Another Sunday where I feel like crap. I want to give, I want to be obedient. But we simply don’t have the money to pay tithe and our basic bills. And I do mean BASIC BILLS. Rent, daycare, electricity, natural gas, water, gasoline, groceries, phone, clothes…there is simply nothing left. We are still a month behind on rent. I paid our water bill on Thursday-about an hour before it would have been shut off-we still have a garnishment against my check. And we are still behind and way, deep in debt.
We are in a season of financial difficulty and rebuilding. I believe it is just for a time. We are coming out of a very long season (10 plus years) where we made continuous bad decisions with our finances. We were not good stewards with what had been given to us. We repeatedly acted reactively and whimsical. HOWEVER, NOW, we are planning, we have been following Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and we have been making and sticking to a budget. We are making better decisions, we are pro-actively budgeting and paying bills on time and communicating with debtors.
So the real issue today is do I heed the words of my pastor and act in obedience. Or do I continue with The Plan? This financial plan that we have is in an “emergency” mode that addresses the basics. The next phases will include giving, saving and getting out of debt. I keep telling myself that by not giving now we will be in a better position later to give-to be obedient and faithful and consistent with tithe.
But today Pastor is pleading with us to be obedient-TODAY and to give. The thing is we simply don’t have money to give.
And so it goes back and forth. On one hand there is a plan that gives us peace and security-a plan that we are being faithful to. A plan that we are confident will lead us to a place where we have a healthy balance with our finances-a place where we can happily and fairly easily pay tithe. It is a plan that we have entered into with prayer, faith and obedience. It is a good plan. It is a plan that works. It is proven. And right now it includes the absence of a full tithe.
On the other hand is a blind leap of faith to be obedient in my relationship with God. It involves sacrifice.
I keep telling myself that we were not obedient before, work the plan and then we can be obedient in the future. But sacrifice is not supposed to be easy nor affordable.
I don’t know what the answer is. Part of that obedience is simply choosing to NOT pay a bill that can lead to not having daycare, no electricity, no water, no phone, an angry (er) landlord, no heat, no a/c (hey this IS Kansas), no hot water, no water at all, no gas, and the list goes on and on.
I don’t subscribe to a “prosperity gospel”. I don’t believe that if I give all of my money away that God will bless me with loads of money. The truth is I can sacrifice a basic bill to pay tithe and then NOT have the money to pay that bill. I am behind on daycare, but have been paying on time since on the plan. I have had my electricity shut off more than once in the past year-in the cold winter and in the hot summer. The water has been shut off. The phone has been shut off.
And on that one hand we are vowing to pay our bills on time. And on the other hand we are not paying a tithe to God. Not today. But soon. And freely-in obedience and consistently and faithfully.