So when I found out God gave Norma (my guest writer for the month) the same topic as me, I thought I guess this blog doesn't need to be posted. But as I kept thinking about it, God showed me that it's not so much redundant as it is a confirming word.
You see my husband and I had this revelation a while back about the awesomeness of hearing a word twice. In John 10, Jesus said, "My sheep will know my voice." I believe that when you hear multiple people speak the same message it's as if God spoke that message out and those who were on the same frequency all heard the message. Have you ever gone into church and heard a sermon and looked at the person next to you and thought, we were just talking about that. That's the same thing. You both heard the voice of God.
So i hope that when you read a similar message here, you see it as God wanting to confirm what was already said.
I want to share the importance of tithing from a Biblical stand point, and my personal testimony as to how I came to live by it.
Disclosure, Prior to 2015 (when I met Luis), I can't say I ever tithed. I may have gave an offering if by some random chance I had money in my purse as the offering baskets were passed around. But that is not the same as tithing.
The word tithe actually means 10th part. The biblical description of a tithe is to give God back the first 10th of everything you have. In Leviticus 27:30 God commanded through Moses that one tenth of the lands produce belongs to Him and must be set apart as holy.
This goes as far back as Genesis 4 when Cain and Abel brought an offering to the Lord. Those of you who have spent any time in Sunday school know that Abel's offering was received as righteous by the Lord and Cain's was not. Thus causing a jealous fallout between the two, eventually leading to Cain murdering his brother (jealousy=a topic for another time).
The Bible isn't necessarily clear on why one was better than the other, but here are a few potential reasons.
Abel brought the first of all that he had (Gen 4:4)
Abel made his offering in faith, which was the better offering (Heb 11:4)
Abel brought the best of what he had.
The Bible doesn't say that Abel brought his best, but since the Bible is clear that we should give our best (Prov 3:9-10, Numbers 18:32), I assume that God would honor obedience.
Malachi 3:10 says, "Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!"
God honors us when we are obedient.
This is my tithing testimony.
As I mentioned previously, I wasn't always a tither. I actually wasn't good with money in general. How I spent it, where I spent it, the whole thing. I was one of those people that had more month at the end of the paycheck than I had paycheck at the end of the month. I was a habitual over-drafter. When Luis and I started dating, he would get so mad at me cause I was constantly paying over draft fees. 29$ here, 29$ there, it was like I enjoyed throwing away my money.
When he started telling me how important it was for me to tithe, I thought it was impossible. I don't even have enough money to pay what I need let alone find some extra in my budget to pay God.
I didn't realize how backwards my way of thinking was. You see I wasn't looking at it as giving God the first. I was looking at giving Him what was left over. And frankly there wasn't any. When you give god the first, you may realize you don't have any left over for something else, but you will always have enough for Him and in my experience for the things you need as well.
Luis told me to trust God and be obedient and He would provide. I hesitantly obliged.
The first 3 months of tithing were the first I didn't overdraft my bank account in who knows how long. I'm embarrassed to admit that, but it's a fact. Somewhere about the 4th or 5th month though, I had to go on a trip for work. I thought I'm gonna be tight on money, so I'm gonna just skip my tithe "this month only" so I can have enough.
Guess what happened....mhmm. I over-drafted my account. I was so mad at myself but knew instantly from that moment on, I would never miss a tithe again. God had showed me in those first 3 months that He would honor my obedience and that He would provide for my needs and He consistently has.
About a year later, Luis lost his job. I was so stressed out and didn't know what we would do. But I knew that I had to be obedient and keep tithing.
Let me tell you how good God is. About a week after, I received a check in the mail from a job I hadn't worked at in about a year for just over $400. I thought it was some kind of mistake. I called them to confirm if it was safe to cash, and they said there had been a mistake on my insurance and they were refunding me.
I knew it was God.
I had heard miraculous stories about checks showing up to people in times of need, but honestly I thought they were lying. Oh ye of little faith... God just laughs at me I'm sure of it.
But that's not all. Over the next few weeks, I received two more. One was for $9 for a refund from a college tuition check and another was for $80 for a overcharge from Verizon.
God is so good. He is Jehovah–jireh our provider.
In 2 Kings 4:42-44 there's this story I love.
"One day a man from Baal-shalishah brought the man of God a sack of fresh grain and twenty loaves of barley bread made from the first grain of his harvest. Elisha said, “Give it to the people so they can eat.”
“What?” his servant exclaimed. “Feed a hundred people with only this?”
But Elisha repeated, “Give it to the people so they can eat, for this is what the Lord says: Everyone will eat, and there will even be some left over!” And when they gave it to the people, there was plenty for all and some left over, just as the Lord had promised.
In my situation, God took what little I had and stretched it. There was plenty for what we needed and sometimes there was some left over. Luis wasn't out of work long and we got by with God's provision. The stories mentioned above are not even the biggest of miracles though.
That summer we had received a check from our home owners insurance and were given a few months to submit it to our new insurers. Luis had been working so we were ok, but we really needed the money. We prayed on it and felt like God gave us the ok to use the money for some necessities we had at the time. About a week later my paycheck came in with double the amount it normally was. Not just double but within dollars of the amount that we had spent. Again I thought it was a mistake. I knew that my store had been doing well that month and that I was on track to bonus. But since I had never met our bonus goal in the time I had been there, I had never looked too much into it. Well apparently that particular month, the company had made a special incentive that stores which hit their bonus would receive double what they normally would.
The amount that God blessed us with was $1,700. I don't say that to brag, but I want you to understand that I'm not just talking about a small thing here. God provides beyond what we can imagine. From that month on, I continued to bonus every month while I worked there.
When God began to show me that it was time for me to leave that job, I really struggled because I was so worried how we would get by. But God again showed me that I needed to be obedient and that He would provide. He had began to show my husband to praise Him in all that He gives us even if it's just 5 cents that you find on the ground.
God told us that if we are obedient with a little, He can trust us with more. The same day God gave him the revelation about praising in 5 cents, we had a deposit in our bank account for $5,000. My husband's military benefits that we had been applying for for quite a while came in. We had been told that we shouldn't expect anything till the following year. But God had other plans. They had back paid us from the time we started the process giving us enough to finally get caught up. The amount that we would receive on a monthly basis would be (again) within dollars of our mortgage payment.
This allowed me the peace I needed to leave my job and to chase after a career that would be more suitable to someone with a family.
God knows our desires, but more so He knows our needs. He is so good and He is our provider.
Like the story of the talents in Matthew 25, When God knows that we can be good with a little He can trust us with more.
I am now a faithful believer in tithing. Not because God needs our money, but because it's His to begin with. He should be first, not last.
I pray that these two posts together will inspire you to reevaluate your own situation and ask yourself if you're being obedient with what you're giving God.