When I was young my parents taught me two things about giving - we are supposed to give and giving is an important activity in being a follower of Jesus. I remember when my parents started giving me an allowance. It was a really big deal. I could hardly believe it when they put my first allowance in my hand. I felt like I was rich. Dad explained that the first thing I was supposed to with my allowance was to set aside 10% of it for God. He taught me it was my responsibility to bring my 10% to church and put it in the offering. Even though I was just a kid, I had a responsibility to give an offering to God just like everyone else. Giving became a habit for me.
I also remember hearing my pastor talk about a Bible verse which said we could “test” God in our giving. I took tests all the time in school, but it seemed so strange to think I could give God a test. My pastor said if we gave our tithe to God, He would bless us in an amazing way, “Test me in this and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” Malachi 3:10. I remember thinking that the idea I could “test” God like this sounded so amazing. This is how I learned that giving was a challenge to trust God in my giving and He would always provide for me.
These two simple ideas shaped my personal practice of giving. I’ve followed them my whole life. Every time I give my offering, I feel I am honoring God and putting Him to the test. I’ve seen some difficult financial times in my life. But every time I put God to the test, He passes. It has given me confidence that I can trust Him to take care of me no matter how difficult or scary my finances may be. It has also given me a freedom to be generous with more than my offerings to God. I can give to others when I encounter a need. The same spiritual principles apply. I know that no matter what I give in every area of life - my time, talents or money - God will take care of me and bless me.
Test God. Make the next few months a season of giving in your live. Watch how God will bless you and your giving. And see how your faith and spirituality will grow.