About six months ago, I found myself in a financial mess that seemed to be getting worse. I didn’t understand why my money problems continued to grow even though I was praying. I had recently finished the School of Biblical Studies in Canada and one of the things that caught my attention was giving a tithe to the Lord.
Even though I had been a Christian for many years, I had never tithed my money. I was generous in other ways, but I hadn’t been faithful with tithing. Friends used to say that tithing didn’t necessarily mean to give a tenth of my financial support. I could give a tenth of what I had left over, or even less. Also that gifts and hospitality counted. A Pastor once said that he didn’t see the point of giving to the church and then have to ask for financial help from the church.
At this time, I had a long conversation with a very good friend of mine who started to tell me about the different ways God meets our needs. She gave examples of people who did not know how to cover their bills and yet still gave their tithe to the Lord. This friend wasn’t aware of my situation and I finally told her. She testified that God, in all situations she knew, had provided for people in the same situation. She mentioned a verse in Malachi where God said the people were stealing from him by not offering their tithes. In my heart I knew that this was true. After this conversation another friend sent me an email with the same scripture. I was convinced that despite my financial problems, I had to obey and give my tithe to the Lord.
At that time I didn’t fully realize how much my obedience and trust in the Lord was going to be tested. A month later part of my support was cut back. I found myself worrying about how to pay my bills. I needed to learn to grow to trust God as Provider instead of being self-sufficient. My friend encouraged me to declare, every time I felt the worry come back to me, that I trusted God and that He was my Provider. I remember one week especially where I found myself struggling and proclaiming this almost every 10 minutes.
I can honestly testify that since then the Lord has been generous to me. He has provided me with far more than I have given to Him. The two key lessons I am learning from this journey are: I can trust God in everything, especially my finances; trust is not borrowing money. I remember one of my friends offered me to lend me some money. I knew that to borrow the money would mean I trusted myself rather than waiting on God and that I would be trying to solve my financial needs myself. If I am obedient and faithful with my tithes then I can trust the Lord to provide for me. God is faithful to the promises He makes. He promises in his word that if someone follows his ways and is obedient to his commandments, He will bless him.
I know it is a journey to trust the Lord on this new level. Two months after this happened, my support was cut back again. I found myself again worrying. Yet, to choose to trust the Lord and continue to be faithful and obedient in my tithing has brought me on a deeper level of trust and relationship with the Lord. One of the things I realized after studying God’s word was that the Pastor I mentioned earlier had not advised me wisely. When we give our tithes to the church it is not money given to the church, but given to God. So, a Pastor never can say there is no need to give.
Some others say tithing is from the Old Testament and now we are in Christ we have a new law. Yes, but Jesus never said we don’t have to give our tithes. He spoke about the widow, who put her two copper coins in the treasury of the temple that what she gave was more than what the Pharisee put in it, because the Pharisees contributed out of their abundance, while the widow gave all she had. Abraham gave his tithe to Melchisedek when the Levitical law was not yet written.
These are just some thoughts I have on the subject. I encourage you to pray and think about this, if you find yourself in a similar situation as I was. I know that I am more at peace ever since I started to be obedient on this matter and I have lacked nothing. My bills do not add up, yet God provides in everything I need and all my bills have been covered. Not only have they been paid, but I have been given extra finances when I have had particular needs.
It makes me humble, and very grateful. I find the journey continues. I find the Lord puts it on my heart to give more than my tithe. I learn more and more that all I have is the Lord’s and all I receive is from the Lord.
One of the questions I had was, who I am to give my tithe to. This is what my friend advised me. If, you are part of a congregation, your tithe should go there. If not, then pray and ask the Lord. I wasn’t officially member of a church when my journey started, but I gave it to the church I considered myself part off. Any additional donations I pray about where it should go to.