In case you missed part one of my writing on Giving to God, you can check it out HERE. I’d encourage you to read part one first, as it directly relates to the personal story I’m going to share today. It was such a joy to talk about the bible and the things it says about giving to God, but I really felt like it was important to follow that up with a very personal look at the way in which giving to God has made a difference in my life. I’m going to start out by giving you a very candid look at my financial situation.
I don’t make very much money. I’d rather not say how little I make, but it’s not much at all. I used to make double what I do now by working a second job, but the company discontinued the position I filled there. Since then, the disease that causes so many problems with my legs has made it more or less impossible for me to perform the kind of work that would be required of me at most jobs, so for around a year now I’ve lived on my newspaper salary alone. My house payment is very cheap, and I live with a roommate so I only have to pay half the bills. Without a roommate I wouldn’t be able to afford to live here. My car is falling apart, but it’s paid off. I never go hungry. I have a few luxuries in my day to day life that I could definitely live without if I needed to. I have an incredible support system in my parents, my brother and his wife, and my best friend/roommate who are always willing and able to help me out financially if/when needed. Many times over the past year, I’ve needed a little assistance from one of these supporters to help me pay my rent.
That’s my financial situation. It’s not pretty, but it’s not all that bad either. So many people have it so much worse than I do. I make my money working at a dream job that rarely actually feels like work, and I’m surrounded by people who love me that would never allow me to go without a place to sleep or a meal to eat. So many people are worse off than that, and I know that I’m truly and absolutely blessed to be in the position I am. It’s not always fun being without much money, but my heart is glad and my spirit is content.
Not too long ago I made the decision to start faithfully giving ten percent of everything I make to God. Prior to this, I would give every once in a while. Sometimes I would give by way of donating things to my church’s food pantry that they use to give groceries to the needy. But now I’ve been giving ten percent of my income, no matter what. I don’t check my bills first, I don’t even think about it. That ten percent is God’s. The rest is God’s too, but I keep His other ninety percent and use it to pay bills and eat, and I think He’s okay with that.
I don’t have some elaborate or miraculous story to tell you about my life as a faithful giver to the Lord. I haven’t received a billion dollar inheritance from a long lost Uncle, nor have I been offered some incredibly high paying dream job. Plenty of people have those awesome testimonies about God dropping big things on them when they are faithful in their giving with a glad heart. While all things are possible with God and I’d never rule out His ability to bless me in one of a trillion different ways, so far the blessings in my life have been subtle yet powerful.
Let me tell you what’s changed since I started faithfully giving ten percent of everything I make. I don’t worry about money anymore. I’ve never been a big worrier, but as the end of each month approached a sense of dread would grow inside of me. I would sometimes go a full week without looking at my bank account because I knew the situation was dire. The sooner I looked, the sooner I’d have to face the fact that I was going to come up short again. That feeling is completely gone. The oppression I’d feel over barely scraping through another month by the skin of my teeth? Completely gone. When it comes to the realm of my finances, I live in total peace. It’s a peace that could only be of God.
And really, to me, that’s all the reward I’ll ever need in return for my giving. The peace of God has come in and replaced one of the only areas of my life that used to cause me stress and worry. Maybe it doesn’t sound like a big deal to some of you, but to those who know the crushing worry of mounting bills and a dwindling bank account, I think you’re understanding just how major this is. The ability to be free of that stress and that struggle, to just be able to have an overwhelming peace about it, it’s an incredible blessing and gift from God.
But! There’s more to this story. Since I’ve started faithfully giving ten percent of my earnings to the Lord, I’ve only needed assistance to pay a bill once. What used to be an almost monthly phone call of shame to my brother or mother asking if they could help me out a bit has nearly vanished. And honestly, that doesn’t make much sense to me. Before I was giving ten percent of my money to God, I used to come up short on my bills. Now here I am with ten percent less money than I used to have, but I’ve only needed assistance once. And it’s assistance I was able to pay back the following week!
Lastly, giving to God has awakened a deep wisdom in me over my finances. It’s made me realize that even within my meager earnings I have far too much wasteful spending. Making cutbacks and changes isn’t always easy, but already this newfound desire to be a good steward over my finances has helped me reduce my monthly bills and spending on a significant level.
I’m not telling you this story to try to get glory, I’m telling it so you’ll see that God is the one who deserves glory. Giving isn’t a punishment. Giving isn’t a sign of how much I love God. Giving isn’t a way for me to show how great of a Christian I am. Giving is a way of honoring God. It’s a way of staying obedient to His word. And honestly, it’s a way to invite His blessing into our lives. God gives so faithfully to us in so many different ways every single day. After a lifetime of struggling with the concept, I’ve finally come to the beautiful understanding that it’s my deep and absolute honor to give back to Him through my finances.
The reason I got so personal with this is because I wanted to show how giving to God has impacted my life so far. I wanted to share some of what the bible says about giving and what it’s meant in my life. As for anyone else out there, the giving of your money is something that’s between you and God. As I laid out in several scriptures on Tuesday, I think it’s biblical to give an offering to the Lord. But what if you’re out of work? What if you’ve got a hungry kid at home who won’t eat if you give ten percent? I think it’s between you and God at that point. I will tell you that the bible is filled with great stories of those who had very little and were faithful with it. But ultimately, all I can tell you is what the bible says, and how giving has impacted my life so far. If you struggle with the idea of giving like I used to, just pray about it. God’s our friend. Go to Him as a friend and tell Him that you’re unsure about giving, that you’re afraid of the impact it might have on your finances. We have an incredible God. He wants us to cast our worries and troubles on His shoulders, so if you’re unsure about financial giving, why not go straight to the source? Ask Him to give you wisdom, ask Him to give you direction. As someone close to me told me recently, “when in doubt, pray it out.”
CLOSING AND PRAYER
Thanks to anyone and everyone who read this. I don’t normally like talking about my money situation, I think I used to be ashamed of it. But the amount of money in my bank account doesn’t define me. God defines me, and according to Him I’m incredibly valuable. I’m so valuable to Him that He sent His only son to come to earth and die on a cross, so that I could be set free from sin and redeemed. That’s who I am, and I can’t even fathom being richer than that.
For prayers today, I just want to keep it simple. Jesus once asked his disciples, “who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:13-20). For prayers today, let’s ask God that same question. Ask Him, who do you say that I am? Pray for the wisdom and the strength to stop letting our money, and our cars, and our social standings define us. Pray that God helps us remember that we belong to Him, and that our identity comes from Him.
I love you guys very much! God’s beauty and peace has really been evident in my life lately and I pray that the same is true for each of you. I hope you all have a great weekend, and I look forward to our posts next week as we talk about our personal testimonies, as well as the beginning of my look at the first 24 Psalms. As you move through life this weekend, pause every once in a while and remind yourself that you are loved by God.