Giving my money to the local church that I’m a part of was one of the hardest things that I’ve done in my faith journey. That may come as a surprise to you, since I’m a pastor on staff at a local church. So let me explain …
For the past year, I’ve given a portion of my income to my local church. But, I gave because I had to, because I’m expected to. And if we’re being honest, that’s probably the reason you give too. And if you are like me, I didn’t like giving away my money. But here’s what I found out when I started giving a percentage of my income away: God takes care of every need I have, WITHOUT EXCEPTION.
Here’s a bit of background of my family … My wife Kara is now a full time stay at home mom, which also means that we are now a one income family. We spent long nights praying about the decision for Kara to either stay at home as a full time mom when our daughter was born, or go back into the work-force. This was a really difficult decision because we, like most families, have lots of bills coming in every month that have to be paid (Electricity, Water, Phones, Medical Bills, Prescription Meds, School Loans and many others).
After months of praying together, we decided that it would be best and that God wanted Kara to stay home as a mom. This also allows her to volunteer more with Grace and have time for more ministry here in Clarksville. But, that also meant that the monthly income for the Reed family was chopped in half (insert gulp here).
Shortly after our daughter was born, and while Kara had been out of work for almost six months, I really felt God leading us to take the percentage that we were giving when we were a two income family, and bump it to a higher percentage as a one income family. Since we have become a one income family, the end of the month and beginning of the month have been stressful for our family financially. It seems like when we get to the end of the month, only pennies remain in our bank account.
I’ve always thought that giving more would increase my faith in a God who will provide for my every need, and my family’s every need. I believe that is true without question… and I’ve experienced that. But, during this chapter of my life, with our giving going up when our income went down has taught me even more than that.
I feel like God is giving and blessing me with wisdom on spending every penny well for our family, and teaching me how to make wise and Godly purchasing decisions for our family. There are things that we as a family enjoyed doing (weekly movie nights at the theater, nice meals at nice restaurants, concerts, home decor, etc. …) that we didn’t really need.
Over the past six months, I’ve seen that because we’ve trusted God with our giving, and since we’ve gone up in our giving, God is stretching me, grinding away the rough spots and molding me into a better man, a better leader and a better follower of Jesus. I’m not writing this to brag about my giving. In fact, dollar wise, we don’t give a ton. But, the percentage of my income per month is a TON of money to us … especially now.
God is working in my heart and in my life to make me more sensitive to people and more generous in my giving around this community. Just because you don’t make a lot of money in the job that you are in doesn’t mean God can’t use the percentage you give to reach people for His Kingdom. God was so generous to us when He gave us His son Jesus to pay the bill that we owe for our sins.
How will you trust God with your finances?
How will you be generous?