when i found out we weren't going to get paid for like, three extra weeks, i paid our tithing.
we are terrible crap at paying tithing consistently. i am vigilant about deducting it, and it never gets spent on anything else, but i never have a checkbook at church and i am usually running here there and everywhere and insert relevant excuse here. they're reasons, not excuses, but they don't make it better.
so we had a pretty sizable sum to pay when i wrote the check. the amount made me think i really needed to get on a better, more consistent system of payment.
i usually go through this process when i find myself in potential financial...pressure (not crisis, not bind, just...stress). i pay my tithing straightaway. this time, i tried to identify and to think about why i do that and why it works for me. obviously, it's because i have a testimony of the principle of tithing, as well as a testimony of the principle of obedience: that when you do what He asks, the Lord will bless you.
but i don't do it only for blessings. when i forked over the sum that i had been holding on to for too long (and forked sounds like it was hesitant, which it was not--maybe a better term is submitted, for many reasons), i did it because i didn't want to mess up. i didn't want, for one little minute, for there to be any thinking that maybe that money could be "borrowed" for a little while until i got it back, or that it would be my buffer just in case.
it's not my money. it's the Lord's. i wanted it out of my hands and into the hands of an agent who had no potential temptation to use it for something else.
and in the moment when i did it, i was relieved. not stressed, but relieved. because, though i certainly didn't expect a windfall of money to arrive on our doorstep, i knew that the act of obedience would ensure that we would have sufficient for our needs. and we did. we weathered the financial pressure with grace. and it turns out that i actually got paid from one of my jobs on the 15th and didn't even realize it.
so i had a buffer, but it wasn't the Lord's money. and things started lasting longer: like printer ink and gas and goldfish and sour cream. things that might have gone bad, like milk, stayed good for much longer than i thought it would. and i remembered that, hey, i can actually go without things and when i can't, i can be wise about how to best spend money.
and when i looked online and saw that i was getting paid a pretty hefty sum from collegetown u on friday, a great big sigh of relief and gratitude filled my heart.
i didn't do it for those blessings. i did it because it was right and it was His. but i knew that the law is irrevocably decreed--when you obey, you are blessed. maybe blessings are an okay reason to obey, so long as you are obeying. but i worry about myself when i get into a mindset of "if i do this, i will get this." i don't know the Lord's will. perhaps His will for me was to figure out how to make a week's worth of groceries last three. i don't know. i can't sit and expect that He will tell me His plans for me, down to the minutia. i know better than that, so i don't ask. i just try to do the right things, sometimes unfortunately delayed by my own innate humanity, and hope that it's enough of an acceptable offering.
and every time i do, with that attitude of submission, the reality of His love is confirmed to me. how much He is anxious to bless us is confirmed to me. when we love Him, and show it, all is well. all He asks us to do is trust Him, trust His ways, and exercise a little bit of faith and self-control. when we do?
we are happy.