[I recently wrote a new book: Wealth & Generosity - Living in God’s Economy. I know this can be a challenging subject for some, but I believe it is so important that we get the basics when it comes to God’s plan for wealth and generosity. In today's devo, I'm sharing an excerpt from the book including a little bit about my own journey of discovering these principles. As a result, I hope you are encouraged and stirred up to put God’s Word into practice in your own life!]
“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” says the Lord of hosts; “And all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land,” says the Lord of hosts. Malachi 3:10-12 NKJV
I grew up on the clearance rack. Literally, that’s how we were raised. My mother was the Queen of Clearance and was once asked if she had ever bought anything that was not on clearance. Her “Dear Lord, I hope not!” response perfectly described our childhood and mindset. It never occurred to me to even look at the full price racks, let alone buy anything from those racks. That was for other folk.
But, I’ll never forget the moment I crossed over in my thinking about money...
I was twenty-four years old, a college graduate with a Bachelor of Science in communications from Boston University, and back home in Michigan. That degree landed me the thrilling job of waiting tables at the Harrison Roadhouse Tavern while I tried to figure out the next step.
I had $50 to my name. That’s it.
By now I felt God calling me to the ministry to write and teach the Bible for people who knew nothing about God or the Bible, but I had no idea how this was ever going to come to pass.
Through a series of events, I realized the Lord was leading me to attend a Bible school in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to be trained for ministry and to discover more about His calling on my life. When I did all of the calculations, I figured I needed $2500 for tuition and my first few months of rent. Up until that point, all of my income had gone into my current living expenses, and I had not been able to save any money. Thus one month before Bible school was to begin, I had a grand total of $50 to my name.
One night at church, our pastor taught on the “Prove Me Now” principle of tithes and offerings from Malachi 3. I had never heard such a thing, but I felt faith rising in my heart. When it was time for the offering, I decided to “prove God” according to His Word, and I put all $50 into the offering. (By most standards, it wasn’t very much money, but it was all I had. I was soon to learn it’s not the amount that God is concerned with. He’s looking at the percentage and the motivations of the heart.) I gave that night with the expectation that God would open the windows of heaven over my life and pour out the blessings I needed to go to Bible school. My “Prove Me Now” faith was at the $2500 level because that’s what I needed.
You’ll never believe what happened. The Tooth Fairy must have picked up a second job because when I woke up the next morning, there was $2500 under my pillow! (Just kidding.) So, what happened?
Nothing, at first. But within a few days, a witty idea for a business popped into my heart that I felt was from the Lord. (Now this is where some people say, “Okay, you mentioned something that sounds like work? Uh yeah . . . about that, I’m out.”)
As I followed this idea, one thing led to another and within 30 days, I had the $2500 I needed. I moved to Oklahoma to begin training for the ministry. What was the secret? I believe several things factored in. I “proved” God according to His Word with faith and a pure heart, and He was faithful to provide me with favor, divine connections, and the innovative power to get wealth—exactly $2500 within that short thirty-day window. And, I worked hard and smart during those 30 days.
Since that time, I have learned many more lessons on wealth and generosity, and my husband and I have seen God’s goodness and faithfulness at every level. There is not one magic bullet to lead you to experience a life of wealth and generosity but rather it involves a combination of things like believing God, exercising wisdom, being led by the Spirit, having a strong work ethic, practicing godly stewardship, having pure motives, following witty business ideas, recognizing divine connections, being generous in giving tithes, investing in His Church, sowing offering seeds, and giving alms to the poor. When we respond to God’s generosity towards us in these ways, it results in a life of wealth and generosity.
Obviously we cannot give what we do not have, but when we do give what we have, God touches it in remarkable ways. It doesn’t matter where you start. We know people who struggle to give $5, but they do it. We know others who are able to give $100,000 on a recurring basis over and above their tithe to build the Church and not even notice the dent in their balance sheet.
Your wealth and generosity quotient is probably somewhere in between. Ours is. In our personal lives, we have grown incrementally. Every time God has asked my husband and me to give something––whether it’s to start tithing or to give a cup of coffee, a pair of shoes, a car, or big bucks to bless people, build His Church, or help the poor—He has always given us the faith and joy to do so, and He has always been faithful to open the windows of heaven to bless our lives and to multiply the seeds we have sown.
What am I trying to say?
God’s promises can be taken to the bank (pun intended). You can trust His Word. You may be like I was as a brand new Christian, a sincere believer with no money, and all of this talk of wealth and generosity may be new and exciting to you. Or you may be a more mature Christian versed in many of these principles, but you’ve allowed yourself to become rusty when it comes to believing God in the areas of wealth and generosity. No matter where you are in your journey, I pray that you grab onto God’s principles of wealth and generosity with a fresh and bold faith to earn more income and to give more money to worthy endeavors than ever before.
I can promise you this: once you cross over into the world of wealth and generosity, there’s no desire to go back!
Say It: “Dear Father, I am so thankful for Your Word. It is the truth. I am beginning to get a better working knowledge of your principles on wealth & generosity. Thank You for innovative ideas and for leading me by Your Word and by Your Spirit into a successful and generous life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”