Becoming a Financial Steward 8: Meeting Someone New, Part 2

Hello again!!  Let’s jump right in where we left off!

So where do we start on this journey of generosity and how do we begin to apply it to our financial lives and obtain balance? What are the benefits and blessings that follow it?

Let’s start by looking at a key scripture in Malachi 3:6-10. God is so bent on showing us His goodness and generosity that he asks us to test him by doing it ourselves! He says this in verse 10 of the passage, 

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.

Wow! What a challenge!  If you notice here, the challenge is really about watching what God will do when we trust him enough to give him the tithe. In case you missed the point, God wants something for us, not something from us. He doesn’t need our stuff, He owns it all anyway (Psalm 50:9-12)! But what He wants for us is a relationship of trust that is built on our reliance upon Him. What follows is peace, joy, purpose, freedom, and a lifetime of watching Him pour out blessings in our lives. Are these riches and material blessings?  Sometimes yes, but that is not the promise. He promises to always meet our needs and take away our anxiety.  We still need to be diligent and work hard, but we need to let go of the drive of worry and fear that we won’t have enough and trust that He will provide for all of our needs (Matthew 6:26-27). Are you starting to see what God wants for you?

Can you imagine freedom from anxiety and fear regarding your finances?

So what is a tithe? According to the scriptures, a tithe is 10% of what you earn. The first recorded offering to the Lord is seen in Genesis 4:4 when Abel brings an offering to God of the best of his profits. The first recorded tithe comes from Abraham in Genesis 14:20, where Abraham recognizes God as the one who gave him the victory and he gives 10% of the spoils.

Throughout the rest of the Bible, the tithe represents 10% of a person’s income. This is interesting because He could have picked 1 or 5 or 7%, but He didn’t, He picked 10% -  a percentage, not a number.  I think this is because it has to be enough for us to take notice.  It has to be enough for us to say, “Ok God, I am trusting you every time with all of my income, all of my stuff, all of my hopes and dreams.”

Let’s look at the following and I want you to think about the impact these could have on your mental and emotional health. Not only that, but will it begin to change your relationship with money for the better?  How about your relationship with your Father in Heaven? What about your relationship with your spouse and others?

Benefits & blessings of generosity to God and others:
 
  • Trusting God with your money helps you consistently release control, and in turn, anxiety, stress & fear
  • Keeps your heart loving Jesus & others more than money
  • Keeps earthly wealth in a heavenly perspective 
  • You’re no longer a slave to money
  • When you die, nothing is yours, but what you did with what you were entrusted leaves a legacy forever

The Lord has something great in store for you, if you are willing to step out of your comfort zone and trust Him enough to begin giving a percentage of your income - even if you have never given on a regular basis or learned the Lord’s financial principle about giving before today. We believe that God wants at least 10% and you will notice, if you clicked on the budget template in “The Game Changer” blog, that we have that percentage already built into the budget.  

If you are reading this for the first time and this idea terrifies you, I would encourage you to pick a percentage and start with that.  My friend, I promise that God will start to show up in your life with a simple act of faith and trust in Him.  I have never heard anyone say that they regretted any step in being generous. Instead, the more often they gave, and the more it became a habit, the happier and more fulfilled they were!  When you start giving, you begin to see miracles, and the more you give, the more you want to give! Keep a journal and write down what happens after you give for the first time...the second...the third and so on. Write to me and tell me all about it!!!  I cannot wait to hear!

I began my own journey in trusting God with my finances in my early twenties after my husband and I found ourselves nearly $100,000 in debt with student loans, credit cards & car purchases. We were working all month just to pay our debts and buy some groceries. I was terrified of the idea of giving money knowing that we might not have enough to pay our bills. We had no savings and were learning how to begin stewarding our money with the help of another couple who coached us at no cost through the financial ministry at our church.  We didn’t have tithing, or any giving for that matter, on our radar. I had never given consistently before, and knew nothing about the concept of tithing. My friend, I also had no idea what was waiting on the other side.

We made a decision to start tithing 10% of our income, and that month money literally showed up in the most unexpected places.  It kept on happening! We never went a month without being able to pay our bills, eat and have a roof over our heads.  Within 5 years, we had paid off all of our consumer debt, purchased a home and had two children.  Did we make some hard decisions?  Yes. We cut back everything, but we didn’t cheat God. We prayed and He showed up over and over again. Now, instead of arguing about our money, we have conversations about ways we can use our money to not just tithe but to go above and beyond that and bless others.  

My experience in practicing generosity is joy in fulfilling a need, compassion and mercy in knowing I helped someone else, contentment in my possessions, a sense of purpose in my work, and the freedom to constantly repeat it.  

Hear me on this - generosity is key, but it must work in unison with all the other principles. Don’t let go of anything you already learned, add this to it.  Make it your first priority.

Great resources to help you in your journey include:

  • How to Be Rich by Andy Stanley
  • Fields of Gold by Andy Stanley
  • Giving Together by John Rinehart
  • More or Less by Jeff Shinabarger

Next time we’ll talk about estate planning and the importance of it!
See you on the next post!

Would you like to talk with someone who can walk alongside you confidentially with your personal finances?  Please know that there is FREE coaching available for you to take advantage of from our Financial Ministry!  Just email: [email protected], I look forward to hearing from you.

-Sarah Bateman, Director of Community and Finance

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