For the last several months I have been attending a new church. I know God led me to this church, and I just feel so blessed to be there. I didn’t start attending this church in a time that the members would consider a ‘mountain top’ season. The church body has experienced many challenges in the last several months and to some it has been a season in the valley. To me, it has been uplifting, and I praise God for what He has provided me through the church. I have enjoyed meeting the body of Christ that attends this church. (Sometimes you learn more about people through adversity and a stormy time than you do in a peaceful, sunny one.)
Still, I had not yet been able to tithe at the church. I prayed about it constantly. In my strong attention to detail I knew monthly, even weekly how much money I was supposed to be dropping in the offering plate as it passed by me. I just couldn’t. I prayed about my struggle. I knew it was dangerous to give to the Lord half-heartedly. This was especially difficult for me because God has provided me with a heart of giving. Giving to the Lord and to others has always been a huge strong-hold in my daily life. To go every Sunday and not give was hard. I couldn’t understand why I felt like I was being held back.
Let me be clear that it wasn’t God I was having a hard time giving to. It was finding the way He wanted me to give. There are so many ways I thought I could give monetarily. I could save and go on a mission trip. I could give to the Christian group on my alma mater’s campus that helped me stay close to the Lord in my college years. I could sponsor a child through one of those international programs. I could give anonymously to fellow church members who were having a tough time. Still, none of that felt like it was directed from God. I pray-fully waited for Him to give me a sign.
When my car broke down in August (read more about that in my last post) and I found out I was going to have to find a way to purchase a car, I was not sure how it would ever be possible financially for me. As I began going over my finances, seeking out a small car loan, and looking at what liquid cash I had to put down on a vehicle that was when it hit me. God had provided for me. (My eyes water just thinking about it now.) There was enough money through the last few months of indecisiveness to put down on a car and keep my monthly car payment manageable.
I really prayed hard about this issue and did some serious soul searching. I even asked a close friend if this was a God-thing or total coincidence. In the end, I know God provided for me. He knew what was ahead, and He made it possible for me to make it through before I had any idea of what was happening. The best part of this is (for those of you who care about detail like me) I am able to give the same as I did before I had the responsibility of a monthly car payment.
I am sure some people would debate whether or not withholding your offering for a few months is biblical. Still, I soaked the issue in prayer. Looking back I know God did without my small contribution for a few months in order to provide for both me and Him in the future.
“8And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work" 2 Corinthians 9:8
This verse illustrates that God is sufficient in providing all things we need to continue good works in Him. The ability to still give an offering, make a monthly car payment, and have a car (which allows me to drive to work to make money, to drive to church where I can praise God, study His word, and fellowship with His family) is all possible because God is the ultimate Provider.
What has he provided you with?