Money is tight right now. I quit work 2 weeks ago to vacation and get ready for my new job and I won't see another paycheck until the end of September. So, that's roughly 2 months of a mortgage payment, car payment and all those other lovely pieces of paper called "bills". We are trying to save as much money as possible. Trying is the key word because it seems like anytime you try to save money, unexpected expenses come up and you just can't save like you want to. As my dad would say, "Welcome to the real world."
We usually tithe at the middle or end of the month. That's just the way it works out with our budget and bills. On the first Sunday in June, I was sitting in church and felt the need to write a check for half of our tithe amount. Even though it wasn't what we normally do and we didn't have the money to do it, it's what the Holy Spirit was telling me to do and I couldn't say no. I've learned that when He bugs you about something, you can't say no. There is no choice, a quick "yes" is the only answer you have. So, I whispered to Brent what I was doing and he okayed it and I put it in the bucket during the offering. The next day, we received a letter from our insurance company telling us they credited our account $167. The letter did not explain why, but it didn't matter. We chose to be faithful to God, because He has always been faithful to us, and He provided and blessed us in return.
It's the end of the month and we spent more money then we usually do in July due to weddings, traveling, and a vacation. I admit I was tempted to not tithe. It would make it a lot easier to make ends meet in August if we had extra money. On Tuesday in the Bible study I am doing with the high school girls, the chapter we read in Crazy Love was about giving...our money and our time. There was a story of a man who consistently gave 20% of his income to the Church. When his income dropped drastically, he didn't decrease his giving. He actually increased it to 30%. And, of course, the Lord was faithful to him. When I was tempted to not give this month, I realized that I'd be one lousy example to these girls if I'm encouraging them to have faith yet I have none. I remembered the previous story and I also remembered a quote from Crazy Love, "When it's hard and you are doubtful, give more." It was hard and I was doubtful, but the Holy Spirit was bugging me again. I wrote a check and sent it in the mail today. This afternoon, I was in the kitchen cooking chicken fajitas (yummo) when Brent walked in with a letter from the city's utility department. I was thinking, "Great, another expense." Because we have paid our bill on time for the past 2 years, they are giving us part of our deposit back with interest which will be applied to our account. You can't say it's just coincidence. It's just God being Himself, which is a pretty powerful thing. I'm not surprised. I think it's more of a WOW factor than a surprise. But, again, I am amazed and humbled by the truth of His Word and by His love for me. I'm going to put the letter somewhere in my house as a reminder that God is ALWAYS faithful and has never and will never fail to provide for me. I hope this motivates you to say yes next time He bugs you about something...it's for His glory and you will be blessed.
"You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and all that you undertake."
Deut 15:10 (ESV)