Have you ever noticed some churches seem to ask for money all the time? There’s always this or that thing that needs fixing. If there’s nothing in need of repair, then there’s some sort of project that needs money. When there’s nothing that needs repair and there are no current projects, they ask for an offering, just because. 

When I became a Christian, the concept of giving tithes and offerings was alien to me. Sure, I donated to charities on occasion and helped out the homeless people in Santa Barbara, but donating large sums of money regularly for no apparent reason other than someone was asking for it, no. I may have lived in Santa Barbara, but I didn’t own a house or my own business or anything. I rented, and with a family, things were often very lean. 

Core Issues

Over a few years, my heart changed. I wanted to tithe, and I wanted to give offerings. However, there was still the issue of being able to afford it. Now, the Bible says a lot about the giving of tithes and offerings, but I’d like to look at this verse from Exodus that tells us where the root of giving comes from.

“Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering. You are to receive the offering for me from everyone whose heart prompts them to give.”

Exodus 25:2 (NIV)

This is the first time in the Bible that the Lord asks for a corporate offering. When giving Moses the law, God gives instructions about offerings. Of course, there are the individual offerings made from Cain and Abel through Abraham, etc. We can tell this is an optional offering because of this statement, “everyone whose heart prompts them to give.”

Giving isn’t an issue that has anything to do with finances. It’s about our hearts. In those years when I was first saved and didn’t see myself as being able to afford to financially give, my family spent a lot of time working in the church. We might not have had the money, but we had the desire and time to serve, and we were very blessed. Some of the best times I can remember with the family in those days were serving in ministry together. 

Our time and our money are not ours. Not really. We own nothing but our lives, and even they are a gift from God. Every breath we take is one God has given to us. We are stewards of everything in our possession. It’s taken me a long time to wrap my head around this. I can understand it on an intellectual level but on a heart level? I might be a slow learner, but I think it takes time. Even now, there’s a lot of my faith I grasp intellectually that’s working its way into my heart. 

Already Done

Another area the Lord is still working on in me is believing that He’s got everything worked out already. God never asks us to do anything or expects us to do anything He’s not already worked out. We see evidence of this in the Bible. Noah built the ark, and Jesus died on the cross. I saw this today when I read these verses from Exodus.

“Have them make an ark of acacia wood—two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high.”

Exodus 25:10 (NIV)

The Lord is giving Moses instructions on building the Ark of the Covenant. The Lord doesn’t tell Moses, “If you can find people to do it” or anything else of the sort. He just tells Moses to do it. Everything Moses needs to get done is already available to him. 

“Then put in the ark the tablets of the covenant law, which I will give you.”

Exodus 25:16 (NIV)

God hasn’t even given Moses the tablets yet, but He’s telling Moses what to do with them once he gets them. Remember, the ark hasn’t even been built yet. 

My brother is a woodworker and a master craftsman. He’s always talking about making this thing or that thing and tries to show me his vision. I work mostly in words and electronics, so trying to envision the things my brother tells me about is difficult. It’s not that I can’t imagine a fully formed table or a room covered in cedar. I think about the time, skill, and everything else involved to make it so, and it’s too much to me. It’s one reason I like to watch those videos of someone building a house from the ground up in fast motion. 

Now, if I have a hard time seeing my brother’s vision, what hope do I have in seeing God’s vision? The difference between anything my brother hopes to do and what God says He is going to do is this. God does what He says He is going to do. We can plan to do something, but we cannot plan for everything. 

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)

If you’re like me, then God doesn’t come to you in a vision or similar way telling you to go and do such and such. No burning bush. No ephod or voice from Heaven. I’m not like David who asks the Lord a specific question and gets a specific answer. Most of the time.

When it comes to living a holy lifestyle, it’s not an issue. Between reading the Bible, praying, and my pastor, I know how to live a holy life. However, in other areas of my life, it’s a different story. For example, before I moved to Sacramento, I almost didn’t. 

In December of 2017, I was having a hard time in Santa Barbara. Between the wildfires, IBS, and the reality of living in such an expensive place, it was all getting to me. I had wanted to move out of the area for some time, but I couldn’t afford it. It’s expensive to move, and living paycheck to paycheck doesn’t allow one to save up money to move. Although my brother lived in Sacramento, we rarely spoke.

Early in December of 2017, my brother called me out of the blue. As I said, I was having a hard time. We spoke for a while and I shared with him my desire to get out of Santa Barbara. After talking for a bit, the idea of moving to Sacramento came up. Although I knew it was the Lord who had prompted my brother to call me, and I knew it was the Lord who had made a place for me in Sacramento, I sort of forgot about it all when the hard time I was going through passed. While it was nice to have Sacramento as an option, everything was “fine” in Santa Barbara now that the hard time had “passed.” 

Then the Lord did something in my life that caught my attention again. This time I stopped looking at the finery of Santa Barbara and paid attention to what God was doing. Subsequently, I moved to Sacramento. 

If the Lord had just appeared to me and told me to move to Sacramento, I like to believe I would have done it. But then I think about Moses. I think about Barak, and I think about Gideon. I think about all of the people who heard directly from God and still had an issue doing what He said to do. 

Most of the time doing what God wants us to do in our lives isn’t about a burning bush or anything so direct. It’s about knowing God’s character and trusting Him. Indeed, God told Moses exactly how to build the Ark of the Covenant. However, I remember what Moses said to God after God had told him to go to Egypt to free the Israelites.

But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”

Exodus 4:13 (NIV)

Moses got the scoop on what he was supposed to do in Egypt, and he didn’t want to do it. It all seemed like too much to him. I’m no Moses, so if the Lord said to me He was going to do something amazing through me, like build a ministry that touched millions of lives, I’d be intimidated, to say the least. Instead of looking at the Lord and how big He is, I’d focus on how small I am. That’s what Moses did when God first told him to go back to Egypt. It’s probably what most of us would do. 

This is why I just have to believe God. We have to believe what His word says. Scripture like Romans 8:28 isn’t just there to make us feel good. We can say we believe that God works out all things to the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose but are we living it? This is the “heart” versus “head” issue I was speaking about earlier. 

So if you love God, then He’s got you covered. I’d even go so far as to say that if you love God now or in the future, He’s got you covered. The best time though, to choose God isn’t in some distant future, but now. The future isn’t promised. 

Do you know God? God knows you, and He loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, right now, and He wants you to know Him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, be freed from death, and live eternally with Him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away. 

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart, and I receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.