by James Bagwell, Director of Finance & Administration at Shandon
When I was a young child, my family was very poor.
My father used to collect bottles (back when you could return bottles for a minimal refund), collect scrap metal and sell chicken eggs just to provide enough for us to get by. At the time, we lived across the street from a Baptist church.
One day the pastor of the church invited my parents to attend. My father explained to the pastor that we could not attend his church because we could not afford to tithe. Interestingly, my father was not a believer at this time, but he at least had some head knowledge about tithing.
The pastor challenged my father with this: “Mr. Bagwell, we don’t need your money. But I will tell you this. If you were to start giving 10% of your income to the Lord, I assure you that you will not go hungry or go without other neccesities. If you find by tithing, you do not have enough, you come see me and I will make sure you have the essentials.”
My father accepted the challenge and began attending church and tithing on his modest means, which included the money from bottles, metal and eggs. My father never had to ask the pastor for help.
We always had enough.
To see how my father chose to trust a God he didn't yet know was a life lesson for me. How much faith do I have in the God I do know and follow? Thankfully, my father did come to know Christ later in life and it was a great blessing, but I've never forgotten that example of faith.
I want to encourage those of you who may think you can’t tithe. Our God is a loving God who seeks an intimate relationship with us built upon faith.
Malachi 3:10 tells us “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.”
This year as you examine your finances and consider what you should do with your pledge card, I encourage you to have faith. Pray. Seek God’s will. And join us on November 16 as we come together, trusting God, making an eternal commitment to support the ministry of our church to reach the world.