Even though God had already showed Himself true to me on tithing (see A Newbie Tither), during a backslidden period I had stopped giving to God. When I came back to the church, God quickly pricked my heart (and my husband’s) that I (we) needed to start giving to Him again. We started small again and quickly built up our giving until we were tithing (literally 10%) of our net income (after taxes).
In Over Our Heads
About a year later, we bought a new house. It was a God-miracle that we were able to get the house – it was clearly from His hand. The problem was though we’d been in the house less than a month when I realized there was no way we could afford the house. I headed to the park up the street one evening to talk to God about this matter.
The Tithe Principle – It’s About Trusting God
I began to plead my case to Him, quoting Malachi 3:10-11 back to Him and everything. I began to say to Him, “Ok God, I’m going to test You in this – just like You said to because I tithe…”but the moment I began to say tithe He convicted me and said, “You are holding out on me.”
Immediately I knew what He meant. See we had been able to “afford” to tithe on our net income – to tithe on our gross income (pre-tax) would mean a couple hundred more a month! I began to argue with Him and say, “What a minute, I’m here telling you that we can’t afford this house and You are telling me that You want us to give MORE money?”
He replied, “If you can’t trust me with a couple hundred extra a month we have bigger problems than this.”
After spending a few more moments making sure He was serious, I asked Him if I was seriously supposed to go back and tell my husband this (he was not in a Good place with the Lord during this time). He said I should. So in faith I returned home to talk with my husband.
I marched in and told him that God had said we were to start tithing gross not net. He replied, “That’s fine. We’re going to lose the house anyway – it will just make it happen faster.” I started to argue with Him, but the Lord stopped me and pointed out that despite the attitude, he had said yes.
Tithing – Gross vs. Net
Let me pause for a moment and say that I don’t believe God has a rule about tithing gross versus net. It is simply a heart issue. If you seek God’s face and He says $5 a week – give $5 a week. He desires our obedience, not our sacrifice. But if God says tithe gross – I would strongly suggest you begin tithing gross!
So we began did begin tithing on our gross income and a miraculous thing happened… God showed up.
Seeing the Lord hold true to His word
First my husband’s job made him part-time. Yet each month, miraculously we had all the money we needed to cover our expenses. About four months later, my husband’s company went out of business and he was without a job for a few months and each month we had what we needed – sometimes things were paid at the end of the month instead of the beginning, but things were always paid.
Ironically, during this time God was allowing these things to happen to my husband because he was not walking with the Lord. God was using this to get his attention. He also was making it impossible financially for him to be able to leave our marriage! Who would have thought that a woman’s husband losing their job would be a blessing? Yet with God in charge, it was!
He finally got a “temporary” job and we were getting on top of things.
Allowing the body of Christ to minister to us
During that time, two friends of mine from work who were fellow believers approached me and told me they sensed that God had told them to take up an offering for me. Both these individuals were in jobs that I knew made less money than I did and I was moved by the fact that they wanted to, but I was not the type of person to received charity – I was the one who typically gave charity!
I thanked them profusely and told them it was not necessary. I will never forget the look on my sister in Christ’s face as she looked at me and said, “What if I told you we were going to do it anyway because Jesus told us we were supposed to.”
I reflected for a moment, silently repented of my pride and responded, “Then I would assume God was trying to teach me something here and I would graciously say thank you and release you to do whatever the Lord tells you.”
Several weeks later they arrived at my desk with huge grins on their faces. They gave me $375 they had collected. I was blessed, but I thought, “God, why this money? Why now?” I didn’t have to wait long to find out!
The Miracle of Obedience
Two days later, my husband called me to tell me he was having car problems. Periodically when he’d hit them the car wouldn’t stop. He’d pump them and then it would finally stop. Clearly, that’s a pretty big problem! He took the car into the shop. The total… $355+ tax. 🙂
It was the same amount that we’d been blessed with. What was so amazing is that had they not taken the collection – we simply would not have had the money to fix it. Since it still was sort of working, my hubby probably would have driven it at least a little. Who knows what plans the enemy had for him!
But God is an AWESOME God! And so a month before we even knew we had a need, He was prompting their hearts to meet a need we didn’t even know we had.
So God – through the body of Christ – provided for us and protected my husband. Malachi 3:10-11 in action!
God can be trusted at His word. He may take us places that make us uncomfortable, but it’s always for our own good. Had I never been in a position of need, I would never had had an opportunity for God to meet my need.
So be ready – be listening – and most of all be obedient!