In my last blog I mentioned that Greg and I were enjoying the changes that the Holy Spirit is working through us. One of those changes has been in the area of tithing.
When we were first married Greg and I were living on no income as I student taught and he finished his last semester of college. Then once Greg started working and we bought our first home money was still very tight, so we never dreamed that God wanted us to tithe a full 10%. I do not mean to sound sarcastic there, but we really thought that tithing the full 10% was for people better off then us. We believed in God and attended church regularly, but that was about all we thought that followers of Christ did (boy did we learn differently)!
After a few years in our first home we decided to move closer to Greg’s new job and the market was very good for finding a much bigger home for very inexpensive. So we took on a little more debt, but Greg was making a little more then so we justified all of this. This still did not mean we could give more to church…we were only 26~! (These were the thoughts that we honestly had). We knew of families in church that were very generous with their resources and we kept thinking we would get there someday. I look at it like diet and exercise. We think we will get to it tomorrow or start on Monday, but if we are being totally honest, if we do not do it now, it really is not very important to us.
When we got pregnant with Eli the market started to really take a turn for the worse and Greg took a big pay cut. I remember one family member told us, the first thing you have to do is stop giving to church. This was spoken from a person who goes to church regularly. We chose to ignore most of that comment, but I think we started to give less than we were giving at the time. We cut back on lots of things. We have always lived frugally and not spent a lot of money outside of our cars and home. But we really started to live frugally.
Then a month before Eli was born Greg received another large pay cut. We were really upset, but we switched around a few things and really tried to stay home to save on gas and things. Most people who have lost their homes given the amount of the pay cut that Greg received, but we were so fortunate. And then a few months later; Eli died. God took us to his word. We were never dedicated to his word before and never looked to it for the answers we so needed to read. I know I was searching for things about heaven and what that meant for Eli. And the more we were in the word, the more the Holy Spirit was in us. We did not feel a pain in the wallet to give; it became more of what can we not give away. We wanted to obey God for the first time and Love him with our whole hearts. I can say that I loved God when I needed to or it was convenient, not as he commands from us.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.” (Deuteronomy 6:5-6)
So now almost two years later we are faithfully giving our tithe and then some more. For us we do not limit what we give to 10%…we love giving the money and want to give more than we are. So our house is being listed on the market so we can buy a more modest home. God commands us to love our neighbor as ourselves…that means giving to our neighbor what we want for ourselves. I know that I have not been doing that as well as I should. God uses his commandments not to rule over us all the time, but because he knows what is best for us and will help us grow in Him. He is the ultimate Father! When the Spirit is working in us, it no longer sounds like, “What does God say I have to give?” to something like, “What can we sell in order to help out more than we are doing?” Or “Maybe I can go without my expensive cable subscription so that people in our backyard have enough money to heat their house this winter.”
The Bible says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Where is your money going and does it align with what you really treasure most?
The most exciting thing is that this is infectious, but such a good infection it is to be used by God to spread his Good news and show love to others!
My challenge to you today, open your Bible! Get a study bible if you can…they really help! And start having a reading and devotion time everyday! God commands us to love him…will you? How can we really love someone if we do not spend time with that person? I know that I would not feel very loved if Greg gave me some left over time and energy. I want to be a priority in his life! I know God wants that and more from us!