We’ve all heard it: “I can’t afford to tithe.” But I think that even among those who do give, the mindset usually is to pay all of your bills and then give God whatever is left over. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Allow me tell you a little story.
Let me preface this by saying that tithing has never been as issue for me. I certainly don’t say that to brag because I’ll be the first to say that there are plenty of other areas I struggle in, but that has never been one of them. I enjoy giving.
But as I sat there in that church pew, staring at the check I had just written to my church, I was having trouble for the first time. As I look back on it now I understand that it wasn’t a lot of money in the grand scheme of things, but 10% seemed like a lot because I didn’t make much money at the time, working part-time at Wal-Mart. I remember talking with God in that moment, doubting His promise and telling Him that I needed that money. I knew I was to give it, so after a brief struggle I told Him, “I am going to trust You to bless my obedience.” And I gave.
When church was over that afternoon, a friend walked up to me and handed me some cash as a reimbursement for something I had spent my own money on the previous week. I had forgotten about it, so that’s always a nice surprise! As I counted it, I realized it was $2 less than what I had just given to the church. That would have been enough to convince me that God blesses, but no. He wasn’t done. The next day someone else gave me $2 as another reimbursement for that same item. That’s the first and only time that two $1 bills made me cry. I was overwhelmed with God’s promises to me; He said in Malachi chapter three to “test Him” on this, and “see if He will not throw open the floodgates of Heaven.” (And who could pass that up?) I had struggled to give God what was due Him, and so I asked Him to show me that I was making the right choice. And in less than 24 hours I received back 100% of what I gave. And I tell this story of God’s provision to anyone who will listen to me!
Now, I am in no way saying that if you tithe, God will make money rain from the sky. But it comes in the form of other blessings; maybe your car hasn’t broken down or you haven’t gotten a flat tire lately. Maybe you haven’t gotten sick and had to pay medical bills. Maybe you got an unexpected raise or a bonus at work. The blessings aren’t always obvious, but they are always there. You cannot out-give God.
Take God at His word: test Him. Step out on a limb and give that minimum of 10%, and watch that remaining 90% go much farther than the entire 100% would have. I know what you’re thinking: “that’s not logical!” Exactly. That’s not logical… that’s God!
So, you can’t afford to tithe? I have to side with Dave Ramsey on this one: “Honey, you can’t afford NOT to tithe.”
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. –2 Cor. 9:6-8
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