Monday, January 6, 2014

Our Tithing Testimony

"Will a man rob God?
Yet you have robbed Me!
But you say,
‘In what way have we robbed You?’
In tithes and offerings.
You are cursed with a curse,
For you have robbed Me,
Even this whole nation.
Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it."
Malachi 3:8-10 

Yesterday, Ronnie Hill was our guest pastor.  While he typically delivers evangelistic sermons, yesterday Ronnie Hill spoke to our church about tithing and going above.  It hit home with some of the upcoming decisions we're going to be making, but it also prompts us to share our testimony about what happened when we started began to tithe diligently one year ago.

Prior to 2013, we'd endured several years of financial instability.  While there were ups and downs, the downs outnumbered the ups.   The ends frequently failed to meet.

In November 2012, the Sunday following Barack Obama's re-election, our Pastor delivered a message on tithing.  We did NOT want to hear that message that weekend.  Cahnman's Musings doesn't object to hearing difficult messages at Church, but we really did not want to hear about tithing on the Sunday following Barack Obama's re-election.  We left Church mad as a hornet's nest that day.  But it was the message we needed to hear.

In Malachi 3:9, quoted above, God asks us to test Him on this topic.  It took a few weeks, but eventually we decided to take God up on this offer.  We resolved, in January 2013, to diligently tithe 10% every week.

It worked, although the path has been a bit of a zig-zag.

Some statistics:
  • One year ago, our bank balance was in the single-digits (it was negative the day of the sermon in November); today it's four.
  • Our rent is, literally, half of what it was a year ago.
  • We have the most stable day job we've had in a looong time.
  • Longer-time readers should remember this phone; it rose from the dead 5 more times before finally giving up the ghost in October.
  • We've had numerous opportunities to sow seeds, even if they've yet to germinate.
It's important for readers to understand that the transition did not happen over night.  The first six months of 2013 saw our expenses decline dramatically.  Our income didn't pick up until July.  But we never stopped tithing, though it felt very sacrificial at times.  Beginning in July, we were able to stop living paycheck to paycheck and build a cushion.

Cahnman's Musings attributes the stability we've achieved in 2013 to our decision at the beginning of the year to tithe 10%.

People make all sorts of excuses for why they can't tithe.  Most of those excuses are along the lines of "I don't have money yet."  Well, duh!  God never said tithe when you have money, He actually said to give sacrificially.

God sees your sacrificial giving.  In His grace, He will bless you in far greater amounts than your give. If you are in a tough spot financially, try give away 10% of your income.  It's the only place in Scripture where God instructs us to test Him.  Do you have the faith, however, to take the first step?!?

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