Before I met my husband, people always said, “When you meet the right guy, you’ll just know.” I could never understand that—until I experienced it.
I’ve found the same to be true with God. “God is generous to those who are generous.” I could never understand that—until I experienced it. To be more specific, until we went out on a limb and committed to giving over triple our yearly household income to our local church.
Over the last ten years, my view of money has radically changed. I was the saver growing up. Ever since I can remember getting money for my birthday, I didn’t spend it on anything. While the concept of saving is good and necessary, I saved to a fault. About ten years ago, though, God started working on me. I started learning things that sounded crazy at first but slowly began to make sense. Things like, all of my money is a gift from Him. Or beginning to believe that God actually wants good things for me. And that He can use what I have for others in a way that blesses them and me. That it’s OK to use my resources on those things.
So, I started tithing (which means giving 10% of gross income, btw) for the first time in 2010 after I went on a mission trip to South Africa. I came back with a heart exploding to be, do, and love bigger than myself in every way I could. I decided I could do that by giving to my local church, which was facilitating life change around the world. I think I made that sound too easy. I may have been excited, but when it came to actually giving that 10%—that was hard. Until I came into a deeper understanding that all my money was God’s to begin with and not mine. He gifted it to me, so surely I can give 10% of it back to Him. And for quite some time after, God seemed cool with this level of giving in our life.
Then, during a series at our church in November 2015, we felt like we heard God asking us to trust him with something more extravagant. It wasn’t a clear, audible voice, but just this gut feeling that kind of terrified us, but kept feeling right to do, and gosh how beautiful it’s been. Here’s what 2015 looked like:
- My husband was starting a business (not making any money. Mostly just setting money on fire.)
- I worked at a church, so my salary was tithing and paying our mortgage (thus intentionally going into debt for the first time in our lives with all the other expenses.)
- We had just bought a house.
- We had just found out we were pregnant with our first kid.
Let the reality of that settle in for a second. OK, now pretend you got a new bill for triple our annual household’s income to pay over the next three years. That’s the number we heard from God when we asked how much we should give—above and beyond our regular tithing. If you about peed your pants just now, you’re feeling what I felt! I fought God on it, but He didn’t change it. He asked us to trust Him and be obedient, and we did, without a clue how this would be possible.
That brings me to experiencing God’s generosity when we’re generous. Fast forward three years to 2018/2019.
- God provided for us in a way that almost made that commitment (which felt insane at the time) easy
- We paid off all the credit card debt
- We bought the perfect house for us, in the exact place we wanted to be (this also felt impossible)
- We’ve been able to be generous with friends who were going through the adoption process, others going through IVF, and others who fell on difficult times financially
- We added a 2nd baby to the family, and thus a new minivan (though I’m not as excited about that one, God.)
Say WHAT?! Everything I’d ever heard about God being generous and abundant was so undeniably evident. There is a joy that comes with being generous that can’t be explained with words. But I think Proverbs 3:9-10 says it best:
Glorify God with all your wealth, honoring him with your very best, with every increase that comes to you. Then every dimension of your life will overflow with blessings from an uncontainable source of inner joy!
Tithing is actually the only spot in the entire Bible where God says, test me. See if I don’t provide for you. So, why not give it a shot for even a couple of months? You’ll never know what God can (and will) do until you let him.