byPastor Bob Wint, who serves the Clarksville, Hopkinsville and Oak Grove Churches
Mary was in her late 70s when I visited her. Her church attendance had been very sporadic yet she seemed to enjoy the fellowship and worship. When I greeted her Sabbath after church I happened to ask her why we did not see her more often. She began to cry and said “Pastor I need to talk to you. Can you stop by this week?”
When I visited her she got right to the point. “Something is bothering me and I’m afraid I’m going to be lost. Pastor I cannot tithe and I feel so guilty. I love the church and the people, but I feel so ashamed because I do not tithe and seldom give offerings.” With tears in her eyes she told me she was sure she could not go to heaven because it was impossible for her to do God’s will.
She told me that a pastor had said because of her circumstances God did not expect her to tithe. But she said, “I still feel so guilty. What do you think Pastor?” What I said was, “my opinion is no better than yours. Let’s look at what God says.” I turned to Mal. 3:8-12 and we read it together. She then asked me if I expected her to tithe and give offerings and not pay some of her bills or go without food.
She then began to show me her check book and explain that her monthly expenses were over $900.00 and her income was only slightly over $800.00. In addition to this she had gone to a payday loan company and had borrowed $400.00. Because she could not pay on time she now owed almost $1,000.00. Her debt was growing faster than her repayment. She told me she tried to get a job but her poor health caused her to lose it. “Now,” she asked, “where is the money for my tithe and offerings?” I pointed to the income amount we had written down when we were doing the math of her impossible balance sheet. I told her to take it off the top, God’s money first.
I explained to her that it was not my words we had read but God’s and that He has said “Prove Me”. In other words: put Him to the test and find out if God can take care of you when you are obedient. She said “Pastor I’m going to do it when my check comes this month” and she did. She came to prayer meeting and gave me her tithe envelope and asked me to turn it in for her as she was afraid she would lose courage and spend it.
That month her daughter sent her some money. Her grandson began sending her money every month. She never told them what she was doing, but God must have. The church took care of her pay day loan and she never failed to pay her bills or buy groceries. She began to praise God for His faithfulness and tell how He was rewarding her faith. She is now in her late 80’s and has, through a series of God’s blessings, more than twice her former income. She is faithful in tithe and generous in offerings and has taken many opportunities to give to others. She finds joy in sharing her testimony and has thanked me over and over for not telling her it would be alright not to tithe in her financial circumstances. “Prove Me” God said and she did!