In my first post of the year, 2007 In Focus, I wrote about a financial challenge that I am facing. Just before that, in Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, I wrote about my views on money. Last month, I left a comment in Steven’s blog questioning the link between our finances and our heart.

Two weekends ago, I made a financial commitment. Not on impulse but after much thought. By all natural reasoning it is foolishness; suicide. At first I didn’t feel safe enough to share it here as I felt it should be a matter between me and God alone. But at the same time, sharing it here will serve as a form of accountability. If it’s just between me and God, it is more convenient to shrink back when the pressure increases. The commitment I am talking about is the consecration of 10% or my gross income to God; what the Bible calls tithing.

I agree and believe wholeheartedly that tithing is not just a responsibility (as creatures of God) but also a privilege (as children of God). What I struggled with was the material blessings that comes from tithing, where the spiritual affects the natural; that God uses tithing as a tool to prosper us right here on earth, even though God did say, “test me in this, 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.” It’s context clearly suggests earthly, material blessings. In the end, I think it’s about trust. I didn’t really have the faith to believe that God would take care of all my financial needs, let alone multiply my seeds sown. I was afraid the remaining 90% will not be enough. In the past it was easier to tithe because there were reserves I could fall back on if I fall short. I didn’t realize then that I wasn’t trusting God to provide for my needs, I was trusting my bank account! Subconsciously I was thinking, if God doesn’t come through, there is backup…..and so save everyone the embarrassment. As long as I think I’m covered, I could tithe. That shouldn’t be! Tithing should be as much an act of faith (a reflection of our dependence on God as our provider) as it is an act of worship (honoring God with our wealth).

But this time I am going to run with God, even though it sounds CRAZY to the natural mind. There is no more backup this time. How my paycheck is going to stretch till the end of the month after 10% of it went to God last week, I have absolutely NO idea. How this is going to play out month after month, only God knows. If He doesn’t come through for me, by all natural reasoning and calculation, I should be in debt before the year is over. Actually, that was exactly “my financial forecast” this year by a local Feng Shui master. No, of course I DID NOT ASK for it to be read, God forbid! It was up on a big banner (kinda in-my-face) in a very public place during the recent Lunar New Year festivities. It is common for Feng Shui masters to give a general “prosperity forecast” of all the 12 Chinese zodiac signs. Mine was under the first Chinese zodiac of the Rat. To be exact, it said “many financial woes”. As if that is not enough, a co-worker forwarded me a list of the best and worst dates to start work in the new year. <roll eyes> That is the kind of obsession people have over here! Well you guessed it, I started on the worst possible day, completely ignoring the warning. So you see, even the “stars and elements” are against me!!

But you know what, to hell with them all! I am a child of the Most High God, Creator of the heavens and the earth and whatever elements within. He alone is the final authority in my life. Because the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall NOT be in want. He shall supply ALL my needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Because He is my helper, I will not be put to shame. A thousand (rats) may fall at my side and ten thousand more at my right hand, it shall not come near me. My barns will be filled to overflowing and my vats will brim over with new wine. If God is for me, who can be against me? Not any stars, nor moon, nor any created thing.

Do or die, I am going to trust my God this time.