Two Percent of Two Percent

Recently, I was having a discussion with one of the folks who’s been reading along with our Wednesday book discussion on Richard Stearns’ The Hole in Our Gospel. His observation was that he really enjoys the posts, but having read the book, on many weeks, he finds that our posts are pretty unexpected. For my part, I’ll take that as a compliment. It would probably be easier to just sit and outline each chapter for you. But I’d prefer to dig a little deeper into my heart, find a way that the chapter spoke into my life, and give it a chance to speak into your life, too.

I’m pretty sure my friend will be taken by surprise today too because this post is going to go in an unexpected direction as well. Please hang in there. I’m reasonably certain that it will all come together cohesively by the time I’m done.

When I was twenty-two and bouncing back from a trip to “rock bottom” a friend came up to me at church one Sunday and said, “God’s been talking to me about you. If you want to know what He said, you’re going to have to call me.” I was shocked speechless, but it didn’t take me long to find my tongue and call him. And what he told me really did change my life. In fact, to this day, some of those things he said in that conversation are the things that have kept me from unraveling and hitting rock bottom again.

For the purpose of our conversation today, I’m just going to share one of the things my friend told me that day. He told me that a lot of times, Christians try to live out their faith by using fancy formulas, but really,  it all comes down to one thing: trust and obey.

Let me say that again.

Trust and obey.

(That would make a good name for a hymn, don’t you think?)

Reading this week’s chapter, this bit of wisdom came back to me. Stearns spends this chapter discussing how small the percentage of committed givers in the church actually is. Only about 5 percent of American households tithe (p. 216). And discussing what could be accomplished if we all faithfully tithed. If we all tithed, we would have $168 billion more to spend in funding the work of the Church worldwide (p. 218).

And my immediate thought was my friend’s old advice: trust and obey.

I know what it’s like to live on a shoestring budget. But I also know that if I trust God enough to obediently give Him what’s His already (every dime in my bank account) then He is going to take care of me.

Another piece of advice my friend gave me was that before I did anything to ask God. So, if you’re one that likes formulas like I do, here’s a formula for you. Ask God what to give and then trust Him enough to obey Him.

Some of us have heard Malachi 3:10-12 so much that it makes us cringe. But let’s open our hearts with the formula we just discussed (ask, trust, obey) and look at it once more.

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “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. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the LORD Almighty. “Then the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty.

This post is part of our regular Wednesday book discussion. If you have written a response for Chapter 19, I welcome you to link it up below. I also encourage you to visit my co-facilitator, Jason, at his site, Connecting to Impact to see what he’s shared on this chapter.

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  1. It really does come down to trusting and obeying. There is no other way. To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

    You may have something on the hymn thing…

    Oh wait. Never mind.


  2. Sarah Salter says:

    Dusty, that’s what I’m saying. 🙂

  3. I know this is a shock, but I’m totally with you. 🙂 I just know what I had before I was faithful at tithing and turning this over to God at the first (and not if anything was left). It was hard and all up to me. I want to trust Him in all of it. I thought, as would be expected, what would happen if everyone in our little church tithed. What nations would be affected? How many more people could we reach in our city? How much poverty could we eradicate? Gotta trust and obey!

    Good word, Sarah. Thank you.

  4. Sarah Salter says:

    Jason, one of these days, we’re gonna have to disagree just to see what it’s like. 😉

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