I was taught about tithing at an early age. That meant tithing on my allowance, tithing on money earned, tithing on birthday money received.
I was taught that I should tithe; but I seemed to have missed the lesson on doing so with a happy heart. That came later.
I responded to the one scripture in the Bible where God invites us to test Him.
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 blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. (Malachi 3:10)
Hubby and I were participating in a Crown Financial group bible study at the time. We had been convicted to move from tithing on our net income to tithing on our gross. The problem was me not being especially cheerful about it.
Having been convicted, though, we set out in faith, writing an extra check to the church for 10% of our recent income tax refund. That brought us up to date so that we were tithing on the past year’s gross income. Yes, it felt good, but—as payer of the bills—cheerful was still a stretch.
So I asked God to show me how to do so with a happy heart. In essence, I set about testing God to see if He would enable us to give more and still pay the bills.
Before the week was out, hubby received a check for an unexpected bonus. The amount of the bonus was almost exactly the amount of our tithe on the refund. Coincidence? Maybe
The next Sunday we tithed on the bonus.
Two days later we received a royalty check from my publisher in the amount of our bonus tithe.
So we tithed on my royalty check.
The next week we received a rebate check.
This time, rather than tithing on the rebate, we gave the entire check to the church. And I thought, “Surely, at last, I’ve out-given God.” The “victory” made me chuckle.
The next week I found a $20 bill on the side of the road, and gave up trying to out-give God.
I’ve heard a dozen different people tell similar stories of times they tried to out-give God and ended up shrugging their shoulders and acknowledging God as victor.
How can you not be cheerful when God takes giving from a test and turns it into a game? I envisioned God grinning the entire time I was testing Him. That image made me grin, too. And still does. He taught me not only to trust in His provision, but to be happy about it.
God is faithful. God provides. And He teaches us how to say “Hallelujah” and mean it.
Carol P. Sacramento