Sermon Illustration: Tempted Not to Tithe
I am a 41 year old pastor and still get tempted not to tithe.
I have been giving to the local church since I was a young boy. In fact, I don’t remember NOT tithing. It is a habit my parents instilled in me early. I can remember turning in an envelope to my Sunday School teacher during my elementary school days.
But I still get tempted – to this day – not to tithe.
Never have I been more tempted, however, than in seminary.
Katie and I were poor. . . dirt poor. Like “hold your breath when you go to an ATM” poor.
While taking classes at seminary, I would mop floors at a preschool and box T-shirts and a shirt factory. Katie worked as a preschool teacher on campus.
We made enough to live off Hamburger Helper leftovers.
It got to a point where I told the Lord I couldn’t tithe. The numbers just didn’t work. It didn’t make “sense” for me to tithe. I was not on a church staff, thus, no “real” accountability. No one but me, Katie, and the financial secretary at our church would know. I had decided that I would not tithe that month.
That is, until I was deeply convicted. I remember not being able to shake the Lord’s urging to trust Him with my tithe. Before the next Sunday, I changed my mind. I wasn’t happy about it. I thought I was being dumb. I definitely was not a “cheerful giver.” But I gave. Whatever the amount was for 10% of what Katie and I were making was written on the check and put in the offering plate.
I then stressed that we wouldn’t be able to pay bills, eat, etc.
Until . . .
Until later that week when I walked down to check the mail in the mail room at the apartment complex where we lived. Outside the mailboxes sat a white envelope with my name on it. I picked it up, opened it, and retrieved $1,000.00 cash. To this day, other than the Lord, I have no idea who put it there or where the money came from. I believe the Father put it there to teach me how it is all connected (“where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”), and that He could be trusted with everything. He will take care of His children.
I still get tempted not to tithe.
I know, it’s ridiculous.
But I can never say I haven’t seen the Lord provide.
What about you? What do you need to trust the Father with today?