A few weeks ago, I was paying my church tithes and offerings when I remembered I had $10 extra in my bank account from selling an item online. Since I obviously didn't need it (or I wouldn't have forgotten about it), I decided to add it to my normal fast offering contribution.
For those who don't know, the LDS Church requires its members to donate 10 percent of their income (tithing) to fund the operational and material costs of the church. It also requires members to donate a personally-decided amount to the fast offering fund, which is used to help the needy. This amount can be whatever you would like, but our leaders counsel us to be generous.
As I chose to part with this extra $10 -- not a significant amount, but cash nonetheless -- this scripture in Malachi chapter 3 came to my mind:
"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
In a somewhat childish move, I then decided to "prove" the Lord. I distinctly prayed He would show me the blessings as promised. I submitted the extra amount along with my regular donation and went on my merry way. Would I be blessed in an obvious fashion? I was now on the look-out for financial blessings.
Turns out, God can be pretty quick to respond in situations like this. Two days later, I checked the mail. One letter was a reimbursement check from Dillon's company for over $50. It had been months since the reimbursement request was issued and Dillon had forgotten about it. He wasn't even sure if it would be approved.
I then recalled my little test and realized this was it! Fifty dollars! A 500 percent increase on my fast offering, I thought. But it didn't stop there.
There was another letter from our cable company. It stated they had noticed a discrepancy in our bills and investigated it to find they had overcharged us. They credited the overage amount to our account and apologized for the mistake. It was a little more than $10.
Whoa, sixty dollars! I thought. The Lord took my meager amount and increased it by 600 percent. I truly had been blessed. I rejoiced in gratitude. I told the story to my family. It was a confirmation of testimony for me. The Lord had proven Himself to me as I acted in faith.
Fast forward to today. I was looking through my bank account when I noticed my auto insurance hadn't yet been withdrawn for the month, and it was a few days past the normal withdrawal date. I called my insurance company, thinking I must have made some kind of error and needed to fix it. After holding for several minutes, the representative returned to tell me they had adjusted my account during the year at some point, and that amount had already been paid. I would not have to pay for November's car insurance.
That's $108 ... bringing the grand blessing total to $168.
A 1,680-percent increase on my original "investment" to the Lord. Now, that's a serious ROI if I ever did see one.
Some may chalk it all up to good luck or even stupidity on my part. Shouldn't I have known I was overpaying on my cable and insurance bills? Shouldn't Dillon have remembered that reimbursement check? Yes, we should have. But we didn't.
And actually, if I'm being honest, happy little blessings like this show up in my life quite often. But that day, I specifically asked God to prove Himself, and He did. He proved that He has been blessing me all along by calling these little incidents to my attention. Incidents I may have overlooked before. In fact, I might have even been bothered by them, wishing the extra cash had been more, ungrateful for the unexpected blessing I received.
My prayer that day changed my whole perspective. It was an act of faith and obedience. It altered my mindset from ungrateful demanding to one of hopeful expectancy. When the blessings arrived, they were met with gratitude and humility.
I share this experience not to brag or propose any expected financial gain for paying an honest tithe and a generous fast offering, but to acknowledge that the Lord is mindful of me. He heard my prayer and answered me, and He will do the same for you. He loves me and you and stands ready to bless us when we test Him. Are we as eager to obey as He is to reward us?