On paper, our financial situation could not have been better. It was the dot com boom, and my husband, David, and his partners had just received enough venture capital to go to the next level. I was working part-time at CNN, a luxury we were afforded by David’s job. We had a baby and one on the way, and things were good. We had every reason in the world to tithe to our church, but for some reason we didn’t. We didn’t really think too seriously about money - either saving it or giving it away - maybe because we didn’t have to. That would all change. The dot com boom busted, and David found himself without a job. I had to go back to work full-time to support our family. I became pregnant with our third child while David was unemployed. We had a tiny house that wouldn’t hold five of us, and on paper, it was a disaster. If something didn’t happen fast, David would become a stay at home parent (a disaster of a different kind!). We had just begun to blow through our savings when David suggested something insane – tithing. I wondered why in the world we would give money away when we had no money coming in. But David was doing a lot of soul searching while he was out of a job, and he really felt led to give. It’s against my nature to let someone else be in control, but this time I went along. I realize now that I was going along with God, not David. I will admit that when we started tithing I hoped it meant God would “repay” us and give David a job. But God is far more creative and knows much more about what we need for now and for the future.
What God did instead was give us trust – trust in him and trust in each other. Our marriage gained dividends that cannot be matched financially. The stress we were under would have ended many marriages, but instead it made ours stronger. We were a team like we had never been before, and I guess God knew we needed that foundation for the years of parenting ahead. The day we had our third baby, David was hired for a full-time job. A year later with an empty bank account I quit my job - something God audibly told me to do for our children. With our faith muscles strong, we took another leap of faith. We knew God had us. There wouldn’t be anything we couldn’t handle, and so far there hasn’t been. Again, God knows what we need now and later.
Tithing is something David and I wouldn’t even consider wavering on. We know too well what God started to do for us when we surrendered that part of ourselves. I selfishly do not want to miss out on those blessings! Tithing doesn’t mean that God will end your financial troubles. It doesn’t mean that bad things won’t happen to you. It doesn’t mean that you will be praised by your minister (they have no idea what we give) or anyone else. But it does mean you will grow stronger. I know from personal experience that when you give, you gain. You gain a closer relationship with God. What in the world could be more valuable than that?