The Money and Faith Challenge

After quite a long time I can’t remember, I’m doing a prayer and fasting. I was actually supposed to join CCF’s prayer and fasting which took place last week but I wasn’t able to prepare physically and more importantly, spiritually so I just decided to do it this week and today is my Day 3. I’m not on food fast though because I’m breastfeeding but I cut myself from something I call “pleasure eating” or in between munching of anything I find in my office pedestal or in our ref at home (like chips, chocolates, biscuits). I’m also fasting from the internet (except for work-related or spiritual-related stuff) and the social media. So far so good. 🙂

Anyhow, much as I want to share the things that God revealed to me in my past 3 days of prayer and fasting, I do not have the luxury of time to put them all into words in this blog. I’m in fact doing my best to find time for devotion given my full work schedule this week and family time when I’m at home. I tried to spend my prayer after the kids have slept at around 10:30pm but I failed. I fell asleep. 😀 But I discovered that early morning upon reaching the office and lunchtime are the best times for me to do my devotion and prayer. And it’s a success! 😉

So why am I writing now? 😀 Well, I just want to share something about what God revealed to me last week. It’s one of God’s first revelations to me this year so I’m really excited to share it with you. 🙂

I was actually making a mental list of things to pray for this week for my prayer and fasting when I came across Rica Peralejo’s post about money and trusting God. Then a big question mark popped in my head:

“When was the last time I tithed or gave an offering to Lord?”  Ahhmmm. In market research, my answer is “can’t recall”. Uttered shamefully.

I seriously can’t remember the last time I offered even a small part of what I earn to the Lord. So for the longest time, I’ve been savoring for myself and for my family something that God graciously provides me without giving Him back anything that is due to Him. I’ve been robbing God (Malachi 3:8-9). What I receive every payday is not that much, probably why I hold all the more on what I have.

To give you a bit of perspective, I continue to work in a corporate job even if I have 2 kids to help my husband with our finances. Not that hubby is having difficulty providing for our family (he is actually a great provider and I thank God that he is very good at his role!), but we feel that it would be better if both of us will be able to contribute to the needs of our family especially now that we have 2 children. I remember when we were still a small family of 3, I opened up to Daddy J the option for me to quit my job and stay home so I could focus on taking care of him and the Big Boy. He didn’t dismiss the idea but he said that even though he thinks his earnings seem to suffice for our needs, he would like me to help him in building our finances so that we’re not “gipit” and will have some to spare for our “wants” (Light-bulb moment: cutie baby stuff which absolutely hubby wouldn’t approve to buy so I better have my own money for these things! Haha! 😀 ). Basically, to live a little more “comfortable” life.

And now that our little family has grown into 4 plus the house that we acquired more than a year ago and the expenses for our daily needs and “wants”, I need more than ever to work. And with all these money outflow required, I felt that my and hubby’s combined income are just enough (or bordering enough and insufficient 😀 ) for what we “need and want”. Therefore, I made myself believe that what we have are “just enough” for us and I cannot take a portion of at least what I earn for the Lord.

While I convinced myself that we do not have much money to splurge, I kept on buying things that are either one, I/we need but too much, cost-wise and/or quantity-wise (examples: make-up, perfume, kids’ clothes) or two, I/we do not need that much like (several) hybrid-fitted cloth diapers (Ooopppss, hubby knows now! 😀 ). The Little Princess already have enough but I still continue purchase some more cute prints even if she’s near potty-training already (Now, I have to delay the Little Princess’ potty-training! Hehe! Kidding! Need to destash soon!). In short, I don’t spend wisely and I’m not being a good steward of God’s blessings.

But God has an amusing way of convicting our hearts. When I was reading the Bible last week, God spoke to me about money through the following verses:

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Innocent I thought I was but God showed me how much value I put on money that I spend it all for ourselves and put the Lord out of my finance equation. I held on to it believing the little amount is just enough for us and there’s nothing more I can give to the Lord. I couldn’t let it go. I have also let money consume me with the way I spent it even though I knew we do not have that much. The high value and importance of money for me reveals the littleness of my trust that God will provide for our family’s needs.

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When I moved to Genesis, these words seemed to be telling me direct instructions on what I ought to do next! 🙂 This is not my first time to tithe because several years back, I used to regularly slash off a tenth of my salary for the Lord. It was part of my every-15th-of-the-month “budget” itemized in my budget monitoring Excel file which I still use up to now. And guess what, during those times, money was never a concern for me. I always had something to spend for my needs. And I became debt-free from credit cards at some point in my life! 😀 More than these, God filled my heart with joy for obeying Him and contentment and complete satisfaction that only He can fulfill.

Now, the Lord challenges me to do the same again — to entrust my finances to Him by giving what He is due and trust that He will provide. I’m reminded of His promise in Malachi 3:10:

malachi310

This year, I’m taking God’s challenge to give my tithes and offerings faithfully. I’d like to experience once again the feeling of joy and contentment and the blessings that come with obedience to this command. Furthermore, I’d like to thank and worship Him for all that He has done, is doing and will be doing in our life through this simple act of “sacrificial” giving.

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