Brian of Tampa, Florida has everything he ever dreamed of: a happy marriage, a nice home, and a great career as a money manager. But he admits it took him longer than he wanted to get here. So one of the things he always tells people: don’t make the same mistakes he once did.
Brian explains, “I was trying to impress people that I didn’t even know, maybe didn’t like.”
For years, Brian lived the high-life. As a businessman, he had a solid income, but he was spending it faster than he was making it. At one point, he had to file for bankruptcy.
He confesses, “I wasn’t able to make all my bills. I overspent every single week. I was in a ton of credit card debt. I had student loans. So in 2006 I was walking home from a New Year’s Eve party just sick and tired of it, and I start crying. It was just, ‘I’m done.’”
He woke up the next day and knew it was time to re-evaluate his life.
He recalls, “I just remember that sun pouring into the windows, almost like saying it’s like God – heaven opening up and going ‘Look, I have something for you!’”
That week, Brian gave his life to Christ. He also decided to look at money from God’s perspective.
“I would honestly say that God spoke to me through my wallet,” he admits. “And the first thing that He did was say ‘Give.’ God owns it all, we’re managers of it. And He says in his word, in the Old and New Testament, that we’re called to be a giver and that we should give a tenth.”
At the time, Brian was $37,000 in debt. Still, Brian began tithing to his church. And when he started taking classes in money management, he came up with practical plan to pay off his debt.
He shares, “I learned that we should give first, save second, spend later. I started doing a budget, I started using cash. I had to say no to the – all the uh, all the trips I wanted to go on. I had to say no to all the eating out. I had to say no to all the ancillary spending uh just buying stuff because. Any new technology, I just couldn’t do it. I just kept uh focused on the goal.”
Through it all, he never stopped tithing. And within 14 months, his debt was gone!
“TITHING GOT ME OUT OF DEBT”
Brian proclaims, “I really believe tithing got me out of debt. Because He says He will protect those who uh who tithe.”
Brian wanted to teach others the benefit of giving, so he took a job as the stewardship director at church. Meanwhile, Brian met and married Becky. She too wanted to live debt-free – but now they had an expensive mortgage holding them back.
Becky says, “I just kept hearing ‘Get the house paid off.’”
So we came up with a little chart that said, ‘We owe $99,600’ and we wrote on the bottom of it ‘Lord, you are lord over our mortgage,’” Brian shares. He continues, “And then we wrote ‘Luke 18:27, Whatever is impossible with man is possible with God.’”
That’s when they say God told them how to pay off the mortgage. But it would require a step of faith.
Becky shares, “I said to Brian one day, ‘I feel like we’re supposed to give 10% of that up front.’”
Brian adds, “And so actually went to the prayer closet, if you will, and got on my knees and said, ‘God, what should we do?’ And He said, ‘Write the check.’”
So they gave $10,000 from their savings. After that, they followed a strict budget. Before long, Becky’s income doubled, and she got a promotion. Within a year, they paid off their house!
Brian says, “That’s God. That’s God saying, ‘I have more than enough for you. I told you I had something for you. Trust me.’ And man, He over-delivered.”
Today, Brian and Becky have two small children and have already started their college funds. They’re giving more than ever and continuing to see increases in their income. The couple encourages others to trust God with their money and give, too.
“There is financial reward that comes from it. We’ve experienced it, wholeheartedly,” Becky proclaims.
Brian concludes, “Money says a lot about who we are. You know? How we spend our money talks a lot about our character. Not how much, but the heart. The attitude of giving. And so you’ve got to start somewhere. Just give something.”