Test me in this…

In Malachi 3:10, God invites his people to test him. It’s the only place in the Bible where He specifically tells his people to test him. Though it sounds like we get to test Him, really it’s us who are getting tested; tested in our faith. Will we believe in Him and follow his commands or will we cling to the temporary and believe it’s the way to security and happiness?

Some years ago, my husband and I decided we would take God up on his offer to test Him. We had been giving to church, yes, but not very much. We gave what we felt like we could manage. After all, we had credit card debt that somehow kept growing and growing, no matter how hard we tried to get it paid off. We felt financially squeezed, but decided to go forward and see what would come from this test. We figured out what our 10% was and began giving it each week.

I’ll be honest, some weeks it was downright painful to write out those checks, but over the months – and years, even – God had been working in our hearts and shifting our priorities. By putting Him first, all other financial priorities started falling into place. No longer were the balances on those credit cards going up, they were going down and eventually were completely paid off. This is not to say that we’re perfect, because it’s easy to get complacent and be lulled back into bad habits on occasion.

Admittedly, there are days even now when I’ll look at the checkbook balance and cringe as I write that check, out of future worries, but that doesn’t stop me from writing it (and a few more these days). Yes, there are days when I feel like our bag has holes in it and the financial experts say we need to have more in savings and be putting away for the kids’ college educations. But then the neighbor stops by, again, with  a ton of bread or other food they’ve received to pass out to the neighborhood because it’s more than they need and they give us so much that we pass some on to friends at work, rather than letting it spoil at our house.

To most people, our bank accounts might not show that we’re blessed, but our cupboards and our refrigerator are sometimes overflowing with His blessings. We don’t have the latest this or that, but our kids aren’t worried about their next meal or the roof over their heads, and both of us have kept our jobs through all the economic turmoil of the past few years. We have been blessed with great friendships coming from the Growth Groups we joined and led as well.

No, not all blessings are meant to be financial in nature and some blessings, like friendships, are more precious than gold. Anyone who says that blessings are all financial are not telling you God’s truth. And I’m not telling this story to say, “Look at me!” but rather to share one story of His blessings that came when the faith came first.

What about you? If you’re a Christian, what keeps you from tithing? Will you, now, test Him and see what blessings He has for you?

Will you love God or money?
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