My nana’s name was Mary Elizabeth Kelley but she preferred to be called Betty. She was a single mother of three children. She had 2 boys (who were only 1 year apart from each other) and a little girl.
She was not a single mother by choice. My grandfather had passed away from health issues created by the war just 6 weeks before my mom was due to be born in 1952. This put my nana into the hardest point of her life. She was to raise 3 children all by herself and on one income.
This was not an easy feat then nor is it now in 2018. However, she would work full time and then come home to three children who also needed her full time attention. She would work, they would go to school, and on Sundays they would get dressed up for church. They attended the same church that I was baptized, confirmed, and married in…St. Johns Lutheran church in Lindenhurst NY.
Every Sunday, the gold offering plate would be passed around. People would watch and see who put money in as if they had a right to judge what God had supplied them with to give. My nana, a hard working widow, would put a little bit in with a heavy heart, wishing she could give more and knowing her pastor thought she should also do the same.
I believe Jesus thought differently.
I know He saw her heart and knew she gave her all. After all, it is written in scripture to prove my exact point in her exact circumstances.
“Jesus sat down opposite the palace where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said ‘truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything-all she had to live on.” Mark 12: 41-44
My nana struggled through life but I can still hear her giggle. It made her strong. And because of her faithfulness in doing as God called; He blessed her.
One example was on December 22, 1954, my mom wasn’t quite 2 years old yet, Nana received a letter in the mail. It was from the hospital, so I am sure that her heart sank knowing she had a debt for her little girl that she simply could not pay because it would mean not having food on the table.
I can imagine humble tears coming to her face as she began to read the letter. The letter began with the hospital making note of her debt, then acknowledging her situation, and ending with them telling her that her debt was cancelled in order for them to have a “Merrier Christmas and a much Happier New Year.” The payment was $70 and her balance was now $0.
“The matter of your giving is between you and God, and He always takes into account our circumstances. He knows when they are beyond our power to direct and control. The important thing is that we see giving as a privilege and not a burden. It should not be out of a sense of duty, but rather out of love for the Lord and a desire to see His kingdom advanced.” Billy Graham
Oh how I love to see God’s kingdom advance and imagine the angels singing for joy every time we obey because that brings us one step closer to the Lord.
“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21
We work hard every day.
I am currently a stay-at-home mom, but I also help my husband with his electrical business. I love to help where I can in the ministry. Many of you (or a family member) drive to work every day, work as hard as we can, and then come home exhausted. We do this every day, week, and year after year. On Fridays, we can take a deep breath as our paycheck is put into the bank account.
But, as I am sure your family is the same as mine, in an instant, the money is gone. It is handed out to the grocery bill, the electric bill, the gas tank, the phone bill, countless cups of coffee, and occasionally on a night out. All in all, the money is being invested into your family, as mundane as it may seem.
Don’t you wish the money could be spent on your wildest dreams? Well, what if that… just maybe it can?
Have you noticed that as you read scripture, God changes your heart?
If not, I am going to challenge you to take just 10 minutes every day to focus even on just one verse in the Bible. As your heart changes, you will notice that your dreams change.
I use to dream about having a big house, the newest car, and my own daycare. Yes, the day care was supposed to be a Christian one so I could be a part of raising God’s army. But, that has changed over the past two years.
I have made it a point to read scripture, to surround myself around lovely Christian ladies, and to focus on women’s ministry. Through that, my heart has changed and so has my dream.
If I were to look inside of myself, my dream would be found right where my heart is and God says your treasure is where your heart is. This means to invest in where you want to see grow.
I think the word invest is an important word. It means “expand money with the expectation of achieving a profit or material result by putting it into financial schemes, shares, or property, or by using it to develop a commercial venture”.
As you participate in God’s plan for this, you will see the fruit grow as God wills and it is so exciting to be a witness to this.
It is human nature to ask why we need to do this.
It is a good thing we have God’s word because he tells us exactly why this is so important. The Lord has given us the ability and the talents to perform and earn a living. We are to give back to Him a portion of what He has given us. In doing so, we are showing that we trust the Lord with our possessions.
The next question would be, where do we give our tithe and offering too?
The Romans would tell you the church. Others will tell you to give to where your heart tells you. And the rest will say not to even give at all.
“But you are to seek the place the Lord your God will choose from among all your tribes to put his Name there for his dwelling. To that place you must go; there bring burnt offerings and sacrifices, your tithes, and special gifts, what you have vowed to give and your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks.” Deuteronomy 12:5- 7
These verses say to give your talents, time, and finances to where you hear God telling you that He is working.
The first part of the verse says “You are to seek…” This means prayer and watching where God is working and noticing if the organization is keeping to how the Lord works.
As it says in scripture, “God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.” It is our duty to know God’s heart by studying scripture and helping to advance the kingdom of the Lord with our tithes and offerings where we see the Lord working and where the Holy Spirit is thriving.
“Because money comes from God, one should strive to use it wisely and in a way that honors God. By giving to God’s work through tithing, one can give back to God a portion of what He has already given us.” Billy Graham
“That’s what this whole business of tithing is really all about. We give to God as a thanksgiving for all we have been given, and we rejoice. Remember that connection between giving thanks and rejoicing? It’s here, too. Tithing is a physical act of thanksgiving, a tangible reminder of our gratitude to God”. Beth Moore
Deuteronomy speaks of the tithe, offering, and vow.
“Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops.” Proverbs 3:9
Malachi 3:8 says God feels as though He is robbed if we do not obey his command. I don’t know about you, but knowing that God has given Himself for us and surrounds us with grace and mercy, I want no part of the Lord feeling as though I have robbed him. In fact, it is my interest to fully show God that I am invested in His kingdom and as of right now, for me, His women. I can do this by choosing to tithe to a chosen ministry or to give as an offering.
What is an offering? Joyce Meyers says “anything given above the tithe is an offering.” It is God’s intention for us to make this Vow, also known as a promise, to obey His word.
2 Corinthians 9:6-15 summarizes all of this perfectly as only God’s word can.
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
As it is written:
‘They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.’
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”
Kellie has been married for 16 years to her husband, Kevin. Together they have three children and she has a step-son (who lives with his mom). They have moved around the country many times and are finally growing their roots in their small town.
Kellie’s faith in God is extremely important to her. She has been through many mountains and valleys and the Lord has gotten her through. She loves to ride her bike, write, watch movies, and is very involved in her children’s lives. Being a Mom is her favorite role in life. She values her faith, family, love, and friendships.