Putting God FirstBy Melissa M. Birkey
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My husband and I discussed tithing before we married and had similar ideas. The only trouble there was going to be was which church to send the tithe to. My husband is a member of an American Baptist church and I am a member of a Seventh-day Adventist church. With little compromise needed we decided to take the 10% off the top of our earnings and split it in half. This was the only way we could see fit to do our tithing.
I was unemployed for several months. As a result, our bills were falling behind. We were surviving on my husband’s salary with bills created from a dual salaried household. It was very tough. Not nearly enough needed to get by. I would faithfully write the checks to each of our churches, but kept them in my wallet. I was fearful of having a check not clear the bank. I truly wondered what was worse, holding our tithing but keeping track of it in this manner; or taking the chance and going ahead and putting the check in the offering plate. God knew my heart and knew my intentions. I felt as though it was somewhat of a loan. I truly had every intention of paying God’s share to him just as soon as I had the ability.
Finally I landed a position at a local call center. I was nervous and scared about being successful. I prayed that I would do well, earn bonuses, and be able to make a difference to the individuals I was calling. I was not doing telemarketing. There were no sales involved whatsoever. I call Medicare recipients and make appointments with them to have licensed counselors come to their homes to discuss their Medicare benefits and help them pick out the best healthcare plans for them.
Fortunately I was successful. My first check arrived mid-March. To my surprise I had not only earned enough money to pay the bills that were due, but the first thing I did was write a check for my tithe and gather up each of those checks in my wallet. I paid my tithe, every single penny I had saved in my wallet. Things were still going to be tight because we were still behind on our mortgage. I again turned to God. I prayed that he would help me find a way to catch up. I was a total of two months behind in my mortgage and fearful I would hear from the bank telling me they wanted the money now.
I had called my school just a couple of days prior to check on the status of my financial aid. I am a college student at Indiana Wesleyan University and had filled out all of my paperwork in a timely manner and was hoping to hear that I had some money coming my way. When I called I was informed that I did not qualify for financial aid this year. I felt as though I was going to be struggling for a long time to come. I still prayed that I would be successful and earn enough money quickly to enable me to catch up my debts. It’s not an easy thing to do at times, taking your biggest fears to someone; but I went to my parents for help. They immediately loaned me enough to pay a mortgage payment and a couple of other bills necessary. A few days later, a check from school arrived. It was enough to catch up the mortgage. Praise God!<
Our faithful tithing and trust in God to take care of us had indeed paid off. God had taken care of us and continues to take care of us. Faith is the key to having the strength to hold on when times are tough. God gives us what we need when we need it. We just have to trust it will arrive in a nick of time.