Our pastor has this saying “people get funny when you talk about the money” – and its true. People don’t want to hear about how much you have or how much you don’t have, people just want to do whatever the heck they want to with their money because after all, they earned it. It’s like that scene from “Meet the Parents” when Greg Focker is leaving the horribly bad weekend with his future in-laws and tries to get his carry-on into the overhead compartment of the airplane on his way home. The suitcase doesn’t quite fit, but he is not going to give up his bag. He clutches it for dear life, swears at a flight attendant, throws a tantrum like a toddler and ends up in custody for threatening the one thing you never threaten on an airplane (not even gonna say it…but you all know what that is).
That’s how most of us are with our money. We clutch it, we declare it ours and we can do what we want to do with it because it mine! Trust me I am not pointing any fingers – I’ve got receipts.
Six years ago, my husband and I went through a very rough financial period. I’ve spoken about it before, but the whole story actually includes a way bigger picture than the fact that we got wiser and more responsible once we were through the toughest part of it. Our family tithes regularly, which means we give at least ten percent to our church. It comes right off the top, right when we get paid.
One year, however, the financial poo hit the fan. It was a very tough year for us as it was for many families during this time. We had just had a baby, just bought a house, just moved away from family and friends and then my husband lost his job. Money was something we thought about every second of every day and tithing seemed to be getting harder and harder. We knew what we had to do, but it seemed like there was no money to do it. I was working part-time for the church and my husband was unemployed. We were losing our house and things were very stressful.
But, we continued to tithe. We tithed off my paycheck and off my husbands unemployment checks. It wasn’t much. Finally, we came to a week that was just too tight. It was going to be tithe…or eat. Seriously.
One of the volunteers who served in my area had been trying to catch up with me all weekend. It had been busy and I did not have a chance to catch up with her on Saturday when she had wanted to meet. She said she had something for me. When I left home to go to church on Saturday morning, I was still torn about what to do about our tithe for this week. I thought maybe just this once I would not give. We had been so faithful, surely God would understand one little blip in giving. After all, it wouldn’t even be very much (I rationalized this thought even though God does not work like that in the slightest…human minds are so small sometimes).
As usual, God had a plan. A plan I was too small-minded to even be aware of. After hours of wrestling and clutching that tithe check to my chest, holding it and throwing a tantrum as to why God would make me choose money over food I finally made a decision. I decided to trust him. I put my check in the offering. I almost reached back in to grab it wondering if I had made the right decision, but they LOCK those boxes! I went back into the children’s area where I was working/serving that night and felt scared about what we were going to do for food the next week. My husband and I knew we had made the right decision but it was tough to know for sure. Sleep did not come easily.
The next morning I went back to church (we had services on both Saturday evening and Sunday morning). We all ate breakfast from what we had in the fridge and cupboards and then just figured we’d wing it for lunch (Sunday was the day we normally got groceries). After service my friend finally caught up with me. She said “come with me, I have something or you.” We walked over to her car together and when she opened her trunk, I almost fell over. She had about six bags of groceries to give me. I fought back tears and thanked her through the lump in my throat. She had no idea about the tithe check, our financial situation or that we specifically needed food.
We hadn’t even prayed for food, we had prayed for money for the food. Small minds. Big God.
We never ever know what God is up to but He always has a plan. The smallest gesture could mean the world to someone else and God is always in those moments. There are no coincidences or accidents, God is always intentional.
Be thankful this week. If you feel strapped or stressed or fearful about what is around the corner, know that God is part of a very large plan and that every little thing matters to Him.
Categories: All The Rest