“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:” (2 Corinthians 9:8, KJV)
In 1983, the Lord saved me while reading a Bible placed by the Gideon’s International in a Minneapolis hotel room. That evening, my life was changed completely. Yet, I had much growing to do. One of the first things I encountered was that of giving. I worked for an international company and had a very good salary. Yet we were living on the financial edge. I mean that we lived paycheck to paycheck with barely anything left over.
Attending our local church, I remember the offering plate going by. It was quite a challenge putting a five-dollar bill in the offering plate as it went by. Looking back at it, five-dollars was just a drop in the bucket from a financial standpoint. It was just over half a percent of my weekly income. Over time, we ended up increasing our monthly offering to ten-percent of our income.
Everything was going fine. We still did not save any money. We just seemed to have enough to make ends meet. Then one month, we got to the end of the month and only had around $21.00 left in the account. It was far less than the ten-percent that we had planned to give. So, without knowing how we were going to make it for the remainder of the month, we wrote an offering check that cleared out our checking and savings account.
The following Monday when I got home from the office, my wife gave me an envelope from our insurance company. I thought, “Just what we need, another bill.” Yet, it was not a bill. It was an unexpected rebate from the insurance company for over $400.00. God provided.
That week I was studying in the Old Testament about the principle of the first-fruits. The Israelites gave of the first fruits of the harvest by faith, trusting that the Lord would sufficiently supply the rest of the harvest. I told my wife that we have been doing this all wrong. We should have been giving the ten-percent from the first of our paycheck and not the last. From then on out, we wrote the very first check from each monthly pay period to cover our ten-percent commitment. You know from that time on, some 40 years, we never ran short. Somehow, God always supplied every thing we needed and then some.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians that God was able to make all grace abound towards them so that they would have everything they needed to do every good work. It is true. God provides everything we need to do the good works He calls us to do. It does not mean that we can get everything we want and run ourselves into financial ruin. Yet it does mean that if we live by faith and consider the will of God first with our finances that He will watch over all our needs.
It works this way with us as individuals and as a church. God taught me a great lesson then regarding giving for His glory. It was one that stuck with me and benefitted me when I entered the pastorate. I share more on this in the next devotional.