The Checkbook, the Cliff, and the Catch :)
When I was a young adult my father gave me “the talk” — no, not that one! :) The financial talk: “Kris, you have to learn how to manage your money. Budgeting is important; not only to make certain your bills get paid on time, but to also build up savings for emergencies. And don’t forget to give 10% back to the Lord for all he’s done for you so He can bless others through you.”
Great advice, but just like a typical young adult I only applied the parts of his advice I agreed with. Throughout my 20’s I paid my current bills first and forecasted the next set of bills, making sure there was enough in my checkbook to cover both. And if there was anything left over, then and only then would the Lord get His cut. Putting money away into savings wasn’t even a line item.
Somewhere in my early 30’s the Holy Spirit began to gently and lovingly say to me: “Kris, you say you trust Me and yet you continue to make financial decisions out of your fear of not having enough money. When will you choose to begin tithing so you can bless others and trust that I’ll take care of your bills regardless of what your checkbook says?” Part of me wanted to trust the Lord, but I wasn’t ready yet.
Fear of not having enough money continued to rear it’s ugly head so I continued the same routine paycheck after paycheck. Then one day I felt totally convicted and couldn’t ignore the Holy Spirit any longer. I took out my checkbook and made the choice to “jump off a financial cliff” by giving the Lord His 10% BEFORE paying my bills, hoping He would “catch me” by providing additional income to cover the next set of bills I would’ve normally paid with His 10%.
The moment I put the pen to the check I was filled with anxiety, and with every stroke of my pen writing out the dollar amount, I held my breath. I wasn’t going to church for 3 days so I had plenty of time to change my mind….and I did many times. But each time I reached for the check to rip it up, the Holy Spirit once again lovingly reminded me that my integrity was at stake: Either I trusted Him or I didn’t. Remaining on the fence was no longer an option.
I brought the check to church on Sunday, and considered letting the offering plate pass by me one more time. However, I knew that if I did not follow through, I would be dishonoring the Lord by not giving Him a chance to prove His trustworthiness. So I dropped the check in the offering plate and watched it move out of sight. When I got home I checked my calendar to see how many days I had before the next set of bills were due, and did my best to manage the anxiety dwelling within me.
A few days went by, and then a few more with no indication of how those bills would get paid. I began questioning the Lord about my decision to give Him his cut first and reminded Him of my bill due dates, sarcastically laughing at myself for acting as if He didn’t know when they were. Several more days went by with anxiety being a constant companion.
As I got home from work the next day I grabbed my mail and began sorting out the junk mail from the bills, catching a glance of a check from inside one of the envelopes. I froze, put down the rest of the mail, and opened the envelope. I gasped when I saw an unexpected refund that totaled more than the 10% I had given to the Lord earlier that month. That check arrived with just enough time for it to clear to pay the bills I was stressing over since I dropped my tithe check in the offering plate.
I looked up and asked the Lord to forgive me for ever doubting Him. That experience began a complete shift in my mindset and financial priorities. From that point forward I committed to give the Lord a minimum of 10% of every dollar I made and PAY HIM FIRST before all my other bills. I’ve never regretted that decision, regardless of the financial challenges I’ve had since then.
And now here’s the BEST part…..two decades after that experience the Lord has shifted my mindset and financial priorities again to an even deeper level of faith: Whenever I sense the Lord giving me a new opportunity to bless someone by re-directing part of my income to a non-profit, a friend, a stranger, or ANYTHING – even if I’ve already given Him my tithe – I choose not to stress about it and assume He’ll cover the financial gap in His perfect way (FYI, “choosing not to stress” means that when anxiety does show up – after all, I am human! – I rebuke it and quickly declare the truth of the Lord’s provision to avoid giving the enemy a foothold to steal my joy with regards to being a blessing to someone else).
Now don’t get me wrong….for large amounts of money, I do take the time to prayerfully make sure I heard Him correctly; but for smaller amounts, I just hand over my credit card, cash or whatever it is and smile. I’ve also had situations where I wanted to give, but when I checked in with the Lord it became clear that He appreciated my heart, but had other plans for my finances and would provide that blessing to that person another way.
In either case, as long as I am being obedient to the Lord with my decision (saying “yes” or “no” as He leads rather than what my checkbook says), I know I am stepping into a spiritual certainty laid out long ago in Proverbs 3:9-10, “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.”
The Lord’s bank account has unlimited funding and His storehouse has unlimited resources. In His Kingdom economy, paying a $50 bill is just as easy as paying a $500,000 bill. Never forget that!
EVERYTHING we have is the Lord’s gift to us, and in essence all we are doing is stewarding those gifts for Him. As Stewards, He owns it and has the right to re-direct ALL our finances and ALL our “stuff” to anyone HE chooses at ANY TIME He wants to. When we remember that, it’s easier to give and give generously however the Lord leads because our security rests in HIM not in our “stuff.”
I lovingly challenge you today to stop making your financial giving decisions based on what’s in your bank account or the bills coming your way. That mindset is grounded in scarcity and fear.
Instead, choose a Kingdom economy mindset of abundance. Because if the Lord wants you to give your money or something else you own to someone else, He’s bound by His covenant to you to provide what you need in its place.
So the next time an opportunity to financially bless someone crosses your path, choose to step into a Kingdom Economy mindset and don’t even look at your checkbook or consider your bills. Take time out of your schedule to learn more about it so you can prayerfully ask the Lord what He wants you to do.
And if you sense the Lord asking you to re-direct your finances – even though there’s no foreseeable margin to do so – just say “yes” to Him, choose to give with a cheerful heart (2 Corinthians 9:7), then grab your checkbook, stand on your financial cliff, and jump off with confidence….trusting He’ll catch you just like He caught me.
Boldly step into the spiritual blessings the Lord promises throughout the Bible whenever you do what He asks of you.
YOU CAN’T OUT GIVE THE LORD! Try it, and watch the Lord show up and show off to prove it!
I’d love to hear your giving stories of the Lord’s faithfulness to your obedience in situations where there was no natural way to “cover” the gap when giving it. Feel free to share them below. Blessings to you! :) ~Kris
About Kris Castro:
Kris Castro is passionate about making a difference in the lives of those around her by giving them hope, encouraging them in their challenging circumstances, and helping them transform their relationship with the Lord in a deeper way. She describes herself as a Faithful Warrior, an Inspiring Visionary, and a Bold Change-Agent after 50 years of walking with the Lord through both joyful and extremely difficult seasons of her life.
Kris creates possibility-rich environments filled with laughter, encouragement, and affirmation, leading to endless personal and professional growth opportunities to help others truly realize their identity in Messiah, achieve the destiny the Lord desired for their lives, enhance their potential, increase their confidence levels, and overcome obstacles more easily to achieve their heart’s desire in every area. She absolutely loves coaching, training and mentoring others in a deeply transformative way using the Holy Spirit her guide.