It’s hard to live paycheck to paycheck. It takes commitment to take care of our responsibilities. Sometimes, it’s overwhelming and the money runs out before the month does.
I’ve been there many, many times.
When I was a young married woman, our friends made a point of giving their contribution at church before they paid any of their monthly bills. I couldn’t imagine taking out for God first when there wasn’t enough to pay all the bills in the first place and I told them so. They said, “Trust God. He will take care of you if you honor Him.”
The Old Testament tells us that God required a tithe, or tenth, be given to Him. He didn’t want the leftovers, He asked for the best grain and animals to be set aside for Him. In the New Testament, we never see the word “tithe”, but there is much talk of giving. One example is in 2 Corinthians 9:6-15, where it tells us that God loves a cheerful giver and that our being generous in sharing causes others to thank God. I hope you’ll read that passage and consider it.
That particular story reminds me of a time in about 1999 when we were, yet again, broke. During a counseling session, we were asked if we were giving at church. We tried to get technical, so we could hang on to every possible penny, and we asked “Are we supposed to give out of our gross or our net income?” His answer? “Do you want God to bless you out of the gross or the net?”
I reckon I’d rather be blessed out of the gross than the net, so I’d better quit being so deceitful.
We were learning, but the lesson wasn’t complete, until we got serious about getting out of debt. We took a class and made a concerted effort to be better stewards. The first lesson…and I do mean the FIRST lesson… was on giving to God.
But, we don’t have enough money as it is!
But, we can be out of debt faster if we don’t give.
The story of the widow’s mite in Mark 12 tells of the wealthy throwing large amounts of money into the temple treasury while a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Jesus saw this and said “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.”
Malachi 3 tells the story where God asked the Israelites why they were robbing Him. They asked “How do we rob you?” He replied, “In tithes and offerings….Test me in this and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of Heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”
There are so many examples where God shows us that if we are faithful to Him, he will protect us. I’m not preaching a Gospel of Prosperity. I’m preaching the Gospel of Jesus that asks us to trust and obey.
Thanks be to God, we have learned to be generous. A few times, we’ve played a wonderful game of trying to out-give God and we just can’t do it. When we give out of our comfort, it’s good, but when we dig deep and give till it hurts, God does His best work in us.
Right now, if you have more month than money, please study these passages mentioned earlier and make a commitment to give to God out of your first fruits. He will not let you go hungry and He will provide for your needs. Don’t worry. (Matthew 6:25-34)
Please don’t be tempted, as we were, to be technical and say “But I give God my time and I’m thankful for all He blesses me with.” That’s a start. He asks for all of it, your complete and unconditional surrender: your day, your checking account, your future, your family…all of it. He wants all of it. It’s His anyway, isn’t it?
“Which of you, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!” Note that isn’t a question, it’s an emphatic statement written in red letters. I love that!
There is so much pain in this world. Those who don’t know Him, don’t understand His ways. I hope you know Him and that you’ll consider giving Him what’s already His.
If you want prayers or have questions/comments, my email is [email protected]
Be blessed and have a groovy week!