Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cliché, but true.

“You can’t out-give God.” We have all heard it. Every pastor says it during the part of the service when they take up tithes and offerings. It a trademark line; a way of convicting (or convincing you) that if you give to the Lord, He will give back to you.

For the longest time, before I actually started tithing, I thought it was “scammy;” a little on the disingenuous side.

And it bugged me.

“How can they say that? How do they know that the Lord will give back?”

Come to find out, my naivety was based on inexperience. Having started to work (for a living) this summer I decided to tithe, predominantly out of obligation and Biblical mandate, not because I wanted to. I also thought it would be a good way to test the theory.

*It should be noted that I don’t recommend this attitude. I’m simply being honest about where I was/am.

The first Sunday that I gave was particularly hard. With financial independence being only a few weeks old, I had suddenly and brutally realized the true value of money; how hard you had to work to earn it and how quickly and easily it seemed to be spent. I’m a frugal person by nature, so when I refer to spending money, I mean on basic necessities.

As I wrote the check, my hand shook slightly because the amount which I wrote the check for was the same amount that I needed for gas, groceries, etc. Every other way that I could be using it suddenly came to mind and it made it that much harder to release into an offering plate.

The next day, Monday, as I drove to work, I glanced down about every 30 seconds to see how much gas I had. I had more than enough. But I wasn’t really looking at the gas gauge to see how much gas I had. I looked at the gas gauge in attempt to estimate how much money it would take to fill it up after every passing mile.

Irritated at myself for being more concerned with money that I would have thought, I asked the Lord for the strength of faith to trust Him, to rest in His goodness. Turns out, that is a lot easier said than done.

At the end of the day, I was on the phone with my mom catching up on the day’s events at home and among family.

“By the way,” she started, “I put some money in your account because I know how much driving you are doing and I know that gas is expensive. I just don’t want you to worry about it.”

I was speechless. I barely uttered a “thank you” for I was trying not to cry. I didn’t know how much she had deposited. It didn’t matter.

About an hour later, curiosity got the better of me and I checked my account online. Resting in the left column was an amount that was exactly double the amount which I had tithed.

I feel that elaborating on this will only dilute it. I don’t think I need to explain.

Good is good. He is faithful. End of story.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Meredith,

You have such a talent for writing. Have you thought about publishing? I really do miss your sweet spirit.

Love you,

Sharon

Vicki Small said...

Meredith, I really understand what you shared from your first week of tithing. For too many years, both before and after I was divorced, and then long after I had remarried, I did not tithe. (For several of those years, I was in school and not working, and I defensively want you to know that!)

I started tithing again almost 8 years ago, with a more joyful heart than ever before. But I still got a comeuppance from one of my sponsored children.

Uwizera is 15, now, and I've sponsored her only a couple of years. She is part of a large Rwandan family. She tithes a full 10% from every gift I send her, birthday, Christmas or Family. I was stunned, the first time I read that! And her example really convicted me about all of the years that I couldn't afford to tithe.

I still don't know where the money would have come from, but I believe that I missed out on seeing God at work for my good (Jer. 29:11). Isaiah 58 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible, as God talks about the blessings He will pour out on those who share out of their plenty.