Financial Testimony

Unlocking The Sevenfold Blessing Of The Tithe

Some people have a problem giving their testimony because there are always those people out there who have a problem listening and accepting another person’s testimony.  I know there will be some readers who may feel I am sharing with you how God has blessed my life because I’m some kind of super spiritual person whom God looks to bless every chance He has.  Well, I believe from what I’ve been taught that obedience brings blessings, and in the area of finances, over the last several years, I have tried to be obedient.  That’s not to say that I haven’t made mistakes during that time, so I will certainly share those mistakes with you.  Also, I know that though I may be blessed in the area of God taking care of my family’s finances, I’m not as blessed as I could be in other areas of my life because I may not be as willing to step out in faith and be obedient to God, thereby forfeiting the blessings that could be mine.  We all have our areas of strong faith and weaker faith, so if finances are your areas of weaker faith, than I hope this testimony will help you step outside your comfort zone and see what God can do for you and your family.  Incidentally, I know it’s not easy to take someone else’s theoretical testimony and turn it to practical application in your life, because I marvel at those who have strong faith where mine is weaker, and I still fall short of having the faith I need to say “yes” to God with reckless abandon, but I strive for it.  That’s what I hope this testimony will do…encourage you to test God’s promises…obey Him…and leave the consequences to God.

It’s a long story to tell you why I was unemployed in the Spring of 2003, but I was.  Our first daughter was just several months old, and my wife had a full-time job.  Her job provided us health benefits that we believe are important for a family’s health and well-being.  But I wasn’t working.  I was a stay-at-home dad.  We were a single income family with my wife away from her newborn for nine hours everyday.  That’s not easy on a new mom.  She enjoyed her work and enjoyed what she did, but she wasn’t able to be the mother she wanted to be.  That got me praying for a job…so we could swap roles, and she could become a stay-at-home mom.

Jobs in my field of work were (and still are today) plenteous.  Signs were up at many hospitals and healthcare facilities encouraging people to apply to fill their many vacancies.  I began applying and going for interviews, and a very amazing thing happened…I couldn’t get hired.  In my mind, there was no reason on earth why I wouldn’t get hired for these openings.  I had several years experience in the field, and was ready to begin immediately.  But no one hired me…why?  Even now, looking back, I can’t understand it, except maybe God was just testing me, or they weren’t the right jobs at the right time.  Either way, the prospect of swapping roles with my wife seemed to fade with each passing month…meanwhile…I’m not earning money.

 At this time, if I wanted to play golf or spend any money on anything, I had to ask my wife for money to do it.  It was never a problem.  She was always willing to give me money for hobbies and such, but I sometimes felt I wanted to contribute to the family’s finances if I was going to keep using these resources for personal enjoyment.  I began taking my daughter to my in-laws once a week to cut their grass.  I would get $20.00.  At last, I had money coming in that I could at least say was my own and I could then use that money for those hobbies I enjoyed.  I knew, however, that the key to getting in better financial shape was to tithe on this small amount of money from mowing the lawn.  I couldn’t bring myself to give a tithe of 2.00 dollars, so I’d give a 5-dollar bill.  This went on for several weeks over the summer, faithfully, and on occasion I would get asked to trim their hedges for which I earned 100.00 dollars.  This went on for about two summers.  I tithed faithfully on whatever I earned doing odd jobs for people, and it was about to pay off…

 I was able to secure a job at an inpatient drug and alcohol rehab facility sometime in 2004.  It was steady, because of the number of open positions they had.  I was able to fill my schedule with as many hours as I was willing to work.  Overtime pay was readily available, and I began not only earning enough money to support my hobbies, but now we were banking some and using some of my money to fix up the house and do other improvement projects.  After those two summers of cutting grass (and shoveling snow in the winter) I was able to begin tithing on paychecks that started really helping out in every aspect of my family’s finances.  But…mistake number one…graduate school…

Another long story is how I got involved in earning a Masters Degree in Marriage and Family Studies from Liberty University.  But the courses were fairly expensive at almost 1000.00 dollars per course.  Even though we were making decent money between us, it was hard to have the resources to pay for my education in cash.  So, we felt confident that our finances could handle loans that we would pay back after graduating.  We took loans out that covered maybe the first two semesters, or about four or five courses.  Then it just hit me one day that I would rack up a bill of between ten to fifteen thousand dollars when all was said and done.  I believed it was God’s Will for me to be at Liberty, and I remember asking God to work it out that I could pay in cash for the rest of my graduate degree.  That meant possibly changing jobs.  Through it all though, I kept right on tithing, giving to missions, and occasional special needs of my church at this time.  Then, a contact…

My wife was in the emergency room at a local hospital and being treated for something minor.  By this time, we now have two children, my wife is working very part-time in this emergency room where she is now a patient, and she is mainly a stay-at-home mom (several years later).  As I stood beside my wife’s stretcher, her nurse told me I should look into working here in this hospital.  The hospital’s per-diem rate was twice what I was earning at the drug rehab facility.  I began thinking this is what God’s going to do to allow me to pay for college in cash.  The very next day I sent in my resume’.  Guess what…no phone call or nothing for weeks!  I remember ranting and raving to my wife as more time passed that I couldn’t understand why they didn’t hire me.  I said, “There’s no reason for them not to hire me.  There are so many openings and positions available that they should send limos to every person who even shows interest, and interview them, and hire them on the spot!!!”  Oh yeah, I was hot and aggravated.  Then, my wife, who has far more grace than me at times, said to me, “Maybe it’s just not the right job for you.”  That simple statement got me to respond, “Yeah…whatever.”  Then I drove to work at the rehab facility, but on my way, I decided to pray to God and tell Him I was going to forget about it and leave it in His hands.  Two weeks later, I got that call…and got hired!

Now, God basically doubled my earnings overnight.  I had what I was earning at the rehab facility, and then some.  Now I was able to pay for college in cash.  I had several more classes to take at this time.  My girls were in pre-school and my oldest was about to begin at a private Christian school.  As our financial commitments increased with the girls’ schooling, many opportunities for overtime and bonuses and double-time incentives began popping up on a regular basis.  I was in a position to pay for college in cash, maintain the family’s bills, and begin paying for a private Christian education for my oldest daughter.  Mistake number two…we let a salesman in our house.

Our house is small, and we had a growing family.  We agreed to stop at two kids, but they shared a room.  We knew adding a second floor was way out of our comfort zone financially.  At a home show we put in a card to win a basement makeover.  This company would take our unfinished basement and create a family room with useable living space.  We didn’t win the prize, but they did get our contact information from our entry form.  We decided to hear what the salesman had to say, and at least entertain a bid.  After a well rehearsed presentation and canned responses to our every question about the product’s benefits, we fell victims (and I use that word on purpose) to a clever sales pitch.  My wife and I talked about the money we had coming in and how a monthly payment of “such and such” would be nothing at all to pay off.  Mistake number two was solidified when we agreed to finance $25,000 dollars to do the basement.  Only one problem…

That problem was that I didn’t know I would have my hours at work drastically cut as the hospital itself began scaling back financially.  I was able to complete my graduate studies right before my hours got reduced (and obviously my income), so God proved Himself faithful in allowing me to pay for my schooling in cash.  I wanted to pay for my education in cash, I asked God to work it out, and God worked that out.  Now I was done my studies, and my income went back to where it was prior to starting my graduate studies.  Only now, we just took on a loan…kids are in school…my hours are reduced and my wife still works only part-time.  I began looking for a new job at another hospital.  Since this is my testimony, I want to stress that I continued to tithe and maintain my faith promise missions giving.  At times the temptation would come to skip a week of tithing if things got tight, but I knew that was a sure way to ensure an even worse financial state.  In the meantime, for the first time as a family, my wife and I would discuss doing or buying something and these awful words were spoken, “We just can’t afford that right now.”  That phrase still makes me shudder…

Why do those words make me shudder?  It’s simple.  If we can’t afford a night out to the theater to see a play or take a weekend getaway, we are in no position to handle any financial crisis that comes up…such as a refrigerator breaking down, a furnace needing to be replaced, or a truck that keeps needing repairs…oh yeah, by the way, that happened!  We began putting money into our truck for the same repairs until eventually it was going to cost thousands to replace.  Because of that, we bought a new car and financed about $17,000 dollars.  Mistake number three was not being financially wise about the possibility of shortfalls in the future and we took for granted that the money I was making would continue indefinitely.  Now we HAD to take out a loan for the car.  Now I needed that new job that would bring me back to earning enough money to pay the bills, all the while, tithing and trusting God.  Then I went back to my roots…

My first job out of college when I was 29 years old was at the major hospital in the state.  I had left there 10 years earlier and decided to seek a job there again.  In no time I got hired.  In theory I took about a $6.00 per hour pay cut from the other hospital, but in reality it was like a raise because my hours were back to being as many as I was willing to work.  Finally I was back to making enough money to pay the bills.  By now, both my girls are in a private Christian school and we have become members at a church closer to home.  We were making enough money to pay the bills and still have some extra money to do “fun” things like buy zoo memberships and go out to eat occasionally.  Then our new church had a faith promise missions program in 2010.  My family pledged a certain amount, which was more than I had promised at my former church.  We no sooner pledged to support missions above and beyond our tithes, then came the testing of our faith…

My pastor asked me if I would help out at the church one day every week.  I didn’t ask for the offer, so I sensed that God laid it on his heart to ask me, so to say “no” to my pastor would have been the equivalent to saying “no” to God.  I said I would work one day every week.  That meant giving up a day at the hospital, and giving up what I would have earned for that day’s work.  In other words, with no changes in our bottom line (our bills), I stepped out in faith to give of my time at the church.  My pastor suggested a nominal amount of money for my one day every week, but it is nowhere near what I was giving up from the hospital.  However, I quickly learned how God would multiply that nominal amount…

We now tithed on our earnings from the hospital (my job and my wife’s job) and I immediately began tithing on what my pastor gave me each week, as well as continuing my commitment to the faith promise offerings.  I took what I got from the church and considered it “extra” and literally would take that money and put it in an envelope in my closet.  I just kept hoarding it up, and soon realized that this was actually an easy way God gave me to save money.  Now we had a little cushion from which to draw off of in emergencies.  We never really had that before, even at the height of my yearly earnings.  So I give up time at the hospital…now most weeks I make less than I used to…yet, we have money saved up.  Does that make any logical worldly sense?  No.  It only makes sense if you realize that it’s a result of faithfulness to God in putting Him and His Work first, and taking a step of obedience and trusting Him.  As our attitudes toward our finances have changed, we have seen numerous blessings over 2011…

What blessings?  Between working at the hospital and working at the church, I have very little time to play golf (my main hobby), but even though the quantity of opportunities has been reduced, the quality of each time I play has been superb.  I have had more fun that year than any other year.  God led me to a coupon booklet that cost $40.00 that included free rounds of golf at local golf courses.  That alone has saved me over $600.00 compared to previous years.  Also, since my ability to play has been reduced, God has also reduced my desire to play.

This past summer we declined an offer to use a private house in Maine for our vacation.  It was going to cost us only $200.00, but my wife and I didn’t have peace about it, so we declined and opted instead to take day trips.  I played golf for free on that Monday.  Tuesday we went to the Boston Museum of Science and saved over $80.00 because we had a zoo membership and they practiced reciprocity.  Wednesday we went to New Hampshire and used a $10.00 coupon for admission to this place and just as we were about to leave, a manager struck up a conversation with us and gave us a $20.00 gift card to use that day…for free!  Thursday I worked at the church, as some of the staff was away on vacation.  Friday we went out to eat and then went to a local beach to find “treasures.”  All total, we probably were blessed with savings and gifts that week close to, or over the $200.00 we declined to pay to use the house.  The biggest blessing associated with not going to Maine was that I needed a procedure rather quickly, and I was able to schedule a specialist that week of the vacation (since we’d be in town) and I was able to get the procedure the next day because of a last-minute cancellation.  It rarely works that way with specialists and procedure schedules.  And that was all one week!

God also protected us from having a huge car repair bill.  I got home from work one night after midnight.  I went to use the car the next morning and it wouldn’t start.  The battery was dead.  When AAA® came out to test the battery, I started my car for them, and on the second attempt to test the battery, a hose let go in the engine that carries engine coolant.  Had my battery not died overnight, I would have driven around with a hole in my engine and no coolant getting to the engine, thus causing my engine to seize and maybe be destroyed.  Instead, the problem was discovered, the car was towed to the garage for three dollars (literally) and it was fixed and paid for from the money in the envelope in my closet.  By the way, that AAA® membership is a yearly GIFT to us from my in-laws.

That’s just a small sampling of a brief moment in time, but I have no fears about the finances in my family’s future.  I fully expect testing and having to endure challenges, and with that will come various temptations to abandon my faith and do things my way, but as I look back, it’s easier to trust God in the future when He has proven Himself to be faithful in the past.  My family’s job is to continue to be faithful in tithing and faith promise giving and in other areas as God leads, thus ensuring that God will keep His promises.  But we must also do our part and try to become much wiser stewards of the moneys God has entrusted to us.  My family and I will strive to apply these principles to ensure that we will be good stewards of what God has entrusted to us.  I hope this was helpful, edifying, and encouraging to you…

UPDATE:  That was written back in 2011 and since then, I have a newer job that I have been at for the last 2.5 years.  I do not have direct patient care any longer and do not have to deal with much of the difficulties of caring for patients in the hospitals any more now.  As a family, our quality of life is much better.  My salary at this agency is the highest I have had in my entire career.  Now we are making great headway at paying down the debts from some of our admitted mistakes ($25,000 basement makeover for example and unfortunate misuse of credit cards).  Here are a few suggestions for anyone who wants to experience help in their finances:

1.  Only tithe to start off with.  Ten percent of your gross salary should be your tithe and don’t worry about missions or special offerings, as those are above and beyond what God commands.

2.  Try it for one year and commit to it.  I gurantee you will begin seeing benefits to tithing before the year is out.

3.  Go back and read my testimony again…it’s all true…and maybe it can help you resist the temptation of holding back when God tests you and the devil tempts you.

This entry was posted in assurance, Blessings, Character, Family, Godliness, Money, Recommitment, Wealth, Wisdom and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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