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To Give or Not to Give, That is the Question

Good morning friends! It is Thursday, May 6, 2021.

As much as I love to write there have been a few mornings where I sit down and just stare at the screen. What should I write about Lord? I love when things seem to come together as if a neon sign points to a particular subject. That happened this morning.

As habit has it I spent all morning trying to come up with a good topic. I always ask the Holy Spirit to lead and then I look and listen for His promptings. Most of the time ideas come quickly. But not so much today.

Last night I was invited to be part of a Facebook Live Wednesday night Bible study at Gateway Church. Although the topic was John 13:36, Pastor Kip started the hour talking about money and tithing.

I have several incredible miracle stories about tithing, one of which he asked me to talk about last night. I will describe that story here in a bit, but first this: I shared with you a few days ago that I had started reading a new book titled "Life-Changing Divine Appointments; 30-Day Challenge." This morning as I opened the book to day 5, I read this "There are two indicators of what we value: time and money".

Well, since we had just talked about money and our love of money last night, I decided that is what I should write about this morning.

Last night Pastor Kip mentioned that he had read something along the lines of 'one of the last places we are truly converted is with our money and tithing'. I found a quote this morning on-line. John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist church once said, "The last part of a man to be converted is his wallet."

I think that is true. I have always seen the importance of returning a 10th of my income to God, but not everyone does. I mentioned last night that this is the only area in our lives, and in the Bible, where you see God inviting us to test Him.

Malachi 3:10 NIV "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."

When my children were young, I am talking 30 years ago, we decided to cut our own Christmas tree in the mountains. We looked for a as or some other way to cut a tree but came up empty handed. I remembered a knife I was given from a Kirby Vacuum salesman. It was a long, serrated knife and on the sheath of the knife it showed all the things you could cut with it, included small branches. We decided the knife would work for cutting a small tree. we loaded the kids in the Blazer, snacks and water and headed up to the mountains. After finding the perfect tree Wendell began cutting. About halfway through the trunk, the blade detached from the handle cutting him badly! There was so much blood, and I was in a panic to get him off the mountain and to the clinic so we could get him stitched up.

In true Wendell-style and he yelled at me to grab something to wrap his hand with. I found an old t-shirt in the back of the blazer and he wrapped his hand tightly, finished getting that tree. He loaded it and tied it on top of the vehicle, and we headed to town.

Soon after receiving the bill from the clinic, I wrote the company that sold the knife and told them what had happened. I enclosed a copy of the bill and asked them to pay for it. I did not ask for anything more, just pay the bill. Time went on and I forgot all about the letter.

Weeks later we were headed to church and I told Wendell we needed to pay our monthly tithe. You should know this was at a time when Wendell was unemployed, and money was very tight! You should also know Wendell did not have the same faith and trust that I had regarding paying tithe, but I insisted. That morning I paid, let's say $125. I do not remember the exact amount. I always prayed for God to bless us because of my faithfulness in paying tithe (and He always has)

That day after church we picked up the mail. In the mail was a letter and check from the company that made the knife. Weeks had gone by and I had forgotten all about it. It was not for the amount I had asked for. It was for more than I had asked for and it was exactly what I had paid that morning in tithe.

I have another story. Money is always tight in the Stark house. And to work out numbers on paper...there would not be enough money to pay tithe and pay all the bills. But I have discovered that if I am faithful with my tithe, bills always get paid. I call it "God Math" and it is incredible! You cannot explain it. Again, you cannot work it on paper, I only KNOW it works. I have seen it over and over and over again.

Wendell was a fence builder. In the spring and summer, he made good money. Winters were very sparse. This one time we had enough money for tithe and bills but there would be no money left for groceries. We talked about it. Wendell felt like we should not pay tithe. How are we going to eat? How will be feed the children? I insisted we pay tithe. I told him, again, that God would provide. We needed to trust Him.

I paid our tithe that month. A day or two later, it was evening and there was a knock at the door. I opened it and there was a man that we had hired to build some shelving for us some time back. He seemed a bit awkward as he said something like "I have something for you. Can you come outside with me?" He led us to the back of his car and opened the trunk. He said, "I hope this does not offend you, but I was strongly impressed to do this." His trunk was absolutely filled with groceries. We carried in bag after bag of food. We had enough food to last most of the month. It was just incredible.

I have more stories, but I will leave you with this thought. If you are struggling with your income (and even if you are not) return a 10th of your income to God. He does not need our money! But He loves to bless our faithfulness. This is the only area of our lives where the Master of the Universe invites us to test Him. Test Him and see if He does not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.

May God richly bless you, guard and protect you. Remember, Jesus is coming soon!

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