Michele was a single, highly educated sales rep in the chemistry industry, earning well over six figures, with all the creature comforts that came with it—the posh apartment, the Mercedes Benz, the beautiful clothes—and she was not even thirty years old. Sure, she knew she was probably spending a little more than her paychecks could cover, but with her ability to earn only showing signs of increasing, there was nothing to be concerned about.
But that’s where the problem began—that, and the fact that her company decided to yank away a giant portion of her territory. Angry that her company had done her wrong, she took a stand, and promptly quit.
Soon after, she decided to pull all of her bills and bank accounts together to review her financial situation.
“You have got to be kidding me?” she said to herself. “I’m $50,000 in debt?”
With no income, bills galore, and a massive amount of debt, she could hardly wrap her head around where she found herself. The girl on her way up suddenly had to figure out how to scale her life down.
She had heard that Rock Financial Life (RFL) classes could teach her not only about God’s way to handle money, but also, how to get herself out of debt. It could not begin fast enough. She took the class and embraced the principles, not only as a way out of trouble, but as a way to conduct her life. For the first time, she gained the perspective that her money was not hers, but God’s, and because it was—everything about the way she spent had to change.
“I wanted our lives to be marked by faith in a God that was good to His promises, and not by a number.”
In two year’s time, using the principles she learned at RFL, she reduced her debt by $36,000. It was great news, but it wasn’t enough. She was about to get married to her boyfriend, James, and desperately didn’t want to stick him with the remaining debt of $14,000.
James didn’t like how the debt weighed down his wife-to-be, so he dipped into his savings, wiped it out completely to start life together clean. As a former atheist and now a new Christian, James was embracing all of the new perspectives that life in Christ had to offer. When Michele mentioned that she thought it was an imperative that as a married couple they should tithe, James was all in.
But, they agreed on one thing—they wanted to give more than 10%.
“We just knew that if we really wanted to see God work in our lives, then we didn’t want to feel restricted by anything that resembled a ceiling,” recalls Michele. “I wanted our lives to be marked by faith in a God that was good to His promises, and not by a number.”
And so, in 2012, they decided that they would tithe 12% of their income and increase that tithe by 1% every year for the rest of their lives. The result has been a remarkable life change.
“Life has become a crazy cycle of giving and getting and giving again,” says Michele. “God has poured out His blessings on us, filling our bank accounts, our 401(k)s, our investments, and in turn, we have the joy of finding new ways of blessing others with our abundance.”
“Generosity and good stewardship has become a way of life”
“Generosity and good stewardship has become a way of life,” offers James. “It’s even become fun to see God seemingly respond to our desire to give to Him. All we are doing is trying to honor God with His money, and He keeps blessing us with more.”
On one occasion, they even tithed on an investment before receiving the return. And it wasn’t even a tithe against the amount they expected to receive. It was a tithe against the full investment and the expected return.
And where did they send the money? “We wired it to an orphanage in Uganda. The next day, we heard that the night before receiving the gift, everybody who worked at the orphanage were on their knees praying for a financial gift to fulfill a dire need. The amount that we sent was the exact amount they needed,” says Michele, still wide-eyed about it. “If we get to see miracles like that, why wouldn’t we want to continue giving more and more?”
“If we get to see miracles like that, why wouldn’t we want to continue giving more and more?”
As a young couple, they fully realize that their plan to tithe each year could go on for years, impacting a giant percentage of their income—somewhere in the neighborhood of fifty to sixty percent, if they live long lives. “We’re pretty thrilled about the future, not because we are going to have more money, but because we’ll be able to give more money,” continues Michele. “We just moved our percentage up to fifteen on January 1st. We are on our way, and we’re so excited.”