Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Test Him—It Really Works!

Life as a seasonally-employed bus driver has its ups and downs. One of the downs is what could be called the off-season: we work when the university's in session. This means summers and Christmas breaks are a bit thinner. But God is faithful to provide! He makes it abundantly clear in His Word that ours is to worry about His Kingdom and that His is to worry about us. We get into trouble if we live any other way.

Marissa and I made a decision before we even got married to be tithers. And we've had some periods when we ate beans for breakfast, beans for lunch, beans for dinner, and beans for breakfast, but we've never failed to be obedient to that decision. We were really tested a few weeks ago but we decided that we would not rob God, even if it meant eating beans again (or even less than beans).

I've heard people give testimony before of being broke and not being able to eat and how God got them out of it. I've also had my doubts ("yeah right!") and my jealousies ("when's mine then?") about spontaneous checks in the mail. Well, God showed me that I was out of line with such thoughts.

We got three checks in the mail this week. The first was from PayPal (we sold some stuff on Ebay). The second was a Christmas gift from a family member. Both came on Monday and neither was really "spontaneous," but together they were enough to see us through the dry month of December. We were going to make it! Maybe on beans, but we were going to make it!

But God (I love that phrase! But God) is not a God of "just making it!" We got the third check today and it was truly a spontaneous surprise. I'm not going to mention the amount here but I will say that it blew our socks off and caused some joyous dancing at the mail box (while the neighbor's roofers looked on in confusion). And it wasn't a reflection of our efforts or even the generous love of family that brought this about. It was God being faithful to the promises in His Word. God is good! The following verses apply here:
Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse- the whole nation of you- because you are robbing me. 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 you will not have room enough for it. (Malachi 3:8-10, NIV)
Isn't that awesome? In this day of limitless bank accounts due to digital dollars, I don't think we can fully grasp what it means to "not have enough room for" God's blessings. Please don't think of it strictly in terms of money. God wants your soul to prosper too (3 John 2) and the last time I checked, no one's soul uses money. What happens when you run out of room for things like joy, love, peace, faith, and hope? I bet it bubbles out of you and begins to bless those around you! Marissa and I are not going to hold on to this financial blessing anymore than we would keep to ourselves the joy of watching Aidan grow into an inquisitive, exploring little boy. Share your blessings too.

You can believe my testimony or not. You can be jealous of my testimony or not. But you can't possibly experience this unless you try it for yourself. I encourage you: make a decision to give 10% of your gross income to God. Do it at your local church. Do it cheerfully. Do it faithfully. It probably won't make sense on your check register. It may astound your accountant that you'd even consider it. But I—no, God promises it will work.

Don't expect a check in the mail every time you give; the Word doesn't promise that at all. But do expect God to be faithful to His promise to provide for your needs in His timing and in His way. It could be a check in the mail, but it might also be a promotion at work or an unexpectedly-paid utility bill or anything! Just know that you won't have to worry about what to eat or what to wear when you put His kingdom and His righteousness first (Matthew 6:25-34).

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