Dr. Russell Conwell one night at a prayer meeting asked if there were any tithers present who had tithed through a series of years. Seven people stood up. He asked for a testimony from each one of them in emphasis of the fact of God's faithfulness in blessing them. Six gave radiant testimonies of blessings received. The seventh was a frail, gray-haired woman, who spoke with much reluctance: "I wish I could bear such testimony, but I cannot. I have skimped and saved and denied myself through the years to keep a vow made to tithe my income. But now I am old and I am losing my position. I have no means of support. I do not know what I shall do." She sat down, and the meeting was closed in the midst of a profound and distressing chill. Next day Dr. Conwell had an invitation from Mr. John Wanamaker to dine with him. At the table Mr. Wanamaker said: "I think you will be interested to know that we are about to inaugurate a pension system for our employees. The plan has been worked out, and we are to issue our first life pension today to a woman who has served us for twenty-five years." He mentioned her name, and it was that of the woman who had given the pessimistic testimony the night before!—Herald of Holiness.
In recognizing the duty of tithe-giving, when one's income is limited and one's personal and family needs are great, it is essential to recognize the supernatural element in God's providential care of his children. If a Christian man has an income large enough to supply all his needs without difficulty, there is neither shadow of excuse nor show of decency in his failure to pay over one-tenth of it to the Lord. But when one feels the pinch of poverty every day of his life, then it is important that he should bear in mind that 9 cents will go farther than 10 cents would go and that $9 will go farther than $10 would go in providing for himself and his loved ones, when that other cent or that other dollar has been paid to the Lord, who claims it as His own. There is no mistake about this to him who has faith. Every child of God who has rested on this truth has found it to be a source of unfailing dependence. Only those disbelieve it who have never trusted God enough to try it even as an experiment. It is with individuals as it is with churches in this matter. Neither their troubles nor their doubts ever come from their giving too freely of their substance to the Lord.—The late Henry Clay Trumbull, founder of the Sunday School Times.
A. A. Hyde, a millionaire manufacturer, said he began tithing when he was one hundred thousand dollars in debt. Many men have said they consider it dishonest to give God a tenth of their incomes when they were in debt. Mr. Hyde said he agreed with that thought until one day it flashed upon him that God was his first creditor. Then he began to pay God first and all the other creditors were eventually paid in full. If a man owes you money, it would be wise business policy on your part to encourage him to pay his debt to God first.—Sunday School Times.
Some years ago I met a godly Baptist layman in South Carolina who was secretary and treasurer of a large cotton mill corporation. One day he told me: "Years ago when my children were small, my salary was too small for my actual needs. Strive as I would I could not keep out of debt. This became a heavy cross to me, and one night I was unable to sleep. I arose and went to my desk and spent a season in prayer to God for help and guidance. Then I took a pen and paper and wrote out a solemn contract with my heavenly Father. I promised Him that no matter what testings or trials came I would never turn back. Also that no matter how pressing were my obligations I would scrupulously tithe my income. Next I promised the Lord that if He would let me make a certain salary I would pay two-tenths, then if I made a certain larger salary would pay three-tenths. Finally I named a larger salary, which was far beyond anything I had ever hoped to earn, and told the Lord that if I ever reached such a salary I would give Him one-half of my income." Then the old gentleman smiled, and tears came into his eyes as he said, "Brother Browning, for many years it has been my privilege to give one-half of my income to the Lord.' I do not know whether or not good stewards will get good salaries or a very meager living, but I do know there is a Bible prosperity and Bible success that every good steward can obtain.—Sunday School Times.
Many years ago a lad of sixteen years left home to seek his fortune. All his worldly possessions were tied in a bundle, which he carried in his hand. As he trudged along he met an old neighbor, the captain of a canal boat, and the following conversation took place, which changed the whole current of the boy's life:
"Well, William, where are you going?"
"I don't know," he answered, "Father is too poor to keep me at home any longer and says I must now make a living for myself."
"There's no trouble about that," said the captain. "Be sure you start right, and you'll get along finely."
William told his friend that the only trade he knew anything about was soap and candle making, at which he had helped his father while at home.
"Well," said the old man, "let me pray with you once more, and give you a little advice, and then I will let you go."
They both knelt down upon the towpath; the dear old man prayed earnestly for William and then gave this advice: "Someone soon will be the leading soapmaker in New York. It can be you as well as anyone. I hope it may. Be a good man; give your heart to Christ; pay the Lord all that belongs to Him of every dollar you earn; make an honest soap; give a full pound, and I am certain that you will be a prosperous and rich man."
When the boy arrived in the city, he found it hard to get work. Lonesome and far from home, he remembered his mother's words and the last words of the canal boat captain. He was then led to "seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness," and united with the church. He remembered his promise to the old captain, and the first dollar he earned brought up the question of the Lord's part. In the Bible he found that the Jews were commanded to give one-tenth; so he said, "If the Lord will take one-tenth, I will give that."
Having regular employment, he soon became a partner. After a few year; his partner died, and William became the sole owner of the business.
He now resolved to keep his promise to the old captain; he made an honest soap gave a full pound, and instructed his bookkeeper to open an account with the Lord, and carry one-tenth of all his income to that account. He prospered; his business grew; his family was blessed; his soap sold, and he grew rich faster than he had ever hoped. He then gave two-tenths; prospered more than ever; then he gave three-tenths; then four-tenths; then five-tenths.
He educated his family; settled all his plans for life; and gave all his income to the Lord's work. He prospered more than ever. This is the story of Colgate, who has given millions of dollars to the Lord's cause, and left a name that will never die.—Wayne Wiman, in Cumberland Presbyterian.