Struggle Financially Or Prosper—Your Choice!

How often do you receive advertisements or see TV ads telling you how to become prosperous if you invest in a certain product or take their advice?  You may watch some television ministers tell you how God will prosper you if you send them money. We are told the more money we send them the more God must repay us.  Usually the one that becomes prosperous is the minister and his ministry.

God did promise in Malachi 3:6 – 10 – “’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 hadn’t been a Christian too long when I learned that God expected Christians to present tithes and offerings in order that the gospel could be preached to others.  If one didn’t, they were robbing God.  It was a matter of obedience that I started giving 10% of my income.  I never thought if I give my 10% God must make me prosperous.  I trusted that He would meet my needs and I tithed out of love and because I wanted to please God.

I went to a Christian college on the G.I. Bill, due to four years in the navy.  That paid my tuition and additional expenses.  In addition, I obtained a part-time job.  The first thing I learned, as a person who tithed, was to be satisfied with less.  I didn’t need everything the world offered and I didn’t need to keep up with my neighbors.

After my sophomore year and my wife to-be had graduated, we were married.  We lived in a two room apartment; otherwise we could not be able to tithe.   We had a kitchen, a living room and a bathroom.  Our bed pulled out of the wall in the living room.

Beginning my senior year I was asked to be a coach at a Christian high school that allowed me to have free tuition.  My wife became the high school secretary and was asked to be head resident of a girls dormitory.  We had room, food and all expenses free.  Our only costs were for our car and what few personal requirements we needed.  It was this year that I was first audited by the IRS making us prove that we had actually given to God as much as we had.

When it came to jobs it seemed I was always at the right place at the right time to have numerous opportunities.  As we raised four children we didn’t always have an excess amount of money but it seemed that our cars, appliances, etc. just never seemed to wear out in relation to our neighbors.  Since becoming a Christian over fifty years ago we have never struggled financially.  God met every one of our needs.  When our children were in college, my bonuses were always enough to meet tuition and their room and board.  However, we lived realizing that the paying of our tithe and offerings came before any other expense was paid.

There was a time when I left a good paying job to go into business for myself.  There was no guaranteed income.  The first two years we used up all of our savings.  I had a small IRA and some equity in our home and that was all that was left.  The beginning of the third year everything turned around financially.   The most important thing I want to share: there was never a time I doubted.

I council with a number of Christians who are struggling financially.  I wonder if they are conscientious tithers but I never ask.   I was transferred to a store in another state as their operations manager.  We weren’t there long until I was voted onto the church board.  I was also elected treasurer.  The year I was treasurer I was amazed at some of the people you would think were the strongest and most spiritual Christians didn’t tithe or if they did, they didn’t even make minimum wages. Yet, the way they lived you would have thought they were doing well financially.  I didn’t accept the job of treasurer again.  I never wanted to know what people gave.

The thing the Bible and experience has taught me was to never be disobedient to God.  If you do as Scripture says, God will meet your needs and you can trust Him.  If you do not want to struggle financially, find a way to tithe first before anything else and see if things don’t get better.  At lease you won’t be rebelling against God and telling Him you do not trust Him to meet your needs.

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