Those of you here at CB who know me are aware that I've really faced some challenges health-wise over the past few years. I started out 2011 (January 4) facing the loss of my job due to the residual effects of a brain damage. It has been a wildly uncertain year for me. A year filled with numerous doctor visits, tests and wading through mountains of red tape as I tried to file for disability benefits. The red tape. It is challenging enough for anyone but when you have a brain injury, it is even more difficult. LOL!
This past year, due to the loss of my job, my husband and I faced a huge economic crisis as well. We could have lost up to 60% of our household income if various disability benefits had not been granted and even though they were granted, there is still a loss of more than 25%. When facing this sort of crisis, it is tempting to circle the wagons and cut all costs including... giving.
Cutting back on giving. When it comes to giving to God, especially, this is the very thing you must not do. I know it is very, very hard to not do so. Every excuse comes to mind as to why God will understand if you cut back in this area or... even stop altogether. Do not be deceived.
The only time I have ever seen God speak out against a tithe or offering is when the heart offering it up was not right. Then, God did not tell them it was okay to not give. He told them to go, get their heart right and then come back and give. No one, and I mean no one is excused from giving.
This past year, my husband and I took a look at our expenses and decided what we could cut back on... and what was non-negotiable. At the top of the list was giving. We decided that giving tithes and offerings was non-negotiable. We decided that there were other ministries which we support and we needed to continue that support. Although my husband is not a CB member, he wholeheartedly agreed that I needed to continue my additional pledges to this site. To tell you the truth, we wondered for how long we could even do that but decided that was God's business, not ours.
Do you know what? Even though my pay was reduced for a few months, even though I did not get paid anything for nearly three months, every single bill, including our mortgage was paid in full and on time. Now you have to know something else. Our new monthly income, even with disability, does not cover our current monthly expenses. On paper, if I tried to pay everything each month and there would not be enough to cover them let alone buy things like... groceries. So, how has it been that we've been able to tread water? God.
As we are nearing the end of the year, I was going back through the contribution report I got from my church. Wait a minute! I checked the figures. They were correct. I pulled up last year's report and stared at it. Then I smiled for something amazing was definitely going on. Despite a serious loss of income, our giving had actually increased by more than 35%. That, my friends, is God.
"But I cannot afford to give!" is a cry which I often heard. I know that years ago I would be guilty of saying the same thing myself. Instead, we should be crying out, "I cannot afford not to give!"
We tell ourselves that God understands but does He really? Failure to give (and I'm just not talking about money here) demonstrates that our faith is not in God. It is in money or in ourselves. I pray that we will open our hearts and take a look at our giving, long and hard. I'd also like to exercise a word of caution. When we give, God looks at our heart. If our heart is not right, God will not accept our gift. That's all there is to it. Our hearts must be right. It is very simple. When we give in order to bless, we will be blessed. If we give in order to be blessed, we won't. Oh, the enemy might bless us temporarily for he loves that sort of giving and will often "reward" people for doing so.
When we give from the heart, we are depending upon God to "bridge the gap" and provide for us. We are showing our love and our trust in Him. We are demonstrating that we are not dependent on "stuff", we are dependent upon God. Best of all, we are also imitating our Heavenly Father and isn't that what we as children are supposed to do?
Sister K, yes no one can outgive God. When we choose to trust Him and tithe and bring offering to Him, He will multiply to us more than we give. It's not because He will hold provisions for us, it's because He wants us to believe in Him and trust that He will bring and supplu all our needs. When we do that, He will definitely surprise us with more and more, even to overflowing.
Thanks for sharing
From Hwa Silverpen
I have only become somewhat familiar with your health challanges, K. I myself have had a couple of difficult years...the last 4 actually. And, I went through that "mountain" of red tape in securing my perm. disability. What a struggle it is!
As for your thoughts on giving, I could not agree more! Many will allow themselves to "rationalize" a cut back in giving for various reasons. However, I have also known people who have increased their giving, even in difficult times. The money we give to further the work of God in our local communities and around the world is so important. Also, when we give, it speaks directly to the condition of our hearts. If we profess God as priority one in our lives, then "cut" our giving in favor of other things, what does this say about us?
You can believe that satan does not want us to give. He does not want people to obey their Lord in giving, nor for others to learn about the saving grace which Jesus brings. This is all the more reason we should give as we can, from our hearts, as generously as possible. Your message is a very good one, and needs to be considered by us all!