Tithing: a personal story

I bought a journal a while back, and have been writing in it and blogging less! There is something special to me about reading things I've written in the past, especially things long forgotten, but I do not want everything to be read by somebody. So that's why I got a journal.
But for some reason I feel compelled to share a personal story about our tithing. I'm just going to write quickly, so pardon my lack of eloquence.

Back story: If you know Ryan or I at all, you know that I've been the provider for our family while he's been in pharmacy school. He has been working through school as well, but just part time. When we lived in Little Rock and I was teaching, I thought we were poor of course, and then we moved. Ha. I am now getting paid half of what I was. Another reason why I'm ready for him to finish school. :-)

When we first got married, I had a hard time parting with that 10% for tithing. Ryan is in charge of our finances, and for a little while at first, I am pretty sure we did not tithe our first fruits, but would tithe if we had money left over. A few months into our marriage (almost 3 years ago!), we discussed how that needed to change, and we began tithing our first fruits. I have to say I am thankful for Ryan's obedience because I do not know that I could have been as obedient on my own at that time. We faithfully tithed to our church in Little Rock. It took us quite a while to find a church home there, so I just assumed it would be that way in Fayetteville. So, prior to moving, I committed tithing to a ministry that invested so much into my life. I did this because I wanted to give back, but also partly to hold us accountable during that time period of moving and church homelessness. I had absolutely no idea that it would take one day for us to find a church home in Fayetteville. One day. I committed to do that for one year, which will end in September (I had no income from June until September)! Our pastor in Fayetteville preached on tithing a while back, and stressed the importance of tithing to the local church rather than a different ministry. His message totally convicted me. It was mind-opening and I honestly had never even thought about it. However, I made the commitment, so I have to keep it (I am HUGE on commitment & struggle with people who don't keep theirs. Ya know... in case you were wondering!) :-) Once we give our last tithe to them in September, we will begin tithing to our church. Any money I want to give to a different ministry will be given on top of my tithes to my church, as I now know that's how it should be. Anyway...

I left my job and we moved in June (2011), before we even knew for certain that the UAMS campus up here would achieve accreditation. By the grace of God that all worked out, and it was the most faith-stretching time of my life. Regardless, back in May, I committed to tithing to my friend's ministry, knowing we were moving and I had no job. I had no hopes of a job. The prospects were extremely grim, especially when August came and I still had no job. Little did I know, I would get a job that would pay me half of what I was earning before we moved. And I had made this commitment. Yikes!

I believe that if you do not tithe when you have little, you will have a really hard time tithing when you have much. Likewise, if you do not tithe when you have much, you will certainly have a hard time tithing when you have little. Since we have moved, I have not one time struggled with tithing our first fruits even though my income was slashed in half. We haven't struggled with it because we were obedient when we had excess (which I would have never considered excess until now), and that obedience transferred over into our new circumstances.

A common phrase around our household is "it's because we tithe!" I truly believe that God chose to bless us several times since we've moved, all because of our faithfulness in giving to him. Last October-December (sometime around that time period), my insurance company started sending me money.  Yep.  Have you ever heard of that? I would spend $25 at the pharmacy, and get a check anywhere from $80 to well over $100 from my insurance company. Every time I went to the doctor or pharmacy, which unfortunately was quite often, I would make money. It was crazy! My mom even called the insurance company to confirm that they did mean for me to receive that money from them, and they said yes every time. There are also several other stories I can share, but the only words I have to say about any of it are always the same: it's because we tithe. And that has nothing to do with why we tithe. For about a year now, I have given joyfully. I no longer feel the "sting" of giving because I there is freedom in obedience.

There is freedom in obedience.

I encourage you to do the same. Don't even think about it. Just do it, right off the top. You will be blessed. You might reap what you sow immediately, or it may be a while. But you will.