. Even when I lost my job again, and was on unemployment once again, I tithed off of that – sent those checks (I still didn’t have a church to call ‘home’ yet), and I was still getting ahead financially!
Long story short – I was able to buy a home, get married, have another child, given more work opportunities paying me MUCH MORE per hour, buy what I wanted, and pay off all debts!! Yes really! Through diligent tithing and budget planning – I was debt free. I was led to a new church in 1998. As soon as I started attending, I switched my tithe, and no longer sent it in the mail to my old church, but instead took it each week to the church I was attending.
Once again, I was blessed beyond measure, and was able to bless others through my abundance. I am not worried – I have already tested the Lord in this, and He proved beyond measure what He will do, if we do what He asks of us. In fact recently He led me to a book (Larry Burkett series) that showed me that all these years I was tithing, I was doing it wrong. Can you imagine – I did it wrong and He still blessed me beyond measure?! I recently learned that I was supposed to tithe on my gross income – not my net income. Oh my! I apologized to the Lord for my lack of knowledge, and immediately adjusted my budget to tithe on my gross income – ouch!
You see – if you look at it properly, all is given my God. Therefore, your paycheck – before taxes (all of it in other words) belongs to God. And if we follow Biblical principle appropriately, we are to pay the Lord first – 10% of what He gives us, then the government, and then us and everyone else.
So as uncertain as our economy is right now, with the unemployment rate so high, and many people out of work – I am faithfully adjusting my budget according to God’s Word. You guessed it – the blessings poured in the first week!!!
It goes on and on – it is endless! There are weeks that I do the budget and it looks like I am barely going to squeek by — and suddenly a rebate comes from somewhere, or an ‘extra something’ gets done for me, or I am given things, or for some strange reason the bill is $100 less this month – what?!!! You have no idea how many times that happens!!! I love it – and each time I try to remember to thank the One who gives it all – my Father in Heaven.
I cannot say enough about tithing – when God said to test Him – He meant it. Try it! You have NOTHING TO LOOSE and EVERYTHING TO GAIN! Have faith – I know how frightening it can be – believe me! I’ve had no money for gas, I’ve had my car break AGAIN with no money to fix it, I’ve been jobless many times, I’ve had creditors call and harass me, I’ve been close to bankruptcy and even jail because of my debts. I’ve been full of pride and thought I could do it “when I got the money” – don’t go there. If you’re there – run – get out of there – give to your church what the Lord asks of you. We’ve all heard Pastors talk about it in some way or another, and maybe you’ve got a sour taste from a previous encounter – don’t let that spoil all the blessings that the Lord has to give you! He loves you – He wants to give you all that He has for you, but He will not go against His Word. It is written;
“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in My Temple. If you do, says the Lord almighty, I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in. Try it. Let Me prove it to you” (Malachi 3:8-12) NKJV
If you see the Temple as the church today, and if you visualize the food as being His Word to feed those who are hungry for Christ – do you get it? God has designed the church to be run with the appropriate funds of His people. He provides the people with the money, and He provides the church. He even goes a step beyond as we are faithful to Him in giving to the church – He gives us abundantly more! Wow!!! I don’t know about you – but I think we’ve got a pretty AWESOME God looking out for us!!!
I know it can be hard, especially when your cupboards may be empty, your car broke down, you may be jobless, and there may be seemingly incredible debts to pay. But take it from one who’s been there – though it appears hopeless financially – there is hope. Even if you have little, 10% is all He asks. He promises to give you so much more in return – and I’m living proof that He does!
Robin R. Robbins