God has gifts for those prepared to receive them
I learned to tithe 40 years ago.
I was desperately broke at the time, and it seemed that wherever I went to church, the preacher talked about giving. I began to listen and started to give. My first contribution was 5 percent of my income. I felt pretty good about that until I learned that tithe meant 10 percent.
I got my courage up and gave 10 percent of my take-home pay one Sunday. Nothing good or bad seemed to happen, but I continued to give that amount every week until I heard a preacher ask if I wanted to be blessed on my gross or net income. You already know that answer.
My economics gradually improved in those years, and I moved to California from the East Coast in 1978. I started attending a church there where the pastor taught about the value of being a giving man, a giving woman. I heard his words and decided I wanted to be a giving man. I soon added the line "Make me a giving man" to my daily prayer litany.
One day I heard the Lord say, "Do you really want to be a giving man?" I said yes, and then he suggested that I up my giving to 15 percent of my income. I thought about that and did what he suggested. After a few weeks, I told the Lord that I liked giving that much money. It made me feel good. The Lord was pleased and said, "Since you like that, why not give 20 percent?"
Man-oh-dear, I thought, 20 percent -- that's a lot of money. Nonetheless, I was obedient and upped my giving to that level. I had a friend named Chuck who pastored a church in the next town, and one day I told him what I was doing. He suggested that I ask God to make me a receiving man as part of my daily prayers. I did not take his suggestion kindly. I was too noble, too fine and too sincere to ask God for this. Chuck was not impressed with my protests.
One morning I began to ask that God would make me a receiving man, and God has continuously answered that prayer for nearly a quarter of a century. I am so thankful that Chuck gave me that advice. Since I began that prayer, God has undergirded our finances and provided for us so that we can respond to the leanings and leadings that come to us.
This is the season for thanksgiving. I send my thanks to Chuck, who told me to ask God to make me a receiving man. I want you to do the same. Begin your days with the request "God, would make you me a receiving man, a receiving woman?" If you do that, you will become thankful and be thanked as you have the wherewithal to give freely.
Imagine how life would be if God blessed you abundantly. You can have that life. All you have to do is ask, "God would you make me a receiving person?" and He will move in the heavens to do just that. Then it will be Thanksgiving Day every day.
The Rev. Murray Hohns is an associate pastor of New Hope Christian Fellowship and an engineer.