This is the time of year when we usually sit down to do our taxes…never a fun thing of course. So what do taxes, finances, or money have to do with spiritual matters (which is usually what I write about)? Didn’t Jesus say “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s?” But it turns out if you look at the Bible, there is a lot to be said, both in the New and Old Testaments, about how we should view and handle money. You have probably heard of the “ten percent” rule when it comes to giving to the Lord, or tithing. This comes straight from the Bible: “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce.” (Prov. 3:9) and “A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord…every tenth animal that passes under the shepherd’s rod will be holy to the Lord. No one may pick out the good from the bad or make any substitution. These are the commands the Lord gave Moses at Mount Sinai for the Israelites.” (Lev. 27:30-34) I will be completely honest and admit it wasn’t until just yesterday I sat up and took notice of all of this (although my husband has suggested it more than once) finally realizing we should be—and are not—tithing ten percent of our income. It’s ironic because my sudden epiphany comes at a time when we are making less income than we have in years now that I quit my day job last year and am working full-time as an author. My spiritual awakening came as I was reading a little book sent to me free in the mail, apparently in return for a donation we made, by a church which we had attended with family at Christmastime. It’s “The Treasure Principals” by Randy Alcorn. It talks about how we will be richly rewarded if we give away our treasures (and a good beginning can be made by tithing.) The Bible also talks about this reward system: “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” (Malachi 3:8-10) I cracked the book open early Sunday morning and found my heart cracking open with it. We have been worried a lot the past few weeks about income running out, not being able to pay the bills, debt mounting, etc. And I read, “Ironically, many people can’t afford to give precisely because they’re not giving. (Haggai 9:11) If we pay our debt to God first, then we will incur His blessing to help us pay our debt to men. But when we rob God to pay men, we rob ourselves of God’s blessing.” It’s also ironic that just when you feel like your back is up against the wall and you face the most fear that’s when God usually steps in! So we tithed ten percent for the first time in church yesterday. I won’t test God on this. I’ll just see what happens. But I’m sure being obedient to Him certainly can’t hurt any!