by Mary Clarke
In the fall of 2011, I was struggling to get a job after a rather painful layoff. I accepted a position with a small company that provided accounting services to small businesses. I was thrilled until I took a look at their accounting methods. I was very concerned: not only were they relaxed in their accounting practices, but they were also breaking the law. I let them know that I would not participate, and they made some policy changes. That felt pretty good; somehow I was making a difference. During this same time I turned down an opportunity to work in public accounting (my ultimate career path) because I was afraid to step out in faith (it was only for a spring internship). What would I do once the internship ended? I had bills to pay, after all.
The position I was in began to get much worse once I discovered that they were robbing their clients’ accounts (retainer payments, really?) to pay their own payroll. I had to leave since I wouldn’t participate in their unethical and illegal acts. I also realized at that moment I had missed God’s call to “step out in faith” with that internship offer. I cried. I went to God in prayer and confessed my fears. I promised I would not make that mistake again, but I also figured it was an opportunity lost. It just so happened, as it usually does, that God was willing to give me a do-over, and I got a phone call from another CPA firm. Again I was asked to interview for an internship, but this time I put my faith in God that he already had me covered for when the internship ended. I interviewed for the position and to my surprise God had his own ideas. They offered me not an internship but a permanent position in their Tax Dept. Now how cool is that!! When I left the interview, I made a firm promise right then and there that I would put all my trust in God and “Step Out in Faith” (my new motto).
The next step in my journey came when God made it clear He wanted me to settle down into a church home and He wanted it to be St. David’s. I was done wandering. So I made it known that I wanted to become a member and what did I need to do? “Make your request, have your files sent over, and sign a pledge card.” Cool, I can do this. As I sat in the pew looking at the blank pledge card, the conversation went something like this:
“God, would you like me to pledge 2%, 3%, or 5% of my pay?” (I really did ask God to choose from one of three options, believe that?)
“God, did you hear me? Should I ask this a different way?”
more crickets chirping
“Oh my, God, did I really ask you to choose from one of my three options? I am so sorry. What ever happened to my stepping out in faith? I think the correct question is: how much would you like me to pledge?”
“WHAT? Are you serious? Did I hear you correctly? Did you say 10%?”
Just when I thought I had regained my composure I get one more notion.
“10% of my what? My gross?”
My head began to get light and the world began to spin. Did I hear this right? I must confess here that I had never in my life tithed, ever. As my head began to clear I also began to feel really good about all this. I quickly did the math in my head and God inspired me to create a plan of giving that just made my spirit soar. 5% to the church and the rest in a money market account that I have named “God’s Discretionary Fund.” This fund is to be spent as God inspires me to. Whatever is left when I die will be given to the church to be put in trust and used to continue to bless those after I’m gone. OMG, my spirit was on fire!!
The time came, and I wrote my first tithe check. I was so proud (never a good thing). Two days later my timing belt broke, and I had to empty my accounts to pay for it. I was left having to borrow to get by until my next paycheck. I was so full of fear that I was crying to God, asking how in the world I could tithe.
“God, now do you see why I don’t tithe? You never know what is going to happen, and I need to have money to cover these types of emergencies. I think this whole thing was a big mistake.”
The next morning while in prayer I apologized to God for my outburst and reminded myself of my motto. I only asked God to remove my fear, and I went about my day. When I arrived at work I saw that a person I recommended for a job was interviewing. One of the partners took me aside afterward and thanked me for the recommendation. They decided to hire her permanently and because of that they decided to give me an 11% pay raise. 11%!!! Do you believe that? I didn’t. It then hit me that this replaces the 10% tithe I pledged to God along with an additional 1% that makes up for the increase in the tithe. This now gave me money to put aside for emergencies.
Now that’s God in action!!