In this post, I will share how our journey has continued to develop and change in the past 3 years.
During Steve's first year at ABRA, his salary was $20,000 less than his job at Saturn. The difference in pay required us (for the first time in a long time) to take a look at our spending and work on differentiating between wants and needs. As we did that, there was never the consideration to not tithe. We knew that the Lord had blessed us with this opportunity and we were very grateful and we wanted to continue to show our thankfulness. By 2011, his salary was back up to where it had been when he was at Saturn (due to a promotion).
All the while God's blessings continued to flow in, I still felt as though I was holding on tightly to money. Yes, we were tithing, and doing what God commanded of us, but something didn't seem quite right.
When I would hear that there was going to be a "door offering" taken after church, I would be sure to exit a different way.
At Voters' Meetings, I would listen to the issues that St. Paul's was having with the budget, all the while, thinking to myself, "You're preaching to the choir. We're doing what we were supposed to, let some other people step up and help out." All these feelings continued until March of 2012.
Here we are again, sitting in the pew at church on Consecration Sunday.
Steve is holding the white pledge card. The same card that I loathed when we were first married. He looks at me and say, "What should I put down?" I told him, "You fill it out."
He wrote down a number that would indicate the amount we would be giving per month. My jaw dropped. (My husband has little to no idea about how our finances work and how much our monthly tithe was at the time.) My knee-jerk reaction was, "That's 15% of our gross income!"
15%...15%...that still leaves 85% for us (more than enough). I gave it a second to sink in and we decided that we would do our best to meet that tithe, but if anything changed with our financial situation, we would adjust as necessary.
Do you know what God did?
In the year, 2012, He not only increased our income to cover that 15%, He doubled it!
A 30% increase in income. Why should I have been surprised? It's right there in scripture with Jesus' Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30.
We were so grateful for God's goodness and provisions, our giving last year ended at 20%...and, it was incredibly FREEING. To no longer be controlled by money. To truly embrace the meaning of "it's not ours". It's all His. He has just blessed us with it to further His kingdom.
God blesses each of us in His own way. As I stated before, just because a person chooses to give (tithing or not), does not mean that the Lord will bless s/he financially. There are many other blessings and the Lord knows exactly what we need.
Pastor Greg and Sara Hintz are an incredible example of "other blessings" that the Lord may bestow, when you put your full trust in Him. You can read about it here. What a testimony their story is!
Tomorrow is Consecrated Stewards Sunday at St. Paul's. Please, take time to pray and ask for God's guidance regarding your giving.
You won't regret it!
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