“Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” Malachi 3:10
This was part of the scripture in our Sunday School class this past Sunday. A couple of things that I love about this particular scripture.
1. God is explicit with His expectations of us.
2. God is explicit with His promise to us should we be obedient to His expectations.
God’s expectation of us is that we not rob Him. We are to give Him the whole of our tithe. Not a little bit. Not a fraction. He wants all of our sacrifice to Him (remember the whole bit about Him being a “Jealous” God?). He even tells us to test Him. Give your sacrifice and He promises to bless us until there is no more need.
For our family, we’ve seen this scripture to be true especially when we look back on our move from Florida to Tennessee. Bear with me because I tend to interpret “tithe” as our sacrifice to God and because of that, I tend to interpret it as both monetarily and our lives, as a whole. On our first visit here for my hubby to interview for his position, we didn’t have a clue what our financial situation would be should he be offered the position. (If you are unfamiliar with hiring of ministers, the salary/benefits package is typically one of the last items discussed.) We knew God was leading us into a new ministry but felt very blind going into the interview process.
As we were leaving the airport in Florida, my vanity was showing and I desperately wanted my toes painted. My hubby obliged and we visited a small airport salon. I “happened” (are there any coincidences with God???) to be assigned a fellow believer who did an awesome job on my feet. While she was working, she shared her testimony with us and about how God provided for her and her family when He asked her to act on faith. She repeated over and over through her story, “God is faithful. God always provides.” It was a very encouraging time and we both left feeling very sure that, not only were we supposed to be flying to Tennessee, my hubby would be offered the job.
My hubby was offered the job (hello? obviously since we live here now. haha) but, when I met him at the door of our hotel room after his meeting with the Senior Pastor, I could tell that he was apprehensive about something. He handed me the formal job offer and I understood why he wasn’t jumping for joy. Looking back, it was a fair job offer but we still had our prior living situation in our mind. I was a full-time degreed tax accountant and he worked part-time in ministry. We weren’t suffering even if we were living outside of our means. In light of that former income level being fresh in our minds, we were slightly shell-shocked and pretty emotional. Emotional because we didn’t understand. We both felt like God was leading us here but… how would we do it financially??? We didn’t understand. We really didn’t have a lot of time to be emotional because we were scheduled to meet with the Senior Adults minister and his sweet wife for lunch. We pulled our smiles together and off we went. This sweet couple didn’t realize what they were stepping into when we went to lunch. Haha. There was typical casual, “get to know each other” conversation until the wife asked us about our flight from Florida to Tennessee. Being the motormouth that I am, I started lightheartedly telling her about my vanity in the airport and “needing” my toes did. While telling her about the fellow believer’s testimony of God’s faithfulness and provision, I stopped and crumbled into tears. I was a true hot mess. I looked at my hubby and took his hand. I said, “God told us. All the way back in Florida. He’s faithful and He always provides.” My hubby nodded and we both knew that we were moving to Tennessee.
My hubby, of course, accepted the position and we returned to Florida. We still didn’t know how we were going to make the financial situation work. We did know these things: God had shown us where we were to serve. God had told us that He would provide. God had shown us our house while we were visiting Tennessee. So, not knowing how it would all work but trusting God, we put an offer in on our house. We left Tennessee with the knowledge that we were moving away from all of our family and friends AND that we had NO idea how God was going to work it financially. We made sacrifices with our whole lives to be obedient. Now, we were in the “test me” phase. We literally were telling God to please, please show us how this was going to work. And, He did. God is faithful and God ALWAYS provides.
I’ve been long-winded so I think I’ll blog another time about how God provided (in abundance!) for us. It’ll be another long blog.