First, let me say that I respect how each family decides to handle their money, but as a believer, God has truly "come through" for our family on His tithe test! Second, my intention is not to brag about our financial situation, but to illustrate how trusting God with your money brings His blessings. Malachi 3:10 says: "'Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the Lord Almighty, 'and see if I will not throw open the flood gates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.'" There's no questions here about what God wants! He even says TEST me! So we did...
While Tim and I were engaged we enrolled in Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University at our church in order to straighten out or finances before we got married. We were both walking into the marriage with A LOT of debt from student loans, new cars, and credit cards. Within a year and a half, following Ramsey's plan, we paid off $70,000 in debt. In order to do this we had to be "gazelle intense" as Ramsey calls it, pretty much living on the BARE minimum and working hard to reduce debt. He describes this by saying, "If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else." During this gazelle intensity stage we did not tithe. Once our credit cards were cut up, and our debt demolished, we finally had the opportunity to test God in his tithe challenge.
Here are two personal testimonies for tithing: 1) Two years ago Tim and I decided to change our pay schedule (going from getting paid twice a month to once a month) in an effort to make budgeting easier. Long story short, it meant that that month we wouldn't be receiving $3,000 we're used to seeing in our bank account, which we use to live on and pay bills. I was freaking out a little bit. What are we going to do? (Remember, we don't use credit cards anymore at this point.) Two days later, we're in Tucson visiting family and my husband's dad hands him a printout of a savings account balance in Tim's name, that I was unaware of and Tim forgot about. Guess how much sat in that account? Yep! $3,000. Can you believe it? God said "test me in this," and He wasn't joking! The even more amazing thing is that we never had to touch that money. SOMEHOW, we had enough to make it through the month. 2) Over the last couple of months our budget just hasn't worked out and we ended up running short on cash. The house we rent on post is more expensive than we were previously paying and we're no longer receiving extra pay for Tim's deployment. I've been praying for the last month about our finances and all of a sudden several hundred dollars more sits in our checking account. Tim investigated this unexpected boost in his pay and discovered that once he has been flying for a certain amount of years his flight pay increases. Talk about timing! Again, God has blessed us for giving, just like He said.
I understand that God works in ways we do not comprehend and sometimes He may not answer our prayers, allowing us to be in financial difficulty for a purpose we cannot understand, while growing us in Christ. I am fully aware that at any moment He may take our financial blessings away, and should that happen, I pray I would still trust in Him to provide for our family. Lastly, I love this saying our church posted last week during the offering: "It's not a debt you owe, it's a seed you sow." AMEN!
Thank you for our abundant blessings. Help us to remember that "our" money is really Your money; we're just managing it. Please guide me in budgeting and spending our money each month. Help me to use our finances to bless others in Your name. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.