Location: New England, United States

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Pay The Rent First

For a great portion of my adult life, I have been a single parent, and the perils of living with one income are always pursuing just beyond my shadow.

Late last summer, I was in a desperate situation. Dunning notices filled the mail box with threatening letters for overdue taxes, credit card payments and utility shut- offs. I stopped answering the phone to avoid the constant harrassment. My paychecks could no longer wrap around the mounting debt and I was desperate. I decided it was time to have a "heart to heart" with God.

"Father, years ago you asked that I place you as the head of my household so that you could take care of my family. I did this. Now, I am in trouble with my finances and I have no where else to turn. As the head of my household, I need you to help me eliminate this debt, in Jesus' name."

"Pay the rent first."

"What? You know that I always pay the rent first. I have a pecking order for paying the bills, first the rent, then the utilities, food and then everything else. What are you talking about?"

"Give to God what belongs to God. Pay the rent first."

I realized God was speaking about tithing. "Are you crazy? I can't pay my bills and now you tell me to tithe?"

"Child, you have prayed for a healing for your earthly Father. You prayed for the salvation of friends and family, you have prayed for the protection of your children. You trust me with these things which are so precious to you, but you will not trust me with your finances?"

I was ashamed. "Forgive me, you are right. Tell me what to do." According to God's instructions, I applied for a small loan to pay off the more important debts. Miracuously, the loan was accepted. Then God told me that 10% of every dollar that comes into my hand should go to him. At the time, I was receiving my spiritual food from several different sources, so he directed the disbursement of the tithe to these sources in appropiate portions.

Seven months have passed. In that time, God also revealed to me that some of my spending habits needed to change. The credit cards were put away, and through God, I received extra funds from unforeseen sources including a bonus from my employer. After tithing on these funds, I was instructed to use the balance to pay down my debt. The phone calls and dunning notices have stopped and the only harrassing mail I now receive are offers from credit card companies. I promptly throw them away.


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