Today for Meditation Monday I am welcoming Cherie Funk to the group! I have had the pleasure of getting to know her for the last couple years and what a treasure! I was so excited when she said yes to writtting a post for me!!! So enjoy this blog on Giving. Such a beautiful way to encouraging tithing.
Blessings Cherie as you and your family continue to grow in wisdom and understanding!!! It was a joy to read through and hear your thoughts and heart on this topic!
Giving money to church never came naturally to me, maybe it was how I was brought up or maybe it was other factors. I remember the first time I ever tithed the full 10% on my paycheck and it felt so awesome to be obedient and didn’t know why I hadn’t sooner, but at times I still wondered how I’d ever survive on 90%, somehow I always did and God always blessed me and I was very “fortunate” in life. Giving like I said however was always a bit of a back and forth with me and God though, it wasn’t like other messages I could just so easily receive like healing and forgiveness. At times I struggled to be a “cheerful” giver although I decided if I wasn’t going to be cheerful in it I wasn’t going to do it because then it’s not in faith and then it would be all in vain. I then started to learn about offerings and special seeds sown in tears (Psalms 126:5 Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy), well I can relate to the latter for sure ie. Crying when giving….but I didn’t know the tears I would cry later (after the giving) would be soooooo worth the tears at the time of giving.
Let me tell you probably one of the biggest things God ever did for me in my life. Back in 2004 I moved to Toronto to launch my career after I graduated University. I had been attending church in Waterloo but I needed to find a church where I lived as well so I prayed God would show me a church to attend, one I could really grow in the Word and be able to witness to people. Shortly after that I was at a bus stop and a kind lady passed by me and handed me a flyer to a bible study group that was located right by my apartment. I thought I should check it out. When I went I soon learned I was the first person to ever come and the pastors (husband and wife) recently moved from Africa to be missionaries to Canada!! As a side note I thought that was pretty wild, I always thought we were the ones to go there?!?! I was stunned by the Word that they spoke and the Bible just came alive to me and jumped off the pages. I had never felt so refreshed in the Word, so excited, so eager to read it every day. I decided this was the place for me! Soon after I learned they had their annual pastors and partners conference coming up in Nigeria, Africa and I was invited to come! This was around 3 months after I started to attend. I said YES!!! Although there was one problem: my parents. I was in my early 20’s and here I am going to Africa with two people I just met?! My parents weren’t exactly regular church attenders by any stretch at that time. They believed in God but didn’t attend church regularly since I was a small child, but I had been praying for them for soooo long that they would come to church, especially my dad because he was such a workaholic and he would actually always fall asleep in church. One of my deepest desires was to see him sold out to God and plugged into church. So I prayed for them a lot. They were, to say the least, not fully onboard with me going but what could they do, I was an adult not living with them anymore. My pastors met my parents and they agreed to me going.
So I went and it ROCKED my world, I was so blown away at the miracles I saw happen, the power of God I felt, the message I heard and so much more. To shorten the story I will skip to the main point - so it came to the last night of the conference and then I was heading back home. The message was on financial giving and sowing a special seed in tears. I have to be honest I don’t recall much of this message now, however it spoke to me so much at the time, I really felt led to give all of my entire travel money I had left as a special seed. I had only enough money to get home, money for some gifts I was planning to buy at the airport and “security” money (ie. If something goes down I’ve got some extra dough) BUT that night I felt sooooo led to give it all in the offering!! This was a HUGE deal to me, because I have never done that before especially in that kind of situation and so much that was not a tithe. Give all I have when I am in a country so far from home and travelling all alone the next day with no credit card as my safety net? God can I just give $100 and have some just in case?!?! I knew I was to give it all. Ok God. OK. I stepped out in faith and took it all to the altar, dropped it and walked back to my seat. When I returned the power of God hit me and I started praying in tongues boldly and crying! Big time! Then God spoke to my heart and said “He would give me something I could not buy with money because of my act of obedience, something I desired”. Ok God I trust you.
To make a long story short, everything went fine on my way home. I made it back safe and sound praise God. My trip home was so peaceful and such a powerful time with God, but that is another story. Shortly after arriving home, my pastor had said that when he was praying he really felt God leading him to partner with my dad in ministry. Wow, really? He then proceeded to meet with my dad and my dad came to church in Toronto. Toronto! That is 1.5 hour drive both ways to church. Ok, to put that in perspective my dad would not previously drive 5 mins to church, let alone 1.5 hours and then KEEP going week after week! But that is what happened. A new spark was in him I hadn’t seen before, ever. I recall the first time my dad got up and spoke at church and shared such a powerful word and that is when God spoke to me and told me “this is what you money bought, your dads soul”. Wow. I started crying, because that is something I could have NEVER EVER paid money for, in the natural. It was truly Gods hand working in our lives. It was really at that point I learned I needed to trust God with my money. Would I make a theology about that, no, I don’t know if you can truly buy someone’s soul with your seed, but I do know that in whatever you are obedient to God in He will never disappoint you and he will multiply your seed tenfold and then some. I have seen it time and time again in my life. Do I still struggle to give? Yes, I do sometimes when I am only focused on myself and my needs and not on others, but I’ve found I need to find a quiet place, shut the door and pray that God would change my attitude to be cheerful and be obedient to His will and then trust in Him. My husband and I recently gave to a cause, which to me, was a HUGE seed and I felt it was such a stretch to give it that I cried, a lot. My husband had felt led to give it, and well, I did not, at least not as much as he did! I REALLY struggled with it. I argued with my husband about the amount to give, the method to give, the way to give it, anything I could think of in order not to give so much. Then because I could not win any of my arguments with my husband and I had nothing more to complain about to him and knowing He REALLY believed God was leading him that way, I knew I had to talk to God immediately! So I found my quiet place, shut the door, wept, told God I didn’t get it, complained, got angry, etc, etc and then asked him to change my attitude…why did I feel this way?! I WANT to be a blessing, I WANT to give, but my natural self was fighting it and telling me all the reasons why we shouldn’t give. I didn’t want to be the one disobedient to God. Then God revealed to me my own selfishness and that I needed to trust Him, so it wasn’t easy but I chose to listen, chose to be cheerful, chose to be supportive of my husband, chose to give all of it in a good attitude, EVEN though I didn’t understand. Why am I telling you this? Because I want to let you know I’m not someone floating around on the cloud finding it super easy even though I saw a huge miracle in my life before, it is still something I continually have to work on. Dying to myself and leaning on Christ my solid rock. Did it matter I didn’t understand? Nope. I think of the times I tell my kids to do something and they fuss because they don’t understand why. Does that matter? No. I know what is best for them and I expect them to listen and be obedient. Period. Ouch, I realized I was being a fussy toddler with God and I needed to just listen.
I am confident our giving will not come back void, neither has my giving of my seed in Africa. To this day my dad still attends that church which is now here in town. I am so blessed, and even though I am still waiting to see God move supernaturally in our lives because of our recent act of obedience, I know He will, I know He has and I know He will continue to.... and a lot of the times He works behind the scenes too in less obvious ways on our behalf. I am eager to see all the good plans God has for our family,