First I would like to start by saying I am not here to persuade, but to share my story.
At the beginning of each year, I set goals for myself and decree the “word of the house”, given my pastor, over my life. This year’s word was about “favor”. I then write down the goals both short and long and ensure they are realistic and obtainable. I review past goals and re-evaluate them. Did I accomplish anything? Should I re-think my plan and approach? Do I need more time? I consider all of this in starting my year.
One of my goals for this year was to tithe faithfully. You see, I have a habit of tithing off and on, according to my circumstances. What I mean is, if I am running low on cash, I won’t tithe. Yes I know this is NOT right, but ya’ll I am being honest. I make a certain amount of money (as we all do). Once I factor in my bills, living expenses, etc., the funds always seem to be just a little bit short. So January 1, 2017 I said, “Hey I am going to tithe NO MATTER WHAT”.
Let me just say this, life is funny (When I say funny I mean cruel, bootleg, and ugly) LOL. I set this goal and went hard. I was tithing every pay period and in full. I even ordered checks in the event I did not have cash on me. I mean I was determined. I trust God so I wanted to take him at his word and be obedient. I am officially a “consistent tither” I feel good about my decision and have no worries. Keep pushing: It is the middle of March; I need some work done on my teeth. I have insurance so I am not really concerned about the cost. Well, they find something that is “needed immediately” and more than what I could afford.
Meanwhile, I am still tithing and just honest with God and my mom about my situation. “I need work done on my tooth and it is more than the money I make”. Look at God ! Someone blesses me and pays for my procedure with a payment plan set up to repay them. Ok, moving on, I start repaying my debt and still paying my tithe, and spring break rolls around. My family and I are looking into Disney World as our vacation. The rooms are expensive and time is of the essence, the end of March will be here before we know it. A colleague of mine says, “I have timeshare, let me look and see if we can book there and you guys can have it”. So days went by, she was able to get it and did not ask much from us as an expense. Again Look at God! We stayed in Orlando for 6 days, 5 nights, in a two bedroom, loft, living room, dining, room, balcony, etc. villa for not even $200! Then the “testing period” begins.
Now I need to pay for random stuff happening! Car acting crazy, co- pays due because I am ill, bills keep coming; I mean life is still going on so I stop tithing. I barely had enough to do what I needed to. In order to pay for stuff something had to give, so tithing was it. I KNOW, I KNOW, BAD MISTAKE. Oh did I pay for it. I started noticing my savings was depleted, bills were steep, issues on every hand just kept happening. Where I once would have cash on hand all the time, bills paid, blessings coming from every where, all of that had slowed down- if not ended completely. I HAD STOP TITHING.
One day, I was like man I am broke! Nothing really had changed in my finances either. I mean my checks were the same amount, my pay from the side job was about the same, my income had literally NOT CHANGED. So why was I broke? I prayed to God, not for a financial blessing but insight on what I was doing wrong. I knew that if there was a shift it had to be me. During my prayer time, God had me reflect on things pre-tithing, then consistently doing so, and the post tithing. I was right, my income had not changed and to be honest nor did my circumstances. I always had those bills, I became sick before so the co-pays were not a total shock either. Me withholding what belong to God was a huge part.
Conclusion: When I was being obedient, tithing consistently, the blessings kept coming. God stretched my little and made it more. He sustained me until more arrived. I had plenty. No my income did not increase, but my provision did. God made sure that all of my needs were met and that an abundance took place. He even blessed my part time job with opportunities of more money because my pay was contingent upon participation. (So on Monday nights, he allowed more people to attend). I know that seems far fetched, but it is so real. I wondered why the “extra” stopped, well… I had stopped “sowing”. I was not receiving a harvest as a result of it. He does not joke when he said in his word, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!” Malachi 3:10.
I tried him and saw his goodness! I put him to the test and he showed himself mighty in my life, blessing me with “extra”, but I had to play my part too. Most of God’s word has two parts I am learning; one with instructions from him and the other an opportunity for us to be obedient. I am convinced that his word is true and so are the promises attached to our obedience. My prayer is that I never lose sight AGAIN of how important it is to tithe; NO MATTER WHAT. I am reminded of the song by Tye Tribbett, If he did it before he can do it again! If I know nothing else, I know that God does not waste time or words! I feel like the song, “I’m looking for a miracle!” My pastor talks about harvest and sowing, I can not expect a harvest if I do not plant anything (sow).
I encourage you to at least try him and if you have felt like I did that holding on to the extra and not tithing was okay, please don’t. Take it to him and watch him increase your earnings. He stretched mine, imagine what he will do for you!