And the Angels Laughed
by Sandy Boyce
It has been about 50 years since the Lord taught me how to give.
It was in the early 1970s, and my husband and I were awaiting our tax refund check in the amount of $500. This money represented BIG BUCKS to us, and we had spent many weeks talking about the different ways we could spend it.
One Saturday morning, I was in the shower imagining how to spend the refund money, when the Lord put a thought into my head. He seemed to say, “I want you to tithe the check.” I did not want to hear such a disturbing request. So, I tried ignoring it. When the nagging thought continued in my head, I lined up my counter arguments: Tithing 10 percent of your income is an old fashioned, out-of-date, church tradition. These days it’s very expensive raising a family. I need that extra money.
Clearly, the Lord wasn’t moved by any of my brilliant arguments. Next, I cleverly decided to meet Him on His own turf. I reminded Him what it says in the Bible about wives being submissive to their husbands (I had finally found a use for that Bible verse!). It was a perfect way for me to suggest, Let’s make a deal God. You know Lord, I continued, I have to be submissive to Charles, who I knew would be even more reluctant than I to part with this windfall. I’ll tell him what you’ve suggested, and we’ll abide by his decision.
A stroke of genius for me! I bounded out of the bathroom to tell Charles. “Hey, hon,” I said, “The Lord wants us to title our refund check.” And he responded, “Okay.” The man had obviously not read my mind or didn’t remember what a tithe meant. “Charles,” I continued, “a tithe is 10 percent of our income. The Lord wants us to give $50!”
“Yes, I know what a tithe is,” replied my husband, “and if the Lord is asking for us to give it, then do it.” I could almost hear the heavenly hosts laughing at me! And so began our journey into tithing, with me kicking and screaming, and Charles obedient and agreeable.
Looking back, I can see why the Lord needed to teach me about stewardship. My attitude had been one of grudgingly giving to the Lord from my leftovers. He taught me the joy of giving from our “first fruits,” off the top giving.
From that point on, the Lord led us into tithing everything that was extra income. We once hit the lottery for $40. Charles began receiving a monthly disability check from the VA. Even checks for our birthdays were tithed. Each time it became easier and easier. Months later, as we were getting ready to sign a second-mortgage to finance an addition to our home, the Lord told me it was time to grow into full-time tithing: giving 10 percent of EVERYTHING! I muttered something about his timing, but agreed. I was learning to trust that things would turn out all right.
Looking back, I can see why the Lord needed to teach me about stewardship. My attitude had been one of grudgingly giving to the Lord from my leftovers. He taught me the joy of giving from our “first fruits,” off the top giving. Before paying any bills, we write our check for our tithe. I began to see how generous God really is, and that no matter what, I couldn’t out give Him.
Were there times of testing? Of course! Our first one came when my husband hurt his back and was out of work from May until after Labor Day. He was hospitalized, and when he was discharged, he was at home in a hospital bed in traction. Then, there were the weekly visits to the doctor, at a time when visits were paid in cash only! We had little savings, two kids in grammar school, a mortgage to pay, food to buy, and no help from family. Our income for the year was under $3000. Did I worry—you bet!
But the Lord provided, and I can’t even figure out how. I know that we received two food baskets from the Catholic church, because of our neighbors who were aware of our situation. I know that we ended up debt free by December of that year. Through it all God provided for us, met every need, and changed my reluctant, stingy heart to one that has been forever opened to the joy of giving.
More Jesus Journeys
You see, I never used to pray for myself. I thought I was being selfish by praying for myself, so I would always pray for everyone else but never ask God for anything for me.
All I could think about the rest of the trip was this: If Jesus is real, he must be so frustrated right now. He’s probably thinking, “I gave you the burning bush. What more proof do you need?!”
I thought I could stop when I wanted too, but that is the lie I believed without knowing I really had no willpower strong enough to overcome behaviors that were now addictions.
I didn’t want a baby at that point in my life. The father of the child said he could not afford the Child Support payments.
Church ministry is like racing: full of history and tradition, and like racing it is also changing, and not all of it is because of the pandemic. The changes affecting the church are coming from the changing society and culture around us.
These families have hope that their loved one will be relieved of pain and suffering. Hope that their loved one will have everlasting life with Jesus. Hope that they will join their loved one someday. They have hope because for them death is not the end.