THE TITHING TEST...(REVISITED)
(Full Disclosure--The first portion of this post was written 6 years ago. A new portion is added below).
The biggest fear in my life right now has to do with impending fatherhood. Don't get me wrong. I am thrilled to be having a baby. As is my beautiful bride. It is an honor and a privilege that I/we look forward to. Especially since the fertility doctor told us it would be difficult for us to get pregnant. The fact that my wife is expecting is even more of a miracle. But I must admit to being overwhelmed by the financial responsibilities of being a father. It is still several months away, but I am already worried about paying for diapers and daycare. Recently my pastor gave a sermon on the importance of tithing, dedicating 10% of your income to your local church for the purposes of supporting the body of believers. When my faith has been a vital part of my life, this has always been an easy commandment for me to follow. Now as I approach fatherhood and the financial woes have increased, the temptation or desire not to have to tithe has crept in. So far, God is still winning. And that is a good thing. But I struggle with believing that God will faithfully provide all of our needs. I know that I shouldn't. A promise from God is as good as it gets. Honestly, though, I do. I just keep going over and over in my head "where is all the money going to come from?" and "how are we going to cut expenses?" I don't know, at least not now. When the baby arrives it will be a blessed thing and I can switch over some of my worry to whether or not I will be a good father in other areas. The arrival of our child may actually take some of the burden off the financial picture by bringing other concerns to the forefront. Until that happens, though, my record seems stuck on the financial picture. This is probably common. Nevertheless, it is also uncomfortable. Just putting my thoughts down on paper before I go off to church...to tithe.
As I look back on this post now 6 years later, because my son is autistic and not yet potty trained, I am still concerned about paying for diapers and daycare. Yet I believe God's promise is still true. Here is that promise.
"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." (Malachi 3:10). (God adds more to the promise in verse 11 but I will save that for a future blog post.)
There is a lot of opposition to tithing in my life and in our world right now. Millions of Americans, including me, currently face unemployment in this dismal 2012 economy. Yet I believe God still wants me to tithe.
As the parent of a special needs child, I know there can be the burden of unpaid medical bills or a future health crisis looming in the lives of our disabled children. Yet I believe God still asks that I tithe.
Maybe like me you also face opposition within your own family. My wife is not at all thrilled that I tithe. Yet I believe God still requires it of me.
But his requirement does not come without a promise. "Test me in this," He boldly proclaims. Test and see if I do not pour out from heaven my blessings upon you if you are faithful. In reality, we are both being tested. I am being tested by God to see if I will continue to tithe. And He is allowing me to test Him to see if He will continue to faithfully provide. It has been six years and my family is still financially afloat, paying for those diapers and daycare.
So even though at this time the financial headwinds are against me, my goal is to continue to be faithful. I will hopefully be able to let you know if both God and I pass the tithing test.