I have just finished prayerfully reading Randy Alcorn’s The Treasure Principle. I am a single parent with three school-age children and have been both challenged and disturbed by it. My husband left us for an immoral lifestyle when they were very young. I am very troubled because I am aware that God is asking me to “lay up treasure in Heaven.” I am also aware that I have not done that, although I did tithe before alimony was cut. But also I accrued debt. This often was to live-sometimes the debt was to buy food. I have also made bad choices, such as using credit last Christmas to be able to give gifts to my children.
I used to home school my children, and have been able to instill in them a real knowledge of the Bible, and to give them a framework of truth in all that we learned, and I am grateful to God for that opportunity. They have been in school for the last two years, and I have been able to work, but have given up my job over the summer to be with them.
My heart is to give, I love God and am grateful for all He does for us—we would not have a vacation each year if it were not for our church. But I feel guilty that I desire to give to my children too, to provide them with sports or riding lessons-just things that most of their peers take for granted. Also, we are from another country, and the children would love to see their relatives. My guilt is intensified by the fact that I desire to provide them with these things, when God seems to be asking me to give more to Him. Can you give me some encouragement in this area?
You sound like a great mom who really desires to lead and train her children in the ways of the Lord. My heart goes out to you as you have to bear this responsibility without your husband’s help and support. But you can take comfort from God’s Word (I realize you are not a widow, but I think the same principles can apply here):
“The Lord watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.” Psalm 146:9
“The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead, even while she lives.” I Tim. 5:5-6
I think the reason you’re not experiencing peace in this situation is that God wants you to step out in faith and trust Him. You are facing a wonderful teaching opportunity for your children!
Malachi 3:10 says:
“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 you will not have room enough for it.’”
Luke 21:1-3 speaks of the poor widow who gave out of her poverty all that she had. God commended her for this because it was an example of her trust in Him to provide for her.
You say you want to provide for your children and give them gifts, etc. I would encourage you to give them spiritual provision they will be able to use all of their lives as they watch their mom step out in faith and trust God. They will watch and see how God provides. No, it won’t always be the way you’d like, but it will be faithfully what you need.
As long as you still use a credit card, you are relying on money that isn’t yours in the first place. I would strongly encourage you to destroy all credit cards, tithe on all income, and trust God to provide. He has promised he will and he is faithful. And ask Him to provide for you so you can give beyond the tithe, where the real giving starts.
You will be blessing your children in far greater ways than anything you could provide for them materially. They will learn to trust at a new level as they participate with you in laying up treasures in heaven.
I know this will be a great step of faith for you and can be rather scary. But Hebrews 11:6 says “And without faith it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
God bless you and your dear family.
For more information on this subject, see The Treasure Principle.
Kathy Norquist was Randy Alcorn’s Executive Assistant from 1997-2015, then worked in Ministry Development up until September 2018 when she retired. Kathy remains on the EPM Board of Directors.