Today, our pastor talked about a convention he attended and some things he learned from Rick Warren, the guest speaker. Before writing The Purpose Driven Life, Rick and his wife had committed to tithing to God in a very uncommon way. Every year, they would take another percent of their income and add it to their tithe. Instead of giving 10%, they raised their tithes to 11, 12, 15%. I don't know how high they actually got before The Purpose Driven Life was published, but I imagine it must have been pretty high because it took a long while to get to the point in his life where God had prepared him to write the book.
Once The Purpose Driven Life was published, money came rolling in. That book is actually the #2 bestseller in the entire WORLD. It's second behind the Bible. :) Our pastor said Rick got to a point where he was excited about the prospects that money could bring him...until God reminded him otherwise. Rick become impressed with the fact that the money was God's and that he should remain in his "old" home and continue to use his "old" truck. He didn't need more than he already had, and if he did, God would provide. What a way to be kept humble!
What's more, the success of The Purpose Driven Life has allowed the Warrens to give 90% of their income to God's kingdom. How amazing! They live on the 10% normally allotted to God and give God the 90% allotted to them. Would that I could do the same! Thankfully, our family is debt-free, so we can give without worrying about where the money is going to come from.
But I have to wonder about people who are in debt. How hard it must be for them to give even the "minimum" 10% to God! It's hard to trust anyone with money, even God. The laws of mathematics say that 0-x=-x. But when we give to God, He breaks those laws (He can because He created them). 0-x=enough. He ALWAYS provides for those who are faithful and trust Him. I encourage you to give your tithe, even if you don't think you can afford it. Trust me, God math is incredible.
Before we were debt-free, we struggled to make the right money decisions. However, we never ever considered stopping our tithe. In fact, it was one of the things we agreed we'd always do despite our circumstances. Whatever we have, be it little or much, is from God. We owe him much, so why begrudge Him the 10% He asks us for? Such were our thoughts six years ago during marriage counseling, and five years into our marriage, we see the fruits of giving to God.
I urge you to examine your finances carefully. Decide to pay God before you pay yourself and definitely before you pay your bills. If you're in debt, make plans to get out of it. Christ calls us to give freely, but we can't do that until we get rid of our allegiances to our credit companies. God says the borrower is a slave to the master. Stop working to further someone's agenda and put your money to work for God's kingdom!
Finally, analyze whether you can give a little more generously to those on mission for God. You can give your money to your church, to missionaries, or to Christian non-profit organizations. Do a little research and give where your heart is. Stop being selfish with your money and give it to people who actually need it. Everything we do will be returned to us, not necessarily in the form of money, but in the form of blessings.
Domestic Goddess out.