There are days when life just seems unfair. Being a Christian is hard and the payoff doesn’t seem to come fast enough. “You’re building your treasure in heaven!” they say or my favourite, “Give ten percent of everything to God and you’ll be blessed financially”. It isn’t that I don’t believe these things, I do. But my wallet? My wallet sometimes loses faith. I sit in church on Sundays and look because “Do I have money today?”… five dollars… six dollars… six dollars and twenty cents. I’ll give it all. Remember the story of the women who gave two cents and gave more than the rich man? I’ll be her.
"Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.
Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, 'Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.'"
Every year I get excited, waiting anxiously for my church tax receipt thinking, “Surely, this year I must have given so much money!” because I feel like I did. I sit in church and listen to them preach about giving no matter what and so I give. Sometimes, I have to admit, by credit card. Once, in a show of faith at a church revival conference, I gave my whole $1000 I had in savings. It wasn’t much in the big picture but it was a lot to me! I thought for sure I would see some kind of payback for my act of faith.
Shortly after, things went from bad to worse.
At the time, my life was in such shambles I didn't think it could even get worse.
I’m not sure what God thought about my $1000. I suspect He was proud. He keeps no record of wrongs they say so I doubt He’s keeping a tally of what I owed Him from years past.
“Well… you would have had money to tithe had you not bought that dress and those new jeans last week!”
"Love [God] is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs."
That would be shaming and the Lord doesn’t shame us. He is a patient, Lord. Certainly much more patient than we are!
The good gifts from God rarely come quickly so if you’re like me and you’re still waiting on the promises of God to come to fruition, do not fret. As a tree takes a time to grow, so does a seed sewn in the Kingdom.
Imagine for a moment your tithes are like a vineyard. Each vine carefully planted and nurtured for years. One mature bush is not enough for a full harvest. You’d have to wait for many to mature before you would have enough to truly reap the benefits of the vineyard. I believe it’s the same with our finances. We may be spiritually mature in some areas but that doesn't mean it's time for the harvest. Which is what I keep telling my wallet when it’s feeling empty!
It takes time for the good things of God to grow.
In hard seasons, it can be especially tough to give our finances away because finances provide a sense of security. The spiritual seeds planted during a hard season can make or break that year's harvest.
Let me explain in a short story:
My farmer friend grows cherry trees. One year, which happens sometimes in Canada, we had a resurgence of winter. Spring had come and the air was warm. The plants began to grow and the cherry trees bloomed with their bright pink blossoms. Then, the frost came in. The temperatures dropped below freezing and the ground froze once again, killing the cherry trees.
That year, almost every farmer's harvest was ruined. Except, my farmer friend.
He had planted his seeds wisely and his trees were protected with natural shelter from the frost by a warm breeze coming off a nearby lake. He still lost over half his crop that year but because so many people had lost their harvest, the small crop he had protected made him significantly more financially because demand drove the price of cherries up that year to more than double the regular cost.
In other words, in a hard season, the seeds you plant spiritually will give you the best return. If you're unwise with your vineyard, you could lose it all.
People don't like to talk about tithing, it seems like an old-school religious practice but I have to admit that I tithe to all kinds of things, not just church (sorry, pastors!). I know the church needs finances in order to operate and the money is God's and belongs in God's house but I believe in giving to God’s Kingdom, wherever that work may be.
So, I also tithe to child sponsorships and ministries I feel are making an impact on the issues I care about like clean water and human trafficking. We use a Christian medical program, Christian therapists, you name it. All of these things create a bigger picture of tithing to me because I’m still giving to the Kingdom. I may not feel great about giving to my church when my Pastor’s children are dressed better than I am (old church, honestly, new shoes every week I swear!) but I certainly can give to my sweet little boy in the Dominican Republic (who probably doesn’t even own shoes).
God sees it all.
I'm not wealthy but I have nothing to complain about and feel God has given me enough to bless others. I may not live in the biggest house or drive the nicest car but it’s big and nice to someone who has much less and I don’t take that “privilege” for granted. I could spend my time spending ten percent more on “things” but I doubt it’s going to make me feel any better. Our character is enriched in the struggle.
So the next time you’re looking through your wallet, wondering if you have enough money to give at church this week, give God all you have. Give Him your best. Not just there but all week long. Give Him your finances and if you haven’t any money, none at all (been there!) give Him your time.
Time is precious and nurturing your spiritual vineyard is time very well spent. Talking to God will give you the direction you need to walk into your blessings. In fact, maybe that’s why your wallet has been so empty all along... does it add up to the same amount of time you’ve spent with Jesus?
WOAH!!!!!!! That was straightforward.
But you know, some weeks, it does for me. Six dollars and twenty cents worth may have been all I gave of myself to my King.
He’s waiting for you. Go, girl! Invest in your vineyard and be patient waiting for the harvest. In good faith, take your wallet with you because you never know when God is going to fill it!
I also accept and appreciate donations to this ministry. Your donation helps me to reach women in need to support and encourage them through this hard season in their lives. Sometimes, just knowing we're not alone is all we need to carry on.