We were asked this Sunday at church to participate in a 90-day trust challenge. Specifically, we were asked to give 10% of our income, our tithe, for 90 days and trust that God will provide. And, if we think after the 90 days that God didn't provide, the church would give us our money back.
I have never tithed before, but I am going to accept this challenge. Now, to be honest, I don't know if I can afford to give 10% of my income away. I mean, on paper, doing the math, I gots bills to pay, including a new mortgage, and I don't see where the tithe is paid and the bills are paid. But, then again, that's where the trusting in God to provide comes in. On paper, I don't see it, but in my heart, I know that everything will be taken care of.
On Sunday, we were told this story and I want to share it because it really makes my point. A pastor was asked about tithing by one in his congregation. "I want to tithe," the man said, "but how can I be sure God will provide? I have bills to pay and don't think I can pay them." The pastor struck a deal with the man. He told the man to pay the tithe and if he didn't have enough money to pay his bills at the end of the month to come to him and the pastor would personally pay the bills he had left. The man agreed and the pastor had a question for him. "Why is it so easy for you to trust me, a human, to provide for you but so difficult to imagine God would do the same?"
No, I don't see it on paper, but I don't think I ever will. This challenge is about putting my faith in God. Read Malachi 3: 6-17. This passage talks about how God's people have turned from him, but how the loving Father still accepts our return. "Return to me and I will return to you," the Lord says. But, the passage I find most interesting is Malachi 3:10:
"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 you will not have room enough for it."Throughout the entire Bible, this is the only time God says to test him. That's significant. He's saying he wants us to test him. God... wants us... to test him... Jesus rebuked Satan in Matthew 4:7 (Jesus said to him, " It is also written, 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.") for testing God. So, that God is saying to test Him in this shows how He will indeed pour out blessings on those who tithe properly.
I don't know how exactly to measure the success of this challenge. Perhaps, Proverbs 30:8-9 is a good yard stick. If all my bills are paid and food is on the table, then I'll consider my blessings counted and thank God.