“When you open your hand, you satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing.” Psalm 145:16 (NLT)
After I wrote yesterday’s post “Give Your Dreams Wings,” it was placed on my heart that I neglected to mention a very important practice; the practice of tithing, giving the first tenth of our income.
Growing up, my mom, Essie Mae Brown Chever, always said that “if you hold your hand too tightly, nothing goes out, but nothing comes in.” My mom was the most generous person I know. She was always giving from fixing a bologna sandwich for a neighborhood boy who knocked on the door at 11:00 pm saying “Momma, I’m hungry” to continuing to send her tithe to Mount Zion AME, her home church, for years after relocating.
With this type of upbringing it was natural for me to tithe when I started living on my own. Admittedly, I didn’t always give the full ten percent, but I always gave something on a regular basis. This giving continued after I got married. I tithed ten percent from my income; but not from my husband’s income. At the beginning of 2019, I felt strongly that I should tithe from all the income in our joint account. So, I figured out ten percent of our joint monthly income. To be honest, I was a bit hesitate because we had recently lost rental income yet still had a monthly payment on the property. For encouragement, I read over Malachi 3:10 – 12 which says when you give your tithes, “God will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in.” Then, He adds “Put me to the test!” Well, I read over my lists of big dreams for 2019. I wanted to: 1) pay off our equity loan on the home we lived in; 2) pay off the mortgage on our now vacant rental property; 3) pay off all of my credit cards and 4) pay off the balance owed on my husband’s work truck and on my car. Paying off these items involved a lot of money. So, I decided to put God to the test. He had already blessed us by transforming so many of our dreams into realities, but this was the first time I was bold enough to list financial requests of this magnitude. In the back of my mind I kept hearing “you can’t out give God,” another one of mom’s sayings.
I started tithing ten percent of our joint account in February 2019. In May 2019, we were able to pay off the home equity loan and the mortgage on our rental property. Also, in May, God opened the way for me to travel to Budapest, Hungary to spend two weeks with a dear friend. In August 2019, we were able to pay off my husband’s work truck with an added bonus of purchasing a family truck. The only dreams that remained were paying off my credit cards and paying off my car. However, there are still four months remaining in 2019 and I am boldly declaring that we will see God’s promises in Malachi 3: 10-12 materialize by the end of the year.
Please understand, I am not bragging about our accomplishments, I am bragging about the goodness and faithfulness of our God. I don’t even know how God did it, all I know is that we received money from unexpected places; one was a refund from a 2014 medical account that we had paid off. Another was money from a class action settlement I don’t even remember being a part of.
As an added bonus, our fig tree and banana trees planted in 2014 have fruit for the first time. Research says, it can take a banana tree 10-15 months to bear fruit; a fig tree 2-6 years to bear fruit. We were beginning to wonder if we would ever have fruit from these trees since the bananas were way overdue and the figs could take another year. However, this weekend, I went outside and saw two bunches of bananas on the banana tree and lots of fruit on the fig tree. I smiled as I remembered Malachi 3:11 “Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from insects and diseases.”
Again, I am sharing this because I feel strongly that “we should not hide our blessings under a hat,” also credited to mom. God is a faithful God and His blessings are never ceasing. Have we also encountered setbacks and been faced with making life-altering decisions? Yes. But through it all we have learned to lean on the promises of God.
Relentless faith means never giving up, believing in the promises of God and trying to be the best “me” every day in every situation. In the end, God has proven that He will always take care of us and “every thing will be alright.”
Postscript: Writing down financial goals was just one category on my list of dreams for 2019. I also included relationship, health, spiritual, self-development and service goals. I will share what God has done regarding these goals in later posts.