I just got paid. Two weeks of work, and I brought home just under $1000. It's two weeks until my move-in date at my apartments. There are a lot of things that I need.
My very first act is to grab my card and pay $125 to the Church. My first fruits. My tithe. It's painful, but I'm grateful to be able to do it.
Won't God Understand?
Why would I do that? Won't God understand? He will. He's awesome like that.
But here's what I understand after more than 7 years of trial and - lots of - error: The math lies. The math tells me I don't have the money to be giving to the Church. After all, I'm going to need every penny to make it through the next two weeks, to get my move-in money together, and to help us furnish the place with all the essentials you don't really think about until you need them.
However, the math lies. God is greater than the math. I have seen it happen, time and time again. The math tells me that if I do what I know I need to do and tithe, then pay the bills, I will be left with nothing. So my fear nags at me and tells me I shouldn't let go of that money. I might need it.
The Courage To Do What's NeededSo I tithe. Then I pay the other bills I know I need to pay, before I have a chance to chicken out and let my fear get ahold of me.
This is part of the secret: Letting go with God gives me the courage to be more responsible with the money I have. Instead of spending first out of fear I won't get to if I pay the bills first, I do what I need to do and trust God for what's lacking.
The Blessings Materialize In Many WaysThings that I need suddenly go on special, and they cost me less than they would normally. Jobs materialize that allow me to make a little extra on the side. Rarely does the money I put into the collection plate come directly back to me - mostly, it comes back to me as savings or blessings that stretch the dollar so that it reaches further than the math says it should.
Each time I tithe is an exercise in trust. Each time I tithe that trust gets easier. I have done it often enough to see the fruits it bears, and it is worth it.
Giving Makes It Easier To Be GenerousGod cannot be outdone in generosity - but it can be fun to try. And giving to Him makes letting go easier in other ways, too. It makes it easier to be generous with family or friends in need, remembering that God has promised that those who give to the poor lend to Him - and He will repay that debt.
The Math That Can't Be TrustedThe math lies. It tells me there are limits to what I have received. That if I spend today, it will not be there tomorrow. The math doesn't take God into the accounting. It doesn't account for moments of divine grace, or times when God brings the right people into your life to allow things to go your way.
I've seen it work the other way, too. The math making me feel like I have plenty until unexpected expenses rear their heads and forgotten bills are suddenly due. Jobs that were supposed to happen suddenly evaporate like water on a hot Texas summer day. People who promised to help don't, and friends and family turn the other way.
I Can't Afford NOT To TitheThat's what happens when I don't give. I have learned the hard way.
I used to say I couldn't afford to tithe. I have since learned that I cannot afford NOT to tithe, because the math lies.