Is the slow economy getting you down? Have you ever felt like you can never get ahead? You get some birthday money and then the dishwasher springs a leak. Or you get a tax refund just in time to fix the car that broke down AGAIN.
In some cases, this is God's provision but in other cases, it's because we have holes in our purses.
"...you earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it." Haggai 1:6
Holes in our purses is due to a big lie.
What lie is that?
The one that says that you need to get ahead financially before you can give to others.
With that mindset, you will most likely never get ahead enough to think you can give. The evil one will make sure you have an endless supply of unexpected bills.
I've noticed that God's love letter to us--the Bible--is replete with examples that are counter-intuitive. One that is especially so, is His call to tithe--also known as giving back 10% of our income to Him.
Is that really very much? Let's put this in perspective. How many of us would drive across town to hit a sale that was offering us 10% off? Not me. In fact, if a store is ONLY offering a 10% discount on something, I practically consider it an insult. If we need a $30 item, is it a huge incentive to save $3.00? It would cost more in gas to get to the sale.
So why do we think it is a big deal to give back 10%?
Well, to be perfectly honest, it's because we are greedy at the very core of our beings.
ALL OF US.
Oh, yes we are.
So let me share something that God clued me into awhile back. God asks us to give because it benefits US.
Think about it...does God need our money? That is laughable. Of course He doesn't need our money. But He knows something about our hearts when we do.
It brings us JOY.
LOTS OF JOY!!
In fact, it's downright exhilarating to give. The evil one does not want you to know that.
And another thing...you cannot out-give God.
In August, many of you participated in buying doll blanket and pillow sets from my girls. I thought it would be a small project--maybe we could sell 20 sets. So I told everyone that we would cover the cost of fabric, thread, stuffing, and postage for the project. I had an amount in mind above our tithe that I thought we could give without starving my children for the rest of the month. Well...as you know, that project grew FAR beyond our imagination. I was making trips to the fabric store almost daily and spending money that I worried we might not have. But as I prayed and asked God what to do--He said to keep going until the orders stopped. And so we did. But let me tell you...the amount was hundreds more than the amount I thought we could give. I was a tad nervous. Just sayin....
Then, here and there, some people sent money saying, "Please use this for fabric,' or "Please use this for postage." We were so busy sewing and shipping orders that I didn't have time to keep track of how much we were spending vs. how much people were giving. I just knew that God says this in Malachi 3:10 about giving to Him...,
"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse...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 blessing that you will not have room enough for it."
And you know what? When things slowed down, I finally had time to add things up. We were $55 dollars short of the amount I had thought we could give. I was slightly disappointed--not because we couldn't squeeze out the extra $55, but just because God is such a God of detail and I thought He really could have gotten it a little closer than that. The next day, we got a letter in the mail from our former doctor in Michigan (where we have not lived for 14 months). Inside was a check for $57 because we had overpaid them. Don't you love it?! I laughed and laughed when I got that because I knew God was saying, "You can't out give Me, Karin. Not ever."
So...back to the title of this post... God says that if we give to Him from our hearts (not to GET something back from Him in the way of blessing), He will bless us. Sometimes that blessing comes in actual dollars. Sometimes it comes by way of health--not needing to make expensive trips to the doctor. Sometimes He keeps our cars running far longer than they should. He keeps our washer and dryer running, etc. We are probably unaware of all the ways He is saving us money.
But when we do not give back the paltry amount He asks for, it shows something about our hearts. We don't trust Him. We are basically accusing Him of trying to take something from us that is rightfully ours. Hmmmm.....is it really ours? Or does He give it to us in the first place and only ask for a little back SO THAT we can have JOY in our hearts? Guys...it's FOR US!! He knows what a blessing it is to our hearts to give. And He knows how cold and brittle our hearts will be if we hoard our money to ourselves.
So instead of receiving His blessing, we opt to keep stuffing purses that have holes in them. Um...isn't that kind of a big fat, 'DUH' moment?
Don't buy into the lies of the evil one who wants to make sure you never get clued into the joy of giving...because then...uh-oh...you would be a dangerous tool for God against the evil in this world.
I challenge you to TEST GOD IN THIS!!! Just for this month, tithe and see what happens! As soon as you are paid, give 10% of that check to God, by way of your church, your favorite charity...whatever. Then see if you have enough money to get through the month. God invites you to TEST HIM in this! Jeff and I did this several years ago and God passed the test with flying colors--not once have we ever been short. If you take the challenge, please come back in a month and tell me what happened, okay?!