Miracle of the Tithe – Improving Financial Future

Butterfly and Me
Butterfly Buddy

Often I tell portions of my experience with tithing. Here is the complete story which covers a period of thirty years…and includes several miracles along the way.

We were living in northern VT where most families were at poverty level. Why were we there? One reason was because I wanted to escape from the materialism I disliked in CT. We became poor beyond my wildest dreams.

Our family included my husband (steadily employed at a bank), myself (running a free used clothes room in church building) and our four children attending a rural grade school. In-laws helped us buy a small house formerly used as a summer camp. The mortgage and car payments precluded eating out at restaurants, buying new clothes (grandparent’s gift got new undies for school), or vacations unless someone offered us a place to stay free. Buying food for six meant cutting a pound of hamburg into three portions. Even our garden refused to yield little in the short growing season except scruffy carrots and a poem I wrote about honking geese flying south overhead. I provided after school care for a friend’s daughter, cooked at the school, and then tried selling religious books and Shaklee vitamins.

These things did little to help our finances. That is when I read or heard about tithing…I don’t remember which. But Bible verses promised: “Bring all the tithes into My storehouse; see if I will not open the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing”, also “Give and it shall be given to you, heaped up, pressed down and running over.” Did we really have any choice?

We began tithing 10%, most coming from my husband’s earnings. Was there immediate improvement? That would be a miracle, right? Not in God’s economy. Seed sown must be patiently waited for.

So what did happen? My husband was forced into quitting his job, meaning there was no unemployment income. We had to take the money our kids earned helping their grandparents in order to buy milk and put gas in the car. We both had to work part-time temporary jobs, delivering newspapers, stocking shelves, selling phones, and once working three months on third shift an hour’s drive from our house. Did we stop tithing? Thankfully, no.

But I did get some financial wisdom from the marketing and sales tapes my Shaklee supervisor sent. One speaker said to check your financial earnings over the past 5 years. He bet the figures plateaued at the same point each year…he was right. No matter what weird combination of jobs we had held or which state we lived in, we earned exactly $22K each year. EXACTLY! That meant, without some miracle nothing would ever change.

I firmly believe our miracle finally came from insights gained due to tithing…my husband’s parents saw a job listing in their CT paper and offered to let us stay with them. Both of us got decent jobs, and our income finally jumped that plateau for the first time. We got an apartment. Our kids found after-school and summer jobs, too. An inheritance paid off our credit card debt.  My husband got steady employment with the post office. After two bad renters, we let his old bank take back the VT house.

Even after a divorce and living alone in a studio apartment, I kept tithing. My salary doubled in less than ten years. When I was forced to retire, my income doubled for that one year…a miraculous repayment of all I had given away.

Whenever financial doubt creeps in, I remind myself out loud: “I always have enough to meet my needs and give to others.” Then once a month, I get out my checkbook and give back to the Lord.

Location: VT: 1970-1980s
Type: Provision

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Replenish the Butter

Keys in the Morning
Keys in the Morning

When God created the earth and committed it to the care of Adam and Eve, He instructed them to replenish the earth. My great-aunt Flossie saw this happen right in her own Vermont kitchen. And she was not the type to lie or exaggerate!
The preachers were guests at her home for Sunday dinner. They had driven up from Connecticut and were now seated in her living room, right across the street from the little Gospel Hall. While they chatted, Aunt Flossie was busy in the kitchen, just like a modern-day Martha. That’s when she realized there was only one slab of butter left.
In the 1950s and 60s, everyone served bread and butter at meal time. What could she do? If you blinked, you would drive through Woodbury, VT, and miss it. There was no store nearby to buy more butter. Besides, this was Sunday and stores were closed.
Of course, my aunt could have apologized in advance, saying something like, “That’s all of the butter. Please use a little less.” She assured me a quarter century later that she never said a word. In fact, native Vermonters seldom make useless remarks. Instead, Aunt Flossie did the only thing she knew to do. She prayed that there would be enough butter to last through the meal.
The guests pulled their chairs up to table and gave thanks for the food spread before them. They passed heavy plates of food and then buttered their bread slices. They ate and talked. Every time Aunt Flossie glanced at the butter dish there was still more left…even after the guests, now full, pushed away from the table and thanked their hostess. When they finally left the house, she stood quietly in awe at just having seen a miracle.

Provision
VT, 1950s or 60s