Psalm 100 - Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
As this Psalm tells us, we should thank God. We should thank him and praise him - with our words and our actions. When we pray, we need to put God first. Start our prayers with thanks to God for our blessings, for all he has done and is doing for us. When we start our prayers with thanksgiving, our needs and wants are put into perspective. All we have is from God and every day is full of blessings. If we have our eyes fixed on God, we can see those blessings. We also need to put God first with our finances. Tithing is how we do that. The first 10% of our earnings. That is not always an easy leap of faith to make.
I’m a single, widowed mom. I have been solely responsible for myself and my daughter for the past 8.5 years. During this Campaign, God has stretched me in ways I didn’t know he would. In getting ready to make my Campaign commitment, I re-examined my finances. Through helping someone else, God opened my eyes to something in my own life. I tithed my income (my pay, my overtime and my bonus), but I had never tithed on the death benefits I receive for my daughter from Social Security. I always thought of that not being my money. At first I fought tithing that income. I tried to find anything and anyone I could to validate my thinking that it was not titheable income. I prayed about it and sought Godly counsel here at GCC. After fully opening myself up to what God was trying to show me and hearing from my boyfriend that God has spoken to him about it, I made the decision to submit to God with that income. Two Sundays ago, I tithed for the first time on that money. When you look at my budget, there was already a shortfall every month before that additional tithe. My budget doesn’t make sense - there is more going out than coming in. Yet when I put God first with my tithe, he always takes care of the rest, providing abundantly for my obedience. The bills are always paid and there is always plenty of food on the table. With the additional tithing, my budget will be even more tight, yet I do not walk in fear. God will bless me and my family.
When I look at all of my blessings, it is overwhelming. I want to share those blessings with others and give honor and praise to God. To do that, I am going to give extra thanks to God for all I have by making a commitment to the Greater Impact campaign. Through the expansion of GCC, God’s kingdom will be expanded. We, and especially our children, will benefit – but those that will benefit the most are the ones that have not yet come to know Christ and who will come to visit us at GCC. They will find a loving place to worship - a place where they can let go of their pain and be healed and saved.
Giving to the campaign, means sacrificing. It means putting even more faith in God that he will provide. I started looking at what I could give - how can I give when my budget is short already? But the question is how can I not give? GCC is our home and family and I want others to experience the joy and love of Jesus. I started thinking that I could take a baby step and add an additional 1% to my tithe each month; then I felt a push to give a little more. Then I started feeling comfortable with that amount. I continued to pray about it and search my heart as to what God would want me to do. I was aware that he was nudging me to feel the “joyful ouch” a little more. Because my heart was open to hearing from God, I was shown a number very clearly - a number that was more than double my second number. It was hard to hear that final number especially with the additional tithing - others even tried to fill me with doubt that I should give anything to the campaign, but God has always provided and I find comfort in that he always will. The amount that I am going to give, that clear number, is equal to what I typically spend a month for groceries. I feel that is significant because God feeds me, he provides for my physical food and spiritual food. I am going to cut back on what I buy and cut even more coupons. I have decided to eat out less, cut out my coffee at Journaling and overall spend less - live with less. I am going to put my faith in God that he will continue provide each month even more than before, and I am excited to see the various ways that he will do that.
I pray that you will join me in this incredible journey of faith - join me in thanking God and sharing this thanksgiving with others.
- Lorinda Monroe