Sunday, May 29, 2011

God's Money Management Strategy

A year and a half ago, Dennis and I both sensed that we should tithe, which means give 10% of our income, off the top, to our church. One of the lessons we had learned during our financial management classes was that of giving. We were told "you've got to give" and it wasn't like they were saying "you've got to give to the church". They were just saying "you've got to give". That didn't seem to make sense since we couldn't pay our mortgage but we listened and obeyed. When we felt we should start giving 10%, the numbers REALLY did not add up. All of 2010 our budget was by faith. We'd give the 10% and on paper we'd have a budget deficit of about $200-$300 every time. Only by the grace of God, we made it. He didn't always balance the budget by checks in the mail. Those are lovely testimonies and God does do that. That actually happened for us one time and the money was meant to pay for my school. But if you hear too many of those testimonies, you might get the impression that that is the only way God can work with people in their finances. Sometimes He brought work. Sometimes He brought insight into what we could cut or who we could talk to. Sometimes it was a tip from someone at church on how to save money, like when a friend referred us to Pocket Your Dollars, a website on how to spend less for groceries. Sometimes, like when our daughter needed dental surgery and we had to come up with a large sum up front, the answer was not to tithe. We prayed over ever single paycheck that God would help us be good stewards and guide us to the way to make it work and He did.

I was reminded of this because I'm revisiting the Experiencing God study and the first page of the workbook talks about operating a budget on prayer. The study says that when you do that, "you are attempting something only God can do." That's very true. And Dennis and I have been feeling like God is moving us to start giving 10% and saving 10%. So far we haven't taken the leap of faith that we know works. We've been trying to make the numbers work, in our own strength and with our own minds, and we don't pray over the budget like we used to. I think it's time we start again.

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