Chris & Nikki's Story
Our commitment began right before Pastor Craig announced the challenge, literally minutes before. Nikki and I had decided that it was time to be fully faithful in our tithe, and stop doing "the 6-7% most of the time" routine. The following service was perfectly in line with what we were already feeling God leading us to do about our finances, including living on 80% of our income. We know God doesn't fail and His word is true, so we knew we would not be getting a refund from the church and we were excited our church leadership was leaning so heavily on God's Word, not for selfish gain but for loving obedience to God, as a church body.
The details of our story are even more amazing because of the evidence of God's Hand in the littlest things. Our blessings continue to come in weekly, but the overall experience since we committed the tithe in our hearts and actions has resulted in these blessings:
For the entire prior year, I had been working hard at gaining a FT job in a particular field and nothing had lined up quite right. God was teaching me patience here, but sometimes that's hard to swallow. When this opportunity originally presented in late December, I thought things were finally happening for me. After two months of interviewing and waiting, I was told that I was the guy they wanted, but they're not filling the role at this time. Mid-February heartbreak, and wondering where God was leading us. Enter the tithe challenge and God's Hand clearly at work.
• The career opportunity that had closed the week before the tithe challenge, suddenly opened within less than two weeks of our initial decision and follow through in tithing. It was a surprise to us, as well as the company based on some internal changes that occurred. I just needed to nail the final interview.
• Around the same time, we discovered the landlord was selling the house we are leasing, but with me working two PT jobs (well paying), the banks would not finance us to buy it. We possibly had to move from the house we really enjoy being in and God had placed us in three and a half years ago.
• Two weeks later, I had my final interview in Miami. On the drive down there, a mortgage company pre-qualifies us to buy the house on condition that I win the job and start soon. I had a general idea of the salary range. I nailed the interview with such a spirit of peace, and I basically knew the job was mine! No official word yet though.
• The day after the interview, I'm working at one of my PT jobs and driving between accounts. I had been thinking about the salary and the house, probably having to negotiate for a slightly higher salary and began to stress. Then I gave it all to God and prayed this, “God, I know YOU KNOW our needs and our wants. I'm done stressing about the details of salary and the house. You have promised to prosper me and not harm me. You have plans for me, and I'm just giving all of this to you. I refuse to be stressed by any of this because I know YOU have it all under control.” I had let go and let God.
• The next day in the mid-morning, I got the verbal offer of employment! Great news to start the day, and was promised to receive the written offer that evening.
• At the end of Wednesday night Bible Study with Coach Dungy, I received an email. It was the official offer! I opened the letter and briefly read it. The offer came in at 10.1% MORE than what I had expected. On top of that, there was a bonus structure built in that increased my earning potential even more. So, God didn't just match our 10% tithe, He "one-upped" us with that extra 0.1% base just to show us we can't out give Him, and the extra earning potential was there as well. Many other perks came along this position, and when we have adjusted to them all, we will be able to save over $300 from our monthly budget. Yet another blessing!
• We are currently scheduled to close on our house in two weeks.
• Nikki's job is a blessing from God that started back in September, and she is beginning to see the fruits of her labor as of the last two months. She is the light of Christ at her office, and God is using her to reach others that have never known God's love before. A couple of them have started attending Grace recently.
We have more financial margin now than ever, and it's not just because the job pays well. The job would not have happened without God blessing and prospering us. We tested Him in his promise of bringing the full tithe to His storehouse, and boy has He opened His floodgates for us. He has blessed us in other ways as well, relationships, friends new to Christ, family, stability, etc.
I wish I had the opportunity to share the little details with everyone, but know that God has all the details covered, and His Word is true. Test His character and submit to His loving will for your life. He will bless you and be there for you in everything you do.