Friday, September 28, 2012

The "Secret Sauce" in Financial Well-Being

“Bring one-tenth of your income into the storehouse so that there may be food in my house. Test me in this way,” says the Lord of Armies. “See if I won’t open the windows of heaven for you and flood you with blessings." (Malachi 3:10, GW)

There is no doubt that there are often financial challenges to raising a child with special needs.  Depending upon the diagnosis and whether there are financial supports surrounding that particular diagnosis, funding care for a dear loved one can put a family in a place of serious desperation.  One of our three children has a diagnosis that currently requires him to be treated with approximately $250,000 per year in medication alone, with the guarantee of that cost rising as he grows.  Unless a family is earning an unusually high annual income, there is no way treatment for such a diagnosis can be afforded.  The stress that accompanies such numbers is heavy to say the least.

Yet, in our previous post "Money Troubles", we examined the notion of encouraging one another by sharing the stories of God's provision in these very types of situations.  We learned that the name "Jehovah Jireh" was given to the Lord by Abraham thousands of years ago when He provided the ram for the sacrifice, sparing Abraham's son.  And God remains that same ultimate provider to this day.

But that provision is not necessarily unconditional.  We all know families or individuals who are not surviving or thriving in the midst of their challenges.  And I would contend, that it may very well come down to a demonstrated sign of complete trust - tithing.  This huge step of faith is really the "secret sauce" in our financial well-being.  Am I implying some sort of Voo Doo ritual to guarantee stability?  Certainly not!

There is no "magic" involved in tithing.  The Scripture cited above, however, is the only promise of God where He urges us to test Him.  It's as if He is asking us to see if He really makes good on this promise.

The interesting thing is that when we take the risk to take Him up on His encouragement to try that promise out, we find Him faithful every time.  It seems completely counter to our human logic, but perhaps that is why He encourages is to do so.  When we take that leap of faith, trusting and obeying Him, we learn that the only way we could have possibly been provided for was by His hand.

In another passage, God also reassures us of His provision, "I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread." (Psalm 37:25, NIV)  This is why I chuckle when I think back to the days where my husband and I had the faulty logic of thinking, We can't afford to tithe.  In fact, we couldn't afford not to tithe!  God's words from Malachi tell us that he won't just provide the bare minimum we require, but that we will be flooded with blessings when we step out in trust.

Friend, I will tell you, every time I have tithed and then second guessed the truth in the promise, I have been proven the fool.  When we have given 10% of our paychecks to church or Christian charity, then doubted that God would come through in our financial pinch, we found ourselves surprised by His generous grace.  He delivers in awesome, unexpected ways, so that there is no question that it is Him.

It seems outrageous that I should be suggesting such a thing to parents who are already cash-strapped and financially stressed.  Yet, I know our own financial position and how the Lord has moved in our lives.  That motivates me to offer this challenge.  I dare you to step out in faith today.  Try tithing.  Whether it be to your local church or even this ministry, test God in this as He asks.  We want to hear back from you afterwards.  Let us know the effect of tithing in your lives.  We expect that we will be hearing reports of miracles.

PRAY:  Jehovah Jireh, I know that every good and perfect gift comes from You.  Help me to rest and trust in Your promises.  But also help me to step out in faith by daring to give the first 10% of what I am given back to You.  I am eager to see surprising miracles!

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