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God's Math: Right on time

By Roscoe J. Howard, III

It was out first month of marriage, and we were filled with wide-eyed zeal and love for the church. I was not yet employed, and my wife was also looking for a job. In two weeks, I had an interview with the conference president—perhaps to be hired as a ministerial intern. We were living off our wedding present money.

That money was running out, and we still had a week and three days until the interview. In fact, all the money we had left was our tithe and offerings. On Friday afternoon, with our food supply almost exhausted and our rent due the day after the interview, I found it very tempting to use that tithe money for more tangible needs. I tried to reason with my wife that God would understand and that He didn’t want us to starve or be street people. And who knew if we would even get a job? We could pay back the tithe when we got hired.

In her quiet and unassuming way, she looked at me and said, “We must trust God and return to Him what is His.” I remembered how I had spent my tithe when I was in college and how I had regretted it. Somehow I never got around to paying it back because another emergency would always seem to pop up.

Sabbath morning I finally resolved that I didn’t want to repeat the mistakes of the past. But I watched with longing eyes as our tithe envelope traveled to the front of the church, to be sung and prayed over, and then consigned to the church treasurer’s office. On the way home from church, I couldn’t stop worrying about what we would do that week without money, food, or a job.

While entering our little apartment, I noticed a large brown envelope stuffed into our mailbox. We assumed it was some belated wedding pictures. We opened the envelope and poured the contents onto the bed. A heap of dead presidents’ pictures stared up at us. My wife’s mother had sent us 25 belated wedding cards filled with cash. Hallelujah! We paid our rent, bought food, returned our tithe and a thank offering, and got hired two weeks later.

“And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.” Isaiah 65:24