Most of you know my Sunday morning routine of waking up to a pastor on the radio and Bible study. After the sermon and study, I felt a "tug" (Not enough of one to tell if it was Him or me) to listen to a program on another station. So I turned it on, and Charles Stanley was talking about tithing.
Yeah, my reaction was the same as yours. Being "unchurched" right now, I had been putting a Tithe and a smidge into the much-neglected savings account, and spending it on things such as Bibles to Asia, tornado relief, etc. But as you might have gathered from other posts, right now we are going through the "seven lean weeks" between our busy season and the start of retail production. (Mind you, busy season wasn't exactly busy; we were down over 20% this year, and OT went from 6 hrs a week before Friday to about 6 hours for the whole season.) Thus it was that the last few weeks I had gotten to a point of worrying the bills first.
So when Dr. Stanley "started in," I decided it was time to go to the bathroom and get ready for the upcoming walk with Scrappy (who was still under the covers).
And I got back into the bedroom, the first words out of Dr. Stanley's mouth were, "...giving that 10%."
Now I have explained before that God deals with each of us in the way we best respond. For me, that's humor and timing. With a sigh, I relented that I had to get "back on the horse," and I had to do it right now. As I had to check on the ol' bank account anyway (such as it is), I got on the online account page, knowing that it was approximately $750. (And that thanks to some help from willing relatives!) At that point, God said (in those Spirit-groanings - Romans 8:26- and nudges that tell me exactly who I'm on the line with)- paraphrasing- "Since you are behind, let's make it simple. 10% of what's there right now will be sufficient."
Now, the reason that I had to "check the ol' bank account anyway" was that Laurie asked if I was going to have enough over rent to help with groceries next week- our checks were going to consist of an 8-hour Monday, a six hour Tuesday, a non-existent Wednesday, and a four-hour Thursday. Thus, some worried calculations were going into this, at the end of which I said, again paraphrasing, "Okay, you're the boss, I'm gonna trust you on this."
But the story isn't done yet; because just as I was about to put the funds from checking to savings, I got another nudge. "Don't you have something you need to spend $75 on?"
Yes, yes I did. You see, on of the things we've done to serve God for years is sponsoring a child in Guatemala. His name is Oscar, and we've sponsored him through Children International since he was an 8-year old about the size of my kids when they were four. He's seventeen now, a good looking young man who's just started working recently to help support what passes for his family. Earlier in the week, the notice for our contribution (we're on the 4 times a year plan) came in the mail, and I was really in a quandary of how to go about taking care of this.
And yes, the amount is $75 a quarter.
So, the contribution along with a letter to Oscar was sent along its way this morning, in obedience to God and trusting that He's got enough in the bank account to take care of us too. And what do we learn here, as Professor Nathaniel Burke of the University of Farmers says?
2. God sometimes sends the lean times to see if you'll be as faithful during them as you are in the fat. Doing extra credit on this one to bring my D up.
3. God is reasonable, and has a plan for everything. I'll give myself a C+ on paying attention to that.
4. God will take care of it. C- for trying to do it myself.
Of course, now when Laurie gets up, I get to have her read this to answer the question about the bank account last night. We'll see what kind of grade I get there.