When I was very young, my parents taught me about tithing—giving the Lord 10 percent of my income. I learned at the age of 3 or 4 that if I received a dollar, 10 cents of that dollar was supposed to go to the Lord.
I was taught that God blessed us, but we were supposed to give the tithe back to Him. That was always sacred to me, and I've followed that principle all of my life. It was never a question of whether I was going to tithe. The only question I asked was, "How much is my tithe this week?"
These days, people are holding on tightly to their wallets. Many are thinking, "I'd better save all I can." And the first place they cut back on their spending is at church. But our giving to the Lord is the one place where we should never tighten our budgets!
Of course, Satan will do everything he can to try to stop you from tithing. Why?
Because he knows the blessings you're going to receive when you tithe, and he loves to keep you from receiving God's
He'll tell you, "If you tithe, you won't have enough money to pay your bills." He'll threaten you by saying, "If you tithe, you're not going to be able to eat this week." I've tithed all of my life, and I've never gone hungry, and I've always been able to pay my bills.
I'm thankful my parents taught me to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and also to give my tithes and offerings to the Lord. They knew that following these biblical principles would cause me to prosper and be successful in life.
I will never forget an incident that happened in 1966, right after Ken and I were married. Our budget was really tight in those days, and it's always been my responsibility to pay the bills and make the budget work. In other words, I am the keeper of the books in our household. But as I began to calculate what our expenses were going to be that month, I realized there wasn't enough money to meet all of our needs.
For the first time in my life, the thought crossed my mind, "You can hold back your tithes this month and make it up next month." But because the principle of tithing had been so firmly implanted in me, I was able to say, "No, Satan, you're not going to cut off the very thing that's going to open the windows of Heaven for me."
I told Ken about the situation, and we joined hands and agreed that our needs would be met. Then I wrote out our tithe check and told the Lord, "We're standing on Your Word and we're expecting You to meet every need."
There were times when I tried to figure out how God was going to help us pay all the bills. I watched for extra money to arrive in the mail, but we didn't receive any. No money dropped out of Heaven. No one handed us a special offering at church.
At the end of the month, I had paid every bill, we had not missed any meals, and we had $5 left in our bank account. I do not know where the money came from, but I can truthfully tell you that our God is able to supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19).
I told the Lord, "The first thing I'm going to do every month is write out our tithe check. Then I'm going to calculate the rest of our budget for the month." From that day to this, as soon as our pay is deposited in the bank, the very first check I write is for our tithe. And because we're honoring God and putting Him first, He always supplies our needs.