By Scott Stevenson
I’m the type of person that likes to break things down into simple terms that I can understand. Early on, when I first started my spiritual journey, I asked myself some simple basic questions. First – “is there a God?” Obviously, my answer was yes. Then I asked, “did God create the heavens and earth?” Again, my answer was yes (it says so right at the beginning of the Bible). Then I asked, “if God created the heavens and earth, wouldn’t it be true that everything belongs to him?” Again, the answer was yes. It was also early on that I learned a new word, and that word was tithing. Come to find out, that word means that God is only asking us to give back 10% of what is already His, and we can keep 90%. I was like “what?” Where do I sign up for that deal?”
When Nancy and I first started attending Shoreland (Rise MKE), we were going through an extremely difficult financial time. We did, however, agree on an amount that we were going to give the church. This wasn’t always easy because Nancy and I owned our own struggling business and could not always afford to pay ourselves. This meant we might go weeks with absolutely no income. It’s kind of hard to give when you have absolutely zero to give (nobody ever said that being a Christian was always going to be easy). However, when we could pay ourselves, we put God first and gave to the church what we had promised to God.
Our financial difficulties went on for a while longer, forcing us eventually to declare bankruptcy. Part of the bankruptcy process was giving our bankruptcy attorney a list of all of our assets and monthly income along with all of our monthly expenses. When our attorney was reviewing our expenses with us like mortgage, gas, electric, credit card, credit card, credit card, credit card, he got to an entry for Shoreland. He stopped and asked, “what is this?” Nancy quickly said, “it’s what we give to God each month.” He looked at us like we were crazy and said, “what?” Then, Nancy said, “it’s what we give to our church each month.” He finally let it go, but I know he thought we were crazy.
Looking back, I guess if you look at things only of this world, it was crazy. However, looking at it through the eyes of being children in God’s Kingdom, it made perfect sense to Nancy and I. In addition to creating the heavens and the earth, God has also given us the greatest gift of all in his Son, Jesus Christ, who died on a cross for our sins so that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. Talk about making a good deal even better, it doesn’t get any better than that.
Even during our financial struggles, God was blessing Nancy and I every day, and He continues to bless us way more than we deserve. Earlier on I asked the question, “where do I sign up for that deal?” I know where you sign up for that deal, and it is at the foot of the cross.