Most of the time, while I understand there is a natural order to how much of life works, it’s often something beyond my comprehension because… Well… it just happens! Whether I actively engage or not – life continues and the natural order of how it all fits together, continues to fit together without my having a degree in it. Which is such a relief, I’ll be honest!
Take the Kingdom principle of tithing, for example. While it seems misguided by the world’s understanding of how money works, to “give away ten whole percent” of what you receive, by Kingdom standards it is a given principle to best manage your money.
I’ve heard soooooo many sermons on this, it became confusing: tithe on the gross, tithe on the net, tithe on gifts you receive, don’t tithe on gifts you receive, tithe even when you’re in debt, don’t tithe when you’re in debt…. Yada yada yada! Honestly, what should be so simple has become legalistically complicated.
The way I have managed to tithe (and if I’m being straight up honest, over the years I’ve not always been a good Christian girl with my money) is this: What is the Holy Spirit prompting you to do in your heart? Don’t ponder it too long, or try to say you don’t know because you can’t hear Him. God speaks when we listen, and the convictions of our heart are a clear indication when He is leading you. If you’re in debt, this might well look different to someone who is rolling in it. Don’t feel bad – be obedient.
There were times when I was earning next to nothing, and somehow, even when I tithed back to God, I made it to the end of the month. But then, this last year the Holy Spirit asked me to give a certain amount over the course of the year rather than a “set” tithe amount, and as a result of my obedience He has made provision when I hadn’t even known provision would be needed. AND He has cleared some of the debt which had been there in the background waiting to rear its ugly head when I hadn’t known it was there. Not to mention the chance to live completely out of the overdraft zone.
Would He have done this even if I’d held back on the scary amount I knew He was prompting from me? I don’t know. But I’d rather know for definite my obedience led to action on His part. This is the natural order of God’s principle – it seems uncomfortable and scary, and not achievable, but God has a plan IN our obedience.
It comes down to understanding the heart of God and His principle. It’s not about “making a payment” as much as it’s about “giving back to God”. But I think it’s also about our heart – are we hanging onto every penny because we don’t fully trust God, and so elevate the “love of money” above our love of God? Are we stingily refusing to let go of what we think we have earned – mine, mine, my precious?
There is a natural order for the money we earn which the author of, “Love is not Enough” writes as being:
- Get out of Debt.
- Save: short term and long term strategies.
- Invest to make your money work for you.
I’d like to propose an amendment:
- Tithe – however that looks between you and God.
- Get out of debt.
Although – knowing God, He might just switch the order for Himself according to the future plan He has for you. It’s about using our finances to honour God, and allowing Him to be glorified in how we spend. Be wise and let the Holy Spirit led you to better management of your finances this year.
We’re only at the start of our journey through 2017, and don’t want to run out before we reach the end. Let’s walk strong together and live like the sons and daughters of the King who declares,
“For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills.” Psalms 50:10
When you know to Whom you belong, it’s hard to slouch through debt and money problems without His assistance. He can help you – but you have to be ready to help yourself. If you’re burying your head in the sand from the money problems you have, how can you be fixing your eyes on the one who can help and save you? Lift up your eyes to the hills – your help comes from God, the maker of heaven and earth who will give you the tools and guidance you need to follow Him out of financial problems. Sometimes this might well include letting go of our pride and seeking help from someone else.
The world says the answer is to get more debt to pay off the debt – God says, “There is another way, but you need to look up and fix your eyes on Me”. The world says, “Buy now, pay later.” But God says, “This is not a Kingdom principle. This is adding worry to your life. Do not worry about what you shall eat or what you shall wear…”
I pray that 2017 will see you not only walking out of your financial problems, but shaking the dust off that particular town as you move into the “free indeed” aspect of what God has for you. It’s going to be a hard walk – but don’t slouch, walk tall and you will reach your destination. Wherever that may be for you, however long it may take you. And don’t worry if this is more than a one year goal.