Rev. Brian Haggerty at The Rock Church in Bangor, Maine, included the following story in a recent message. I knew you’d want to hear it.
“I want to share a story with you about my Dad.
“My Dad was a hard-nosed, hard-working, blue-collared man. He had grown up in the Salvation Army with a godly mother and a lukewarm Christian father.
“In all his life, until he started taking his family to the Christian & Missionary Alliance Church in Houlton, Maine, my Dad had never heard any teaching about tithing (the practice of giving 10% of your income back to God). Then, Pastor Evans started a series of sermons about the Christian’s responsibility in his finances.
“On one of those Sundays, as they were riding home from church, Dad said to Mom, ‘I wish Evans would get off this tithing thing; there’s no way in the world that we could ever tithe.’
“My Mom, a quiet woman and not one to argue with my Dad, responded, ‘How do you know? You’ve never tried it.’ My Dad sputtered a few words about how much money he made and how many bills they had. My Mom never said another word.
“Well, my Dad got to thinking about what she had said. He mulled it over in his head all week, and then he announced:
“‘Ok, I’ll try tithing. All the money I have in the world is in our check book, and that is $237.13. I don’t have enough money coming in every week to pay my bills and pay a tithe, but just to prove that it can’t be done, I’ll take money from our checking account every week to pay the balance of the tithe. But I’ll tell you this: when that checking account gets down to zero, I won’t be paying a tithe any more, and I don’t want anybody talking to me ever again about tithing.’
“That week, after paying his bills, my Dad took the cash he had available for his tithe, making up the difference from his checking account. The next week he did the same, and the week after that, and the week after that. He watched his checking account go down, and down, and down. It got to the point where, in one more week, there wouldn’t be enough in the account to make up his tithe, and that was going to be it.
“That weekend, a twelve-inch water main blew wide open up in Paddy Holler. My Dad was in charge of the water and sewer department of the Houlton Water Company. He had to work all weekend to restore water to the east side of town. He worked Friday Night, all day Saturday, and most of Sunday to get service restored and the street ready for traffic, and all those hours were at time-and-a-half overtime.
“When my Dad deposited his check that week, he had a balance of over $500. He paid his tithe, and he never missed paying it again for the rest of his life. I believe he was 32 years old at the time this happened. He lived until he was 80.
“From that moment, as a young man, and until he died, God showed my dad favor. He had two supervisors during those years, and they both loved him and depended on him for his knowledge and experience in the water department. He continued to get pay raises for the rest of his working life: substantial raises, and not just those for the cost of living.
“My Dad retired early, at the age of 53. His boss begged him to stay, promising him more money. My Dad’s response was: ‘You don’t understand. My Dad died at the age of 55, and my brother died at 45. I figure I probably haven’t got a lot of time left, so I’m going to enjoy what time I do have.’
“One day, 20 years later, my Dad was routinely complaining about there being too much month at the end of the money (he was just like my grandmother in that respect). I thought to myself: Dad, you have no idea how blessed you are. Even after not working a minute for the last 20 years, your retirement check is more than my full-time paycheck.
“The point of this story?
“My Dad didn’t have a super amount of faith. He only tried the tithing thing to prove that he couldn’t do it. But God kept His Word when He said, ‘Test me in this, and see if I do not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.’ (Malachi 3:10)
“When that water main broke, God literally threw open the floodgates, displaying his greatness to my skeptical dad, and growing his faith in the process.”
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