‘Test Me in This...’

April 23rd, 2014

Our church recently finished our annual stewardship campaign. I'm not on the finance committee, so at this point I have no idea how it went as far as pledges go. To me, it seemed like a fairly soft campaign and I can understand why... kind of...

People seem to get really squirrely when the church starts talking about money and stewardship. It's really frustrating. It's a fine line to walk. You don't want to be pushy because people don't like that but if you go too soft, well, people don't get into it.

Several years ago, we used the “Practicing Extravagant Generosity” study for our stewardship campaign and it was wonderful! Honestly, I think it changed my life. I don't know how well it went for our congregation as a whole but it was great.

I have to share with you how this changed my life.

I've always been an on again, off again tither. We always tried to give 10% but sometimes it was really hard and we were unable, but we always gave. When we first moved here we were struggling financially. We had two house payments as we tried to sell our home where we used to live. We continued to give to our last church until our pledge was paid but when we started giving here it was below the 10% because we just couldn't make it work, or so we thought. Some months we did, some months we didn't depending on what was going on that month.

Then we started the “Practicing Extravagant Generosity” study. Somehow, I even ended up leading it a couple of weeks in our Sunday school class. It had a book of daily readings that went with it and I read it most every day. The last scripture for the last day before the last week was Malachi 3:10:

“Test me in this and see if I don't open up heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams.” (The Message)

My husband and I were just completely taken with this. Our wildest dreams? Really? Right then we decided that we were going to do this and do it right. I typed up this scripture and hung it on our bathroom mirror and on the refrigerator so we could read it everyday. We were going to “test him” and see if he kept his promise.

My husband was getting ready to retire from the military and we didn't really know what the future held for us as far as a job for him and our financial future but here was God telling us to trust him and if we did he'd make it worth our while so... we jumped in with both feet, no holding on to the sides!

We have not looked back since. At least once a month either my husband or myself will read the scripture again and comment on how blessed we have been. We aren't independently wealthy by any stretch of the mind and since my husband is a contractor for the military, his job is not always the most secure, but we are blessed beyond measure and we don't worry that much anymore.

We have found this scripture to be so true, this promise to have been kept. It's been amazing and very freeing. I've often felt that I needed to share this story with others, that maybe if I did, it might help others in their generosity.

The decision to tithe is a hard one. It's one that people and churches have wrestled with for years and it's not to be taken lightly. Sometimes it's really hard! I know it is! But we have found it worth it.

“Test me in this and see if I don't open up heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams.” (Malachi 3:10, The Message)

Sherri Williams blogs at Simply Sherri

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