I sat down today to take a look at our bank account and expenses. I don’t like doing that. It feels easier to just ignore my bank account and pretend that everything will be fine, or that I can worry about it later. This is not the responsible way to approach spending. If there is a redeeming quality about it though, it would be that I don’t feel burdened about money each day like several people I have known. They count every expense each day to the point where money seems to be the main focus of the day. I don’t want that.
When I looked at the account I was discouraged. There wasn’t very much in the account. We recently bought a home and have remodeled it, doing all of the work ourselves. It was expensive and pretty much wiped us out of money entirely. But it was the right thing to do. We prayed much about it and saw God clearly provide and answer prayer. That said, I didn’t know what to do when I looked at the account today. There are still bills to pay and not enough money to do it. I called Ashley into the shop where I was working on the computer, so that we could talk about it together and because she is my helper and provides great encouragement. She did not have any answers about how to make more money appear, but she did suggest that she had been concerned that we were not tithing for the last several months and thought we should reconsider.
I had decided a few months back to stop tithing. This was for several reasons. One was that I had dedicated our home to God and asked him to use it to bless many people and as a place to love and serve others with their kids and their marriages which is what Ashley and I feel our calling from God is about. In that sense I believed that any money I spent on the house to fix it up, I was doing for the Lord and was a sort of tithe. Another reason was that due to COVID19, our church was no longer able to meet in the middle school where we had attended for the last 8 years or so. Expenses for the church were much lower now and our pastor had explicitly stated that the church was doing well financially and did not need money at the moment. Our family on the other hand had a slew of expenses with the remodeling, new mortgage to get used to and simply supporting a family of 7, 2 dogs, 2 cats, 10 chickens and 4 ducks on a single income. My conclusion was we ought to tithe by spending on our home and using that for God’s purposes.
I can’t say at the moment whether that was the wrong choice at the time. However, as I looked at our empty bank account and heard Ashley suggest we should tithe more we decided it was time to pray. We prayed and asked God what to do. We asked him to provide for us and to meet our needs and to show us what to do about tithing. In that moment I let go of trying to feel in control of our money and finances and I simply handed it over to God. If God wants every dollar I have left, then I will gladly hand over every cent. The moment the prayer was over I felt a sense of peace and calm and even joy. All the worries and anxiety I had about money in the bank was gone. And it seems crazy that the answer to my worry about not enough money was to actually give more money away! How could this be? But isn’t God always doing things like this? Using things that seem foolish to shame the wise – or doing what we’d least expect – like send the world’s greatest hero to be born in a small manger and to suffer and die at the hands of those he was there to save.
I’m not sure what the future looks like for our finances, but I am sure that God will provide for us just as he always has. I’m also sure that it is not good to rob God. It is important for our souls to give to him. It is not an act of obligation. It is freeing to give to him. To take what our heart wants to grip so tightly and to release it freely to our father is an act of liberty and freedom from the temptation to love money which is the root of all kinds of evil. To my future self when you read this: don’t neglect to give to God, in anyway he calls you. I assure you he does not need your money – the giving is meant to help you and bring peace and healing to your own heart. Give freely and joyfully, knowing that when you do, you are trusting your Father’s plan for your life more than your own, and you are stepping into a place of peace and freedom from what would try to control and ensnare you.