You can't out-give God
As a bunch of teenagers and young twenties, we were challenged to see if we could out-give God.
When I was a teenager, I heard a very old man (he seemed so to me back then) talk about giving 10% to God. Ten per cent of everything, and practically speaking, he meant salary. He even pointed out that since the government gets taxes based on the whole amount of salary, that God should get His 10% based on the whole amount too, i.e. not the after-tax amount. As a bunch of teenagers and young twenties, we were challenged to see if we could out-give God. The old man said to us that he had spent his life testing God in this area, and he hadn't been able to out-give Him. He mentioned some well-known wealthy people who gave a lot, some even up to 90% of their income, and they just kept earning more and more, and giving more and more.
It's the only time in the Bible where God lays down a challenge with the words, "Test Me in this…"
I was intrigued and decided to take up the challenge. It's the Malachi challenge actually, the bit where God challenges the people of Israel to bring their tithes (their 10 per cents) into the temple, the house of God. God states quite clearly that if the people of Israel, His children, would do that, He would open the windows of heaven and pour out so much blessing that they wouldn't be able to contain it. It's the only time in the Bible where God lays down a challenge with the words, "Test Me in this…" (some versions say "prove Me in this…").
At the time, I was earning some occasional babysitting money, so my 10% didn't amount to much, but I started to faithfully give to my local church. Then I got a summer-time job at a florist and I continued to give, followed by a year working as a secretary and receptionist (more giving), then nursing training, and working full-time as a nurse, where I continued to give. Are you starting to get the picture?
I never experienced rejection when applying for jobs or training…
Well, that was my perspective of giving - and I was enjoying giving by then (sometimes I found out what the money I gave achieved in the lives of other people but mostly I didn't know), and one of the things I vaguely noticed was that I never experienced rejection when applying for jobs or training… it seemed a bit unusual compared to some of my friends. However I didn't pay much attention to this at the time, and didn't connect it to my willingness to give to God. Perhaps it was coincidence, perhaps it was God honouring my giving by making it possible for me to earn something and be able to give? I can't prove it either way…
Just after I was married was when the blessings started to be poured into our lives more noticeably. My husband was offered a job with a large salary increase compared to what he was earning, and the job came with a company car, a BMW - he certainly felt blessed and delighted, and so did I. When we had our children, we both agreed that I would stay home to look after them, so I decided to give 10% of my housekeeping and food money, and did that for several years. However, I learned that giving can be done in many other ways, even if you don't have much money. I gave of my time in volunteering, I gave meals and groceries from time to time to those who needed them, I gave my ears to listen, I tried to give secretly as much as possible (because Jesus said, "When you give, don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing") and I gave my smile to as many people as I could!
God keeps pouring blessings into our lives.
God keeps pouring blessings into our lives. We started a business and it is still growing and succeeding several years later, and it is something that I enjoy and am passionate about - nourishing people with good food, and enabling them to nourish themselves well. We have been able to employ other people and bless them too. Now, I'm not saying anything stupid like "We gave to the church so God gave us perfect lives" - that would be ridiculous and totally untrue. We have of course had our big challenges (some very big) and our deep difficulties, heartfelt pains and wonderful joys, like most people, probably like everyone. But what I have discovered with over 35 years of testing so far, is that you definitely can't out-give God - He'll beat you in that game every time!!!
JT, Christian Entrepreneur, Berkshire