Happy Sunday, y’all. Church was canceled for the second week in a row today. No, not due to Covid, but due to snow. We were hammered this week and Tennessee is not exactly prepared to handle winter weather like this. Let’s just say I’ve seen one snow plow total and my dead-end, country road is still a giant icicle.
But it sure is beautiful.
So in lieu of a pastoral message, I wanted to share a quick testimony with you about giving. I’ve learned a lot about tithing over the years, no more so than in 2020, and it’s worth noting that this issues of tithing is the only place God asks us to test Him.
“Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” (Malachi 3:10)
So, if you haven’t taken up the practice of giving of your finances to God, and leaning on Him first for provision, I would strongly encourage you to start. And hopefully this helps…
At the end of 2019, Tom and I were at the end of our financial rope. We are small business owners and moved from Nevada to Tennessee in 2017 to an 84-acre farm as you well know. God has blessed our business tremendously, which allowed for us to both retire from our former careers to be present with our kids and it also allowed for us to move to Tennessee and establish our farm, which was a long-held goal of ours.
In 2017, upon moving, Tom heard from the Lord that in three years time He was going to bring us to our last dollar. Tom didn’t immediately share this revelation with me, because honestly, it didn’t make sense (and who tells their wife that?). Our business had been thriving for a decade, and we didn’t anticipate that moving to a state which would be more financially advantageous to us would result in a decline.
However, as 2019 came to a close, we found ourselves overextended through the process of establishing our farm dream. Animals, equipment, two terrible tax years, and a down year in our business left us quite literally with nothing in the bank. God is good, and throughout all this he provided in our generous monthly income from our business, but our “storehouse”–if you will–had run very dry.
Without knowing what was coming our way (you know, a global pandemic), we decided to increase our tithe as we began 2020. We started attending The Belonging Co in 2019 and through an increased relationship with the Holy Spirit and a very real healing in Tom, we leaned into God and increased our giving by almost double. It made no sense in the natural, but Pastor Alex and Pastor Henry have taught us that it’s not about what God has done, but rather Who He Is. And that is what strengthened our faith in the midst of the pit. We don’t give to get. We give to grow in faith.
In 2020, despite the roller-coaster that a lot of families weathered, our online business thrived. Not only did we continue tithing but we were even blessed with extra and were able to give to families who were in need during the rough year. It was an amazing blessing to see come full circle because I received a financial blessing in the Fall of 2019 from a friend who had no idea how much we needed it at the time.
In addition to our online business, Tom got his real estate license and was able to serve families looking to move across country—most of whom felt specifically called by God to Tennessee—because we’d weathered that storm ourselves and knew how to prepare these families for the transition. Although it felt a lot like a new form of ministry, of course God used it as a way to provide for our family.
We also were able to unexpectedly refinance our farm, which allowed us to get out of debt and change our monthly financial picture in March of 2020.
Standing at the beginning of 2021, we were able to look back on God’s miracle in our finances and praise Him for His faithfulness. Not only did our family not lose financial ground in 2020 as so many families did, our finances were turned completely around; and we were amazed to discover that the amount we were able to give was almost exactly the amount of additional income that came into our household in 2020 over 2019. It was more than I once made in my full-time job. God is so faithful.
It can be scary to give more in a season when it feels like we need to hold on. But those are the opportunities God gives us to increase our faith tenfold. We’re so grateful to a God who is a good father and I hope this testimony will encourage you to lean in and not away when times get tough.
We’re expectant for 2021. Again, not because we are eager to see what God gives us–that’s not the heart behind tithing or this testimony. We’re expectant to see more of God’s goodness, and the various ways He’ll include us in His plan.
I hope you will lean in, too.
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