Over the past couple of weeks, my pastor has been preaching a series on tithing and giving. Tonight he shared a couple of stories he'd heard this past week. The first story was about a couple who told him that last year they had decided to tithe and then give above and beyond that in offerings. At the end of the year, they discovered that their income had increased by 400% over the past year.
The second person was visiting the church for the first time last weekend. He did not have a job and one of the challenges to getting a new one was that he did not have a car. He was so moved by the sermon that after church he talked to the pastor, reached into his pocket and pulled out $20.00. He didn't have much but he wanted to give.
Well, the next day, he was looking at a car which cost $1,200.00. To his shock, the seller said, "You know, you're going to think this is odd but I just feel "led" to let you have this car for $200.00.
Then my pastor said he wanted to share an incident with just another twist. A young couple came to him just the other day. They wanted to know what they were doing wrong. You see, they have faithfully given to God in both tithes and offerings. One of them is still in college and they don't make a lot of money. They heard wonderful stories like I mentioned above but why wasn't this happening to them. Were they doing something wrong?
My pastor had some questions for them. Were they hungry? No. Were they in need of shelter? No. Did they have clothing, transportation and jobs? Yes. Were they able to pay their bills? Yes. So God was providing their needs? Yes.
They came to understand that God had indeed truly blessed them. They weren't hungry or cold. They had what they needed when they needed it. However, there was something else. They were learning endurance.
You see, it is easy for someone to do something for a season or if they get a "reward". It is another thing to keep doing something that you know to be right even if it seems like you are getting no recognition or reward. Those are the times when your true colors come out; when you are running the race with patience.
If we are to remain faithful, we must build up endurance. As we follow Christ, there will be thousands of "ordinary" days during which we do not "see" miracles or prayers answered. When we walk in obedience and trust in God no matter what, that is how we build up endurance and we need endurance in order run well and finish the race.