Our close friend Stephan is a financial advisor. Twice a year when I become eligible to participate in my 401K, he lists at least a dozen reasons why I should open the account. He has done this for the past three years. He is absolutely right; independently of saving for our daughter’s future, we should be saving for our own. We probably will at some point in our lives, but now is not the time.
Just as I was before I was born again, Stephan is Catholic. He does not go to church, nor does he really grasp its purpose. He has a pure heart and would make a wonderful disciple, and we have been imploring him to attend church with us for as long as we can remember. He probably will at some point in his life, but for him, now is not the time.
Though our finances are a bit unpredictable, Elizabeth and I recently started investing in a humble retirement account. More importantly, every Sunday we faithfully write a check for 10% of our earned income, and say a short prayer of thanks before dropping it in the offering box. Whether we can “afford” to give it or not, we do. However, it was not always that way.
God is pleased with us, his children, when we are obedient. He asks many things of us, one of which is tithing, or offering a small portion of what He has given us. He asks only one tenth; one small dollar for every ten, so why is it so hard for some of us? Some people feel that the church has enough money, and that their offering is insignificant. And they’re absolutely right; a good reason to tithe is NOT because the church cannot function without their five, fifty, or five hundred dollars. Others consider their donations to Goodwill or volunteer work part of their tithe to God. Still others see their pastoral staff driving cars a little too fancy for their taste, and begin to second guess where their offering is really going. Do you recognize these? They are excuses; just a couple of reasons many of us fabricate so that we do not have to part with our precious, hard earned money.
We conveniently forget that everything we have, every dollar in the bank, is there because God allows it to be there. Everything is already God’s in the first place, and tithing off the top of your income is a way to show your thanks. It is also, for many who live paycheck to paycheck, an act of faith that God will provide for us and we can trust him in that promise. The bible reads “Offer the right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord.” (Psalms 4:5).
He loves us and desires a relationship with us. One way to develop a closer relationship with Him is to trust Him to provide for your needs. Jesus said “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35)
Remember also that God knows your heart and whether you are tithing to please Him. If you have anger in your heart about having to tithe, I’m sure God doesn’t want the gift. He wants you to give gladly. “Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)
If this is an area in your faith where you need work, start talking to God about it. Ask Him to help you trust Him, and to help you let go of earthly things.
Saving for your retirement is smart, but storing up treasures in Heaven is wise. Many people are looking forward to spending the golden years of their lives in luxury condos, vacation homes, or traveling in RV’s. They have been working and saving with admirable discipline their entire lives so that they can live ten, twenty, maybe thirty years in the home they’ve been looking at in glossy brochures.
Personally, I am looking forward to rejoicing in the home that I believe Jesus is preparing for me in Heaven. What will that look like? “… “The city was pure gold, clear as glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every jewel; the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass. And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.” (Revelation 21:18-22)
Not only will I have the great honor of spending eternity in this beautiful city, but my soul will finally be able to rejoice in the glory of the Lord, forever.
In the best case scenario, our friend Stephan will decide to begin walking with God right about the same time we decide to open a 401K account. Hopefully, that day is right around the corner. Until then, we will continue to offer at least 10% of our income to Him, and we will continue to write personal messages in the “For” line on the bottom of the check. Last week was “For God’s work”. This week was “For He is Faithful”. We have experienced immense blessings in our lives since the Lord first began convicting us to tithe. Listen carefully to what He convicts you to do; obey Him; and watch the fruit grow.
We praise you for your Grace
And for your blessings in our lives,
For your guidance and your patience
And for your ever present love.
Lord we pray that you will continue to look after us
And provide for us all we need in this life,
We pray that you will spread your light onto our friends,
Our families and all those who seek you.
God we gladly offer you our tithe
Because all we have is yours to begin with,
And hope you will bless those in need
Through our own good fortune.
Thank you Lord father for all that surrounds us!
This message was written by Elizabeth St.Pierre