In Your presence, God, everything else fades away. You are our God and King and to You be all the glory forever and ever. Amen!
This article is Part 4 and the final on the Principle of Giving. Part 1 discussed how in Christ, we can overcome anything, no matter how great the challenge. We talked about how God sometimes does not remove the “mountain” in our life and that we then must climb it all the way to the top, for that is where the view is spectacular. Part 2 discussed how our feet often keep slipping when we climb the “mountains” of life, often leaving us despondent. We were reminded that night is at its darkest just before sunrise and God wants us to trust Jesus and not give up. In Part 3 we discussed that to love is not easy and therefore we must not try to do this on our own. The love we give to others must be Jesus Christ, for He is ultimate and perfect love. It is with His love in us that we get it right to love, forgive and help others. If you missed Parts 1 – 3, click here to read these articles. In this final article of the series we will be talking about Abundant Prosperity in Jesus Christ.
Writing this article, I am taken back to around the year 2000, when our lives as a family drastically changed for the good. The Holy Spirit led us to a new congregation in the Assemblies of God and that is where my husband, within 2 weeks of attendance, gave his heart to Jesus. It is also the same church where we were baptized in water as a couple and where we were baptized with the Holy Spirit. Many things in our hearts and lives changed from there onwards, with Jesus Christ as our family’s foundation. Praise God!
For some time before we started visiting the new congregation, the Holy Spirit was pressing on my heart regarding our tithes and offerings. We never applied Malachi 3 on giving a tenth of our income, time or service to the Lord. However, we started giving more every month and became more involved with church activities. The pressing need to give more from a financial perspective increased and we ended up giving more than double what we normally gave. It was clear that God was calling us to be obedient to His Word. Moving to the new congregation, we realised that for the first time in our lives, no one came to the house to collect money, no debit order and no one preaching from the pulpit on how much we needed to give. They only from time to time announced that the books were available if anyone wanted to view the financial status of the church. I was confused at first, for looking at the church it was so blessed with good attendance of both young and old, good Bible studies, well attended cell groups and most importantly moving in the Holy Spirit. The church and grounds were well kept and people gave their lives to Jesus, was anointed, blessed, healed, set free and loved. We were moving and functioning as a unity in Christ. I wanted to know more on how this was possible.
I started speaking and praying with brothers and sisters in Christ, who was in the same church. I went deeper into God’s Word and I started highlighting the passages where God says that when we are His children, we will never lack anything. I remember, sitting on the carpet one evening and when we completed the budget we only had a few Rand (South African currency) spare, barely enough for a restaurant meal. That day, the presence of the Holy Spirit was overwhelming and we decided to read Malachi 3:6 – 12 again:
“I the Lord do not change. So, you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from My decrees and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty. “But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’ “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing You?’ “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse – your whole nation – because you are robbing Me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house. 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. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty. “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty.“
There we were in front of God, Him speaking directly to us and we decided right there and then that if God says we must test Him to keep His Word, then we will. I was so nervous, not sure why, because God Himself spoke to us. Looking at our budget that was already completed with hardly anything to spare, we realised that if we first deducted a tenth from our earnings and then do the rest of our budget with debit orders and account payments, then we will be in the minus. However, God said clearly to test Him and I started to redo the budget, with the tenth first deducted. Getting to the end of the budget there was more than double the amount left over than in the first budget. Doubting, I said to my husband that I must have made a mistake in either the first of second budget. I redid both and the results were the same. That night in our bedroom, we sat on the carpet together and cried before God. We literally saw how God increased our money in our budget, with the same amount of income. Can I explain it? Yes, I can! It is all God, being true to His Word! Then, I knew that the church was prospering because they were applying Malachi 3:6 – 12 in their lives. People saw for themselves how God is true to His Word and therefore they gave with their hearts and not because of pressure.
Dear reader, since that day, we never did not tithe. As we continued to give, we were blessed, never lacking anything. Yes, difficult times and days of wondering how we will get through a month, but never lacking anything. As we grew in our relationship with Christ and in the Word of God, we were continuously guided by the Holy Spirit. Not knowing how to work out a tenth, we used to work it out from the netto amount we were due to receive every month and then only deducting our taxes. Years later, I clearly heard God speaking to my heart again and we felt led by the Holy Spirit to give a tenth of our bruto income, in other words the amount we earn every month, prior to any deductions. We again realised that the amount would impact our budget but we also trusted God as He already showed to be true to His promises. For a few months, it was hard and included some personal sacrifices. However, without even realizing it, month after month our savings increased.
As the years progressed, God spoke to us in many ways, setting us free. He said that I no longer should be doing the budget by myself and then discuss it with my husband for approval. As the head of our house, he should be doing the budget with me. Hence, from that day on, we do the budget together and I consult financial decisions with him first. We attempt to always act by prayer and on how the Holy Spirit directs us. Some time later, added to this growth of freedom, we were clearly instructed by God to close all clothing accounts and to trust Him. One bonus month, we did exactly that, paying off all accounts and closed them. In the beginning, it seemed that we had less money, yet we should have had more as the installment money no longer had to be paid. We did not understand, but we trusted God and once again a few months later we were buying at any shop we wanted to buy, paying in cash. Adding to the above, was God telling us to shop groceries no longer using a calculator. We knew how much to budget for groceries but at first it was hard, for I used to work to an exact amount, adding prices up as we loaded the trolley. However, God spoke and although a little nervous, we were obedient. It has been years now and we simply shop groceries without a calculator. God provides for us every month, treats included.
Now, years later, we are at a point in our lives where we only listen to God’s direction on giving our tenth, offerings and blessings to those in need. This includes not just money but also our time and service. The more we give, the more we see His blessings in our lives, living in His Abundant Prosperity, free from this world and its economy. He alone is our God and our Provider. Do we experience financial challenges? Yes, off course we do. If we love, worship and trust God, satan will not stop in his schemes to attack and try to break us. If you are sold out for Christ, know this today; you are blessed abundantly and satan has no right to your inheritance. He knows that and therefore he tries his best to make life as miserable and difficult as possible for you. However, he is a defeated foe and you have the victory in Christ. The success lies in standing firm on God’s faithful Word and promises and to not allow satan to get the upper hand. Take every challenge to God in prayer, and in faith and thankfulness stand firm, and you WILL reap the harvest. Praise God!
Perhaps you have trusted God by tithing and not seeing the results. Don’t stop trusting Him and His Word. He is true to His promises! (Isaiah 55:11). Ask Him to reveal to you what is going on and if there is something He wants you to change, change it. Remember to not only give a tenth of your income, but also of your time and service. God already possess everything and He does not need our money. He wants us to be obedient in giving, so that His Kingdom can grow and others can be saved in Jesus. He wants us to trust Him with our hearts, finances, time etc. Therefore, as part of the principle of giving, I give you today these personal testimonies of my own life. By accepting Jesus Christ, we receive the fullness of His grace and unlimited blessings. In Jesus, there is Abundant Prosperity! Amen!
Love in Christ, Princess K