“10 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.”
Can I trust God with my money?
We began tithing at the beginning of our marriage and walk with the Lord. A friend challenged us to make tithing the very first check we wrote each month. She shared, “God’s math isn’t our math. The numbers will never work out on paper. But trust Him and give Him your first 10%.”
We didn’t have the money to tithe we thought. It didn’t fit in our budget. We were scared if we gave money to the church, we’d go without. Or we wouldn’t have enough for the down payment we saved for. We had yet to learn God supplied all our needs and could be trusted with even our money.
But we went for it and began tithing.
How much should we tithe?
We later asked a mentor couple if we should tithe based on our net or gross pay. After all, we didn’t bring home the gross pay. Did God actually expect us to give based on a grossed up number?
Our mentor simply replied, “Well, do you want God’s gross or His net?”
We increased our tithing and never looked back. We never missed a tithe check. And God has never failed to provide.
During this time, I heard a sermon by Chip Ingram that shifted my perspective on provision. Basically provision didn’t match up to the American dream. It didn’t mean multiple cars and televisions.
Fast forward 18 years to where we are today.
God has asked our family to declutter our life and simplify. As we embarked on this journey, I discovered more waste than I knew existed in our lives.
I believe we have been missing the intimacy of watching our Father supply all our needs. We’ve been living in the land of plenty and failing to look for His gifts of provision. He’s provided all along. But since we haven’t been living sacrificially, we’ve been missing the gift of noticing.
Taking the challenge to increase giving
I’ll admit, I love a challenge. I get bored easily and need change frequently. Either I need to rearrange furniture. Or I need to start a new business. I’m kidding. Sort of.
I am always looking for newness. Not sure what that says about me. But I truly love change, and when that change comes with a challenge, I’m up for taking it. When that challenge means seeing God with fresh eyes, I’m all in!
When we prayed about how much God wanted us to increase our tithe by, He gave the same number to both Steve and me. I’ll be honest, the number made me feel scared to death. It meant so much had to change in our lives. Areas of comfort we would need to release. But the night of the advance commitment at our church, the Holy Spirit prompted Steve to increase the amount we agreed on. When he leaned over and whispered to me, I felt my stomach rising into my throat. My first thought was, “That is impossible.” Truly, it was impossible.
Yet, this I know….with God, all things are possible. The more I pondered the number, the more I realized only by committing to something beyond our abilities would we see God move and do more than we could imagine asking Him for.
Let’s get uncomfortable.
We need to be uncomfortable. We need to be stretched. We need to live a life of sacrifice.
What I’m about to share may sound silly to you, but I’m sharing it because I have to give God glory. God does not do for us in order that we hoard the blessings of seeing Him at work.
This process makes me truly seek God. I’m seeking Him all day long. Lord, where will you show up today? Rather, where will I have eyes to see You show up today? He never leaves us, we simply fail to see Him.
Keeping Lists of Gifts of Provision
We’ve started to keep a list of gifts of provisions. Beginning the day after we committed to a season of sacrificial giving, God began to pour out little gifts everywhere we turned.
The first thing we did when we tackled simplifying was to eliminate all costs and bills possible. Even the tiny ones. We ended our family gym membership. We stopped subscriptions to things like Dollar Shave Club. We stopped eating out almost completely. You get the picture.
Right after cancelling our Dollar Shave membership, my razor fell in the shower and the handle broke. So I began sharing with Steve and just exchanging the razor head before he needed to use it. It sounds extreme, but I thought, why spend $10 on a new razor when this will suffice.
How God has provided in sweet, little ways:
- Within a few days a box showed up with a free brand new razor, shaving cream, and a coupon for the first refill.
God’s provision for my insignificant need. God cares for even the tiniest of details.
- I dropped Andrew and Zachary at the golf course. They decided they wouldn’t rent a push cart in order to save the money. They paid for their round of golf and the pro asked if they wanted to rent carts. The boys replied no. The pro responded, “Today, carts are on me.”
God’s provision. God’s gift. They didn’t need it, but God gifted it anyway through the generosity of this man.
- We cut eating out from the budget. Jacob got a receipt for a free sandwich he gave to Steve for his lunch at work.
God’s provision and gift.
- I noticed my gas tank on empty. I filled the tank and went to grab the receipt. The amount was half what I expected. Apparently, I had rewards built up.
God’s provision and gift.
- Steve and I wanted a date night. A friend told me about a favorite restaurant. We discovered they had $4 apps during happy hour. We had a record cheap date night and a great time together.
God’s provision and gift.
- I spent my morning returning things we bought and didn’t really need. As I pulled into the parking lot, I received an email for $10 off dog food and it “just so happened” the email arrived as I sat outside that particular store, right when we needed dog food.
God’s provision and gift.
I could go on with this list and it’s only been a week. Here’s my point. I’ve missed seeing God at work like this.
Simplifying and decluttering to see God work
My life has been so filled with material possessions, full schedules, and clutter despite my best efforts to declutter that I’ve failed to see the sweetness of God pouring in all the little things we need.
It’s drawing me into Him in a sweet, intimate way.
I want a heart that loves God more than anything in this world. When I see Him all over my day, I begin to fall in love all over again.
The timing couldn’t be better to see God anew. We are entering a season that is simply about Him. Yet, commercialism and materialism will surround us. We will be tempted to fill our homes with decor to match our instagram feeds. We will be tempted to overspend at Christmas in order to keep up with the world around us.
It’s a time of year to focus on appreciating all we have, mostly Jesus. The most sacrificial gift given in the history of the world.
This year I’m entering the season with a heart prepared to receive my King. I’m making room for Him in the inn of my own heart. I’m clearing space to see Him, hear Him, and receive all the gifts of simply being loved by the King of the Kings.
Do you want to enter this season full of peace and contentment? Do you want to simply rest in Him rather than race with the world?
I invite you to download Illuminate – Seeing God by the Light of His Word. It’s a 14 audio devotion that will quiet your soul. It will remind you exactly who He is. It will remind you to remember Him. And when you remember Him, you will be less inclined to keep pace with the world.
You will fear less, stress less, rest more, and be quieted by His love.
Don’t wait for Christmas to give a gift to a friend or loved one who could use some soul quieting as we enter this season. Take them along for the journey with you.
And if you are new around here, you might not know but I wrote a family Christmas devotion titled Seeking Christmas – Finding the True Meaning Through Family Traditions. It’s a 7 day devotion created for the busy family to create simple activities and traditions centered on Jesus.