So we've been very broke these last two weeks. Robert and I manage our finances fairly well considering our situation, but this week has been no joke.
We do our best to be givers, and we tithe -- just not faithfully. We usually tithe from the first two checks of each month and then use the last two checks to pay rent (always due on the 1st). I used to feel this was being a good steward of the money God had given us: ... with the first two checks, tithe, pay utilities and bills and buy groceries. Then this way we could use every dime toward rent and gas for the last two weeks.
Well, after hearing our pastor's sermon this past Sunday, Robert and I have pledged to God that we will tithe every check, every earning, every increase, no matter what. No longer are we going to "try" to tithe or "try" to be givers. We signed the pledge and placed it in his bible at Malachi 3:10, "... 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 blessings that there will not be room enough to store it. ..." (NIV)
You read that verse and, if you're honest about your thoughts, you think, "I don't know! Will God really do that? I mean, I've seen Him do it for other people, but would He really do it for me?" I know this verse clearly says it's an area where we can test God, but most of us fail the test of actually testing Him. We let fear of our unforeseen circumstances dominate control of our checkbooks.
Well ... no more. Robert and I decided Sunday that no matter what we WILL tithe faithfully, because we are ready to see what God can do -- will do -- for us if we will but believe Him at His word.
That being said, the rent for February 1 was already paid the day before we made this pledge. That Saturday I had also spent $65 for a small handful of necessities. There was no longer any earnings to tithe from this week; it was spent. After all was said and done we had $8 in the bank. Praise the LORD we were in the black! We went home and had canned soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner.
Not all of those necessities I bought the day before were groceries. I wished they were, but some things trump my grocery list - like toilet paper, feminine products, medications, school photo fees, etc. Food doesn't help in these situations. I had two pounds of meat in the freezer and a couple of canned veggies in the cabinet. I bought two boxes of Hamburger Helper. That's Monday and Tuesday covered, but I cook five nights a week. The math didn't add up. "Should I ask the church pantry for food this week? No," I thought, "that should be saved for those who are truly in need." I decided to make due.
Monday comes. A friend called to buy a bottle of X-treme 5000 from me. (See I sell vitamins, weight loss supplements and health care products on the side, but for a long while that is a side income that hasn't seen much business.) But ... for "whatever reason" this friend decided this week that she needed a full bottle of fat burner (which she never buys). I only charged her $40; that put $36 back in our pockets. Why only $36? Guess where the other $4 is going. Yep! I tithed it. Now I had a little extra for gas (because I'm almost on "E") and money for fast food tonight (because I don't cook on Wednesdays).
But can I tell you that the blessings haven't stop there?
This morning when I got to work a co-worker approached me with an envelope with my name on it. She said she found it next to the computer where we clock in. I opened it to find a Kroger gift card worth $25! Wow! I was speechless. Twenty-five dollars isn't a lot, but when you have no more meat in the freezer and only Ramen noodles, canned soup and crackers to choose from it can go a long way. My co-worker didn't know where it came from -- only knew that it was setting there when she got to work and that it wasn't from her. There was no other name on the envelope or card but mine. Whoever gave it quietly placed it there for me to see when I clocked in, and no doubt they were led of the Holy Spirit when they did it.
I have not told anyone we needed groceries. I did not put out an all points bulletin on Facebook. I did not make it a point to complain about my circumstances. I trust God knows my every need. And even though I haven't always been a faithful tither, I have given regularly. In lean times as these I make due and God reminds me, "You've sown for this." I also like to believe that God blessed me because He sees my heart and He knows my intentions to tithe are genuine. I must admit that sometimes I do wonder where the blessing is going to come from; who will He use to meet my need? Dare I say, that's even the fun part about being so broke so often?
Just last week, knowing I wouldn't have much food in the house, God used my gay next door neighbor to give me 3 bags of fresh spinach and lettuce. Granted I'm the only one who will eat it, but it has provided me lunch this week. I mention that my neighbor is gay because God can use whoever He wants to bless us. (Proverbs 13:22 " ... the wealth of the wicked is stored up for the righteous ...").
I don't post this blog today to brag about my blessings; I post this blog to brag about the God of all blessings. The blessings are not the point -- no matter how big or small. The point of all my ramblings is how good God is and how faithful He is towards us. Great is thy faithfulness! (Lamentations 3:22-23)
Thank you Father that you know all and see all. Thank you that nothing in my life takes you by surprise. Thank you that my life is not a radar that you man as "blips" pop up, but rather that my life is a time line laid out before time began, my blessings planned before I even got here. Thank you that you have already mapped out the events that will force me to trust you and then prove that you really do see me. Thank you that every friend and even every "foe" plays into those blessings. Father God, please bless my neighbor, my customer and my co-worker who blessed me. Bless them for being sensitive to your leading and for their obedience to you. God I pray a special blessing to all those who read this and I pray ultimately that you get all the glory! By the power of the name of Jesus I pray. -- AMEN!
(To listen to Pastor Scott Dobbins sermons at any time visit at http://www.bellshireag.org/media-bellshire-ag-church-service-sermons-videos-every-sunday.asp. To see a list of health and wellness products and supplements sold by Saba, please visit my website at http://SabaForLife.com/CarlaHailey.)