Sunday, November 29, 2015

Giving God Your Wallet

Money is one heck of a controversial topic and it sure is hard to write about too.

Growing up I was taught that money is a private thing.  It's not something you flaunt and it's definitely not something you talk about.  My family lived paycheck to paycheck growing up and I am proud to say due to promotions and blessings on my parents they no longer have to live like that.  My mom and dad both work so hard and they deserve everything they have.  Perhaps I didn't pay attention but I don't remember ever being taught anything else about money other than you must work hard for it and to pay your bills.

When I got my first job every cent I earned was blown on material things.  I never truly learned my lesson with money and that got me into trouble down the road.

When Chris and I got married and joined our bank accounts we found some definite flaws.  We soon discovered we were both impulse buyers and had no real concept of money.  We started falling behind on bills and were drowning in debt.  We would work so hard to get back on track and then make stupid mistakes and fall 8 steps back.

When we started attending our new church we were on the brink of foreclosure and had darn near double the amount of debt we are still working to pay off.  We were fighting all the time about money and neither of us were even in the same book let alone on the same page when it came to the topic of bills.  And to top it off we were seriously considering divorce.

In one of our first few weeks at our church I can vividly remember sitting in service and it was as if God was speaking directly to me, He was telling me, you have to quit how you are doing things.  You need to get your finances in order and begin to pray for your husband again, work like you have never worked before and you can repair this.  It was that day I went home to make a budget and to get our bills on track and work to pay off our debts.  It was also that day Chris and I decided to start giving a tithing with each paycheck.  It was no where near the 10% the Bible calls for but it was what we could afford at the time.  Even 1 year later we are still only at about a 7% tithe monthly, but we are working diligently to get to a place where we can make it to 10% or more.

The topic of tithes and offerings have been weighing heavily on my heart recently with our church's One Day campaign being today.  The difference between a tithe and an offering is that a tithe is your responsibility as deemed by the bible and an offering is what you choose to give above your tithing.  Each year our church takes an offering and gives 100% of the money received that day to our ministries.  We strive to give one day's wage per person.  Last year in one day we raised nearly $50,000!  IN ONE DAY!  The life change made possible from the donations on that one day is unimaginable and immeasurable.

In the few times Chris and I went to church prior to where we are now we would look at each other when they would collect offerings we would always say, "One day we will be able to give back.  One day we will be able to make donations and change other peoples lives."   The present day never seemed like the right day, and it never made sense to give away when we had so little.

In reality, we didn't have little we just did not manage what we had well.  Since then we have come to realize all we have does not belong to us, what we are BLESSED with belongs to GOD and He has simply chosen us to manage it and use it to spread His glory.  When you look at things that way it really changes your opinion doesn't it.  It was with that mindset that we decided to give money to God first and then pay our bills.

Why on earth would 2 people who are having trouble paying their own bills donate money to a church before anything else?  We strongly believe that everything we have are blessings from God and that it is a minimal repayment to give him back 10% of what he has given us. And as our church so strongly believes, we are blessed to be a blessing.

So are you still not convinced?  We quickly saw a return on investment when we began to donate to our church, we saw how much Alex was benefiting each week from his classroom time. We began to learn of the impact our donation was helping to make in countries such as India and Guatemala.  We have built countless numbers of churches in India as well as 2 schools in Los Chilitos, Guatemala, a village we have adopted.  Our church has purchased over 75 ovens for homes within Los Chilitos which ultimately helps to improve the health of their villagers. Through our medical missions and our mission work within the village we have also seen many villagers give their lives to Christ and take the next step in their journey through baptism.  These things are all just a scratch on the surface of what our church is doing.  Your giving does so much more than you will ever know.  This is what motivates us to constantly evaluate if we can give more and what else we can do to bring glory to His kingdom.

It has been after much prayer that Chris and I have come to the decision we cannot fully participate in this offering this year but will give everything we possibly can.  With an un-guaranteed income over the next month for me we just do not see it to be a wise decision at this time. We have decided that when I have returned to work we will be making a full donation to our church and all of its ministries.

God calls you to do all you can with what you have, it doesn't have to be all you have and it is not meant to break the bank.  He simply calls us to give of our time, talents and treasures, but holds nothing against you if you can't afford to give anything.  He simply desires your love,

Isn't it incredible that we serve such a generous God who only seeks your love in return?

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