First a little back story.
My wife (Amanda) and I have four beautiful children ages 12, 5, 3, & 2. Yes, we are very busy and a bit crazy.. but we have a blast. I have a professional career and Amanda is a stay at home Mom (aka the CEO of our household). In the last six months our lives have changed drastically for the better after great hardships over the last five years. From the passing of both my Mother and Father to losing our family business. The loss of the family business sent our personal finances in chaos. We lost our home, my parents home, our commercial real estate, and all of our personal savings. The background to that story is another blog post for another day, but as you can see we've been through very difficult struggles financially which ultimately lead us to the welfare line for almost a year. One thing I will say is that going through these hardships made my wife and I tremendously closer, and grew our faith in God leaps and bounds. He never left us. We always had a roof over our head and enough food to make sure no one went to bed hungry, which is a blessing in itself. We reminded and encouraged each other daily that even with what we had, which was not much, we still had more than so many and were grateful to have it.
As a family we have made great gains to climb back out of financial ruin. It took a lot of hard work and sacrifice (and a bankruptcy) but we recently bought a home in a great neighborhood that's perfect for our kids. Something that they've never had. I have a wonderful job that I love in commercial sales and my wife is flourishing in raising our children and making our new house a home.
That leads me to today, Friday the 13th of all days.
As for many of you Friday means payday! It also means "pay bills day". There I was sitting at my desk this morning going over our bills when I was hit with great anxiety. "I am five hundred dollars short this month!" I said to myself. I keep a family budget spreadsheet to manage our finances now and every dollar is accounted for, a big change over how we used to do things in the past. I pride myself on being organized and to the penny with our money. I have to be, we live paycheck to paycheck right now and every penny counts. Needless to say we had a couple of our bills skyrocket on us and had three "extra bills" this month. For the first time in awhile I didn't have enough to cover our expenses. It wasn't even close. $50-$100 I can manage, five hundred plus, not so much... This was even after pulling out our "personal money" (ie money for entertainment, shopping (besides grocery) gas money, etc.). All of which we budget.
All of the old feelings of anxiety started to take over. I couldn't believe that I was sitting here in this position again. "What am I going to do?". I quickly glanced at every item on my spreadsheet, trying to find other things to eliminate, but found none. Can't skimp on rent, food, gas bill, etc.
That's when I read this:
"What if it seems mathematically impossible to begin tithing right away? God answers that question directly when he says:
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse… Test me in this…and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it” Malachi 3:10
God asks us to test him on this score. He challenges us to begin tithing and to see if he won’t meet our needs and bless our lives."
I have the above quote and scripture written below our monthly bills on our budget sheet. Truth is I have not tithed in two months because money has been getting tighter and it was the easiest thing to cut out until we could afford it again. Now look where I find myself. I cut God's portion and now we no longer have enough to meet our basic needs. To give you a clearer picture, I had three bills left unpaid, and only enough money to cover one and a half of them. Even paying on one and a half of the bills it would have left us with zero money until my next paycheck (two weeks away!). I read Malachi 3:10 over and over until I broke down. How could I not trust what my God has instructed me to do. God literally was speaking to me answering my problem. "JUST TRUST ME, bring the whole tithe" is what he was whispering, no, shouting in my ear. How could I have thought that my ways were better? By not giving him his portion for the last few months while I got "caught up on money", when really I was getting further and further behind.
With a humble and grateful heart I signed in to my Church's online giving portal and gave my full offering as God instructed us to do. know that it made zero mathematical sense. God says "trust me in this and see if I will not throw open the floodgates" Once I clicked the submit button and had offered our tithe I felt the Holy Spirit move through me. I immediately broke down and cried. I'm a six foot, two hundred pound man, and I don't cry a lot, but I felt so overwhelmed and protected in that moment that I did. I grabbed my bible, got on my knees and knelt over my bills and prayed this prayer.
"Dear God, I don't have the answers, but I know that you do. I know that you can deliver me and my family from this financial burden. May your will be done in our lives and bring us financial peace. Please forgive me for failing to be faithful to your teaching. You have blessed us so much and have never left our side. You were there with us in the welfare line. You were there with us when we had our utilities shut off. You were with us when we lost everything! You never failed us. You were with us when we closed on our home and when I landed that "big" sale. Everything I have comes from you and it is an honor to give my portion. I love doing it, but I fell off track and was not fulfilling my part. Today that changes. I trust that you alone will provide the means to take care of these bills. Amen."
God had to bring me to my knees for me to pay attention. He got it and I am proud to share it with you.
If you are experiencing financial troubles and struggling to pay your bills, read Malachi 3:10. It will impress on your heart the importance of tithing. Giving God his portion of what he has given you, even when it seems mathematically impossible is the lesson. Walk in faith. Know that our God will deliver you if you are faithful to him. God is so much bigger than the five hundred dollars I was short this month. He asks us to test him in this, will you?
I don't know how those bills will get paid, but I know God granted me peace this afternoon. I know it's in his hands and a blessing is around the corner. He will provide a way. He always has.
Walk tall in your Faith. Have the Strength to do it, and you can Persevere through anything this world throws at you. The creator or the Heavens and Earth knows you by name and desires to have a personal relationship with you today. Listen to him and he will bring peace to your burdens.
He replied, "Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
God Bless you all!