Best of 2011 Series, Finances, Tithing

Best of 2011: #8 – Where “Dem” Dollars At?

We are featuring our top EmpowerMoments of 2011. They made us laugh and they made us cry. They comforted us during troubled times and made us uncomfortable in our mess. But most important, they EMPOWERED us to be greater women all around! We are better wives, mothers, daughters, friends, servants and employees. We have been EMPOWERED to love harder, forgive more and listen better. We thank God for EmpowerMoments! Enjoy the Best of Series!

Literally, ask yourself, do I really know where my money is going? Furthermore, am I being a good steward over my money? Often times we can have money matters mixed up. For example, there is a difference between being able to afford something versus being able to pay for it; having wealth and having money; and budgeting versus balancing. The former tends to require effort and self control while the latter may have you broke, stressed, and unable to effectively manage your funds. When my husband and I married we had big dreams to ensure we followed all of the statutes learned in our marriage maintenance sessions prior to our wedding day. We knew that tithing was a big part of that. Unfortunately, the day after our wedding our financial life shattered. Not due to the wedding, thank God it was paid in cash, but due to an unexpected occurrence that changed our lives (another blog). So we ignored the thought of tithing because we couldn’t “afford” it. What we noticed, shortly after our “bright idea” was that our money started to become extremely tight. It almost seemed as if it was infected. And according to Malachai 3:8-11, it was infected. We could not get past our swamp of bills because we were being disobedient.

“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.  “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing You?’  “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing Me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house. Test Me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the LORD Almighty. (Malachai 3:8-11)

At one time, we reached a really low point financially, so we came up with another bright idea to “tithe.” (Insert chuckle here.) We were convicted with money maintenance and gave God our issue. He gave us a heart to tithe. (Pause) When you tithe, it is an act of worship. It has absolutely nothing to do with the Pastor, the Deacons, or the Trustees and what you perceive they are doing with the money. God gave “you” a command to fill His storehouse. After you’ve done your part, that’s all you need to worry about. If you truly believe that God is a just God, you will also trust that He will deal with those that mishandle holy things. Don’t get caught up in judging someone else or you will be judged in the same way. If you need to search for a new church home, etc. that’s one thing, but don’t disobey tithing because of your criticism.

Girlfriend, there is a difference between affording something and being able to pay for it. If you have to shuffle your bills and suffer your budget to purchase something, then you “can’t” afford it. Better yet, if you don’t have a budget, you need to get one fast. We have to learn to live within our means. Does this mean you can’t buy nice things? No. One of my family members has an affinity for authentic Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, and the list goes on; however, she budgets her money by saving throughout the year before she goes on her fashion frenzies.

I want to encourage you to make smart decisions with your money. Don’t take the scripture “Do not worry about tomorrow” out of context. It’s about worry, not about wise financial preparation. Be smart about preparing for hard times, “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” (Proverbs 6:6-8).

I don’t want you to think you are to center your life and focus around money. But we should be good stewards of it. Are you leaving an inheritance for your children? Can you pay for a flat tire or collision without borrowing money? If you are snowed in, can you feed your family for a week or three (don’t mistake this for greed or hoarding)? Can you own your home or car? If you lose your job, can you manage your household for, at minimum, three months? This has nothing to do with status, but everything to do with the ability to manage your funds.

Dear Daddy,

You know that finances are a thorn in my side and I am thankful to know that You have set out a map for me, in Your Word, to follow. Help me to grow in this area realizing that I have to tithe to You out of obedience and to give to the needy as an offering of love, also through obedience. Help me to be a good steward and to think before I swipe, and pray before I purchase. Help me keep it in order. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you today to look at your pocket book and do a self examination. Am I being a good steward over my funds? Am I tithing? Am I giving to those that need it? Is my house financially in order?

There are thousands of formulas and programs to use to help you manage your funds. My husband is a Dave Ramsey fan, so we use the envelope method. But here is our simple and easy Excel program we use monthly, and sometimes weekly. Sometimes it’s thin (or even invisible) and sometimes it’s okay. But at least we know where our money is going, how we can improve, and what changes we need to make to fix the bumps of last month. Download it here and enter your numbers! Sample Budget

The Proverbs 31 Woman had it right, read her passage here.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: What Do You Have to Offer?

As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is College Biology Instructor. She is also currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Higher Ed and Community College Leadership. Khalilah is passionate about her faith journey and uses this key scripture as her inspiration: “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 KJV) She teaches Young Adult Bible Study and Sunday School and also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for various events for women and Christian empowerment.  Khalilah resides in Millbrook, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their energetic three-year old daughter. They attend St. Luke Christian ChurchCheck out Khalilah’s Christian weight loss blog here.

Finances, Growth/Maturity, Inspirational, Motivation, Tithing

What Do You Have To Offer?

“ Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes AND offerings. Malachi 3:8 (KJV)

A few Sundays ago I was sitting in church and what most people deem as the most tense ten minutes of service arrived. I filled out my envelope because I pay my tithes without incident but that offering part is where I get stuck. So many times we use the above verse to teach about tithing but the word AND let’s us know that not only are we required to tithe but we MUST give God an offering too. Giving to God isn’t my issue as much as “what shall I give.” Well God, I just gave you 10% of my money but let me see what I can spare on that offering piece.

But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. II Corinthians 9:6-7 (NKJV)

In reality, I had this whole situation mixed up. You see, your tithes already belong to God. It’s not yours to begin with so He gives you the power of the honesty policy to return to Him what is already His; but your offering is how you truly show appreciation to God for His goodness to you. Your offering is your gift to God. When you give someone you love a gift, you want to impress them, use it to show how much you know about them, and show how much you care. You want them to be pleased. Is God pleased with your gift? I want my offering to make God smile.

While giving money is important to ensure there is meat in God’s storehouse and to make sure the church functions, you also give to God through your service to others, your work in His house and your devotion to Him. How is your offering measuring up?

Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you. Luke 6:38 (NKJV) 

Although God has already done enough for us, He lets us know that he blesses our gifts but he does assess them. Whatever criteria we use to give, He will use that same criteria when giving back to us. With that thought in mind, I know it’s time to step up my offering game because I have laid some major requests at God’s feet. I am expecting BIG things, what about you?

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for teaching me the power of giving. Continue to groom me so that I give from my heart the types of gifts that You like to receive. Heavenly father, I want to impress You with my gifts and give without any reluctance. Let my offering to You truly express my appreciation to You and my faith in You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen!

EMPOWER yourself by evaluating your offerings to God. Do you aim to please God when you give your offering or are you giving out of routine? If you are shaky about the present you should bring to God’s party (church, charity etc), call Him up and ask Him what He likes. EMPOWER yourself to give God your best!

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Ms. Chancee` Lundy currently resides in Atlanta, GA and is an entrepreneur as she is the co-owner of Nspiregreen, LLC an environmental consulting firm. She is also a dedicated daughter, sister, friend, community servant, and child of God. She is passionate about causes that truly uplift the community. This week she is leaning on Matthew 6:1-4 “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.  But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.”

Finances

Hundred Dollar Praise

Last week Jesus showed me once again that He is in total control whether I acknowledge it or not.  On Wednesday morning one of my co-workers approached my desk with a look of distress.  She was having some financial troubles and asked if she could borrow $100 until a check cleared in her bank account.  I instantly reassured her that I would be able to help her considering for the first time in a while my bank account actually had a comma in the balance…THANK YOU LORD!!!

I knew I did not have that type of cash on me so I proceeded to grab my wallet from my purse to give her my debit card to go to the bank.  Much to my surprise my debit card was nowhere to be found.  Before going into panic mode I remembered that my card was in the handbag that I carried the day before.  I told my friend to thoroughly search every crease and crevice of my wallet while I contacted my roommate to have her look at home.  As soon as I picked up my cell phone and began to dial she tapped me on the shoulder and handed me a folded one hundred dollar bill that was stashed behind my Panera Bread card.  (I still have the slightest clue as to when I put it there; it had to be months ago.) At that very moment I began to praise the Lord as loud as I could! 

The first thing that came to my mind was the definition of faith:“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) 2010 was a very trying year for me when it came to finances.  I accomplished many of the things that I had been praying to God for but I was still in between financial blessings.  At the beginning of this year I spoke to God and asked Him to have His way in this situation and apparently He kept up his end of the bargain and I had no clue at all.

So after I praised the Lord for a good three minutes, another co-worker over heard the conversation and interjected my praise asking “Do you tithe Tasha?”  Part of me was a little perturbed that he interrupted my praise session but the other half saw an opportunity to boast about Jesus, so I answered… “Yes sir, EVERY two weeks. Whenever I get paid Jesus does too!”  He then replied saying that $100 was God’s way of reassuring me that He always has my back even when I don’t have a clue! HALLELUJAH!!!

“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me.  But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.” (Malachi 3:8) After talking with that guy at work I took a moment to reflect on last year. I had been robbing God here and there and that’s why my finances were suffering.  However, this year I made a promise to God to be obedient and trust Him to put the rest in line for me and this was the evidence of it all. 

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your unwavering provisions in my life. Give me the will to obey Your Word in every area of my life. Teach me to be a good steward over my finances. May I always give You what is rightfully Yours so that my finances are forever blessed. I know that all good and perfect gifts come from you! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I want you to take a moment this week and EMPOWER yourself to be obedient to God’s word. EMPOWER your finances by giving God what is rightfully His and I promise the results will be well worth it!   Have a Blessed Week!

Ms. Latasha Sampson is an accomplished writer who is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Human Resources Management.  She is a full time Workforce Analyst with Sprint Communications in Nashville, Tennessee. Her favorite scripture is “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment  You shall condemn” Isaiah 54:17