We drove by our old house in St. Pete today. The building actually houses three apartments – we had the one upstairs, over the (noisy) garages.
This is the home where we spent most of our days as newlyweds. This is where we brought our firstborn home from the hospital. So many memories in this place. But as we drove past this house, I caught myself thinking of the very first time we laid eyes on it. The day we saw God do a miracle.
We were broke. We had been hit hard by the recession. My husband lost his job and was struggling to find a new one. Then I lost my job and took a major paycut when I found a new one. We couldn’t pay our bills. We were living in a MUCH bigger townhome than we needed – and the crazy high rent payment just wasn’t feasible. We needed to find a new place to live. I poured over internet listings and the options in our budget were less than desirable. I really started to wonder where in the world we would be living.
Here’s where the miracle comes in. When we got married, my husband insisted that we tithe. Yes, I’d been raised in the church and understood that I should tithe, but I honestly only gave money at church when I had some extra to spare. I never committed to giving the first 10% of my income – until I got married. For my husband, it wasn’t even an option. It was obedience.
As we looked for a new place to live, I started to look at our finances. I started to rationalize. How much bigger could our housing budget be if we just stopped tithing for a while? Surely God would understand. We needed that money.
My husband? Not buying it.
He reminded me that tithing is a command. It’s not optional. It’s about obedience.
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 floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. -Malachi 3:10
Or as the pastor of my inlaws church once said, “It might sound crazy, and it might not make sense – but it’s gonna work.”
And so we kept on tithing. And you know what? God proved Himself faithful and blessed us beyond our wildest dreams.
I found the listing for that apartment and made an appointment to come see it. It looked so nice in the pictures – could that price be right? Could it really be in our budget? I remember when we pulled into the neighborhood. I turned to my husband and said, “It would have to be crawling with cockroaches and have holes in the walls for us not to give her the deposit on the spot.”
We walked in and it turned out to be better than I could have ever imagined. We handed her a check for the deposit. We drove away, and I found myself nearly in tears. I couldn’t believe it. God had given us the perfect place to live. A perfect neighborhood. A beautiful home. Under budget.
We trusted Him with our finances, and He came through just as He promised. And that’s not just an isolated incident. We have seen Him prove Himself in our finances time and time again.
“All I have needed Thy hand hath provided…great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.”
I know that many people feel the same way about tithing as I did before I got married. Giving to the church? Maybe throw a $5 in the plate ever so often. But if you’re a Christian, it’s a non-negotiable. It’s a command. And yet, here is the reality:
Only 10-25% of most congregations tithe.
That’s the national average. That means 75-90% of people in those congregations are missing out on blessings like we received with that apartment. That means churches are trying to serve 75-90% of the congregation with the tithes of the other 10-25%. Imagine what your church could do if everyone started tithing? The possibilities are endless!
This isn’t about giving under compulsion or out of guilt. Not at all. Giving is another form of worship.
“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” – 2 Cor 9:6-7
If you’re not currently tithing, what’s in your heart? Why are you holding back? God constantly reminds me, “Either you trust Me completely, or you don’t trust Me at all.” Do you trust Him with your finances?
Remember, I’ve been where you are. I get it. It can be scary. But God tells us to test Him in this. Give tithing a try…I know He will prove Himself faithful. And I can’t wait to hear the stories you will still be telling years later as you reflect on all He’s done.