Meandering - Sweet Pea


“Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” Malachi 3:10

My first car was a little green Volkswagen Beetle. I affectionately called it, "Sweet Pea." I had a part-time job in high school and I couldn’t wait to get my driver’s licence and purchase my own car. I have great memories of road trips with my friends, and washing lots of red mud off it after visiting Gina on PEI where, as a summer student, she worked at Rainbow Valley. One of the things I remember most, however, was how quickly the lustre of having my own wheels faded when I realized just how costly it was to maintain. 

It was also at that time, as I was growing in my walk with Christ, that I was being challenged about tithing. Tithing is a Biblical word that speaks of giving at least ten percent (a tithe) of your income (100% of which first came from God) to the ministry of the gospel, primarily through a local church. I, as a poor working student, protested. Not out loud, but inside I was thinking that surely God understands that I just couldn’t afford to do so. I had to pay for insurance, gas, car repairs, two snow scrapers to clear the inside of the Beetle’s windshield so I and my passengers could see where we were going! Thankfully God would not let me go on this. He was teaching me the importance of putting him first and trusting him to take care of me. I needed to learn the principle of Matthew 6:33 to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things (clothes, food, housing, transportation, etc) will be added to you.” It’s true, what we do with money says a lot about us. It reveals whether we worship and live for God or material things. 

I remember swallowing hard, and not being really happy in preparing to give my first tithe. Yet, I also recall a sense of God’s pleasure in my trusting him. When Sunday morning came, I was filled with joy as I gave my tithe and offering in worship. Then, not unlike many others who have since shared with me similar stories, God gave back to me in unexpected, abundant ways that far exceeded what I had given. This left no room for doubting the truth that God was teaching me, as seen in the words of Jesus in Luke 6:38“give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

It’s humbling to reflect on the memories and lessons gained from owning that little green VW Beetle. I was blessed to marry Gina, and we drove off on our honeymoon in a more respectable car - a VW Rabbit! In lean times and abundant times, putting God’s glory and kingdom first, trusting and obeying him in our giving, he has taught us that we could never out give him. He has never failed to graciously care and provide for us. 

“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-8

Thanks for meandering along with me,
Pastor Daniel