“Only 30% of the congregation tithes.” While Jerry read the paper after Sunday services last week, I was looking through information on a capital campaign.
Jerry put the newspaper down and smiled at me. “They don’t know what they’re missing. How sad.”
Malachi 3:10 (NIV) 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 floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” I thought of that scripture again as we went on the recount, as we have recounted before, all the ways God has honored the tithe that we began forty years ago.
We have always had all we need. We were very poor in our early days as Jerry made pottery and we sold his wares at art fairs. But we were provided for. We got to know a woman who ran a small pottery supply store in her house. We purchased a kiln one day for several hundred dollars. “You guys always have the money you need when you need it.” She knew us well enough to know that we didn’t have a human patron supplying our raw materials.
In the next few years, Jerry got his electrician’s license and began to work for the city, a job he kept until last year. Our tithing continued. Occasionally, I wished for more money, but reminded myself of Malachi 3:10. Once, I noticed a woman wearing designer jeans while I wore Farm and Fleet. “I could have those if I wanted to. I choose, though, to invest in the Kingdom.” Through various means, God provided a mortgage payoff on the same day we took our daughter to college. We have enough money in Jerry’s retirement. Health costs have always been paid, even the tens of thousands of Jerry’s cancer treatments. We are grateful.
Finances, though, are just the beginning of blessing. We experience God’s favor in every area–From the sweetness between Jerry and me to the sense of God’s love and compassion as we navigate our journeys in this challenging world. I know many of you could give similar testimonies.
But if you’re part of the 70%, I understand the fear of not being taken care of. I get the resentment of giving up your cash. But it’s the one place in scripture he challenges us to test him. Don’t miss out on the reward.
Father, your faithfulness is absolute. Thank you.