Try the Tithe: Dan’s Story

March 11, 2014


As you know we have challenged everyone at New Life to “Try the Tithe” for the month of March. This means we are asking you to put God first by giving your first 10% to Him. We know for many this is scary and for others it means real sacrifice. Why do we challenge people in this way? Because we believe demonstrating God’s priority in your finances will change you and draw you closer to Him. Dan Heebner certainly felt that way when he started giving to God as a result of our challenge last year.  Here is his story…

Dan HeebnerIt was a real step in faith for me. But I gave, and it was a huge blessing! God opened up my heart through giving again, and I’m understanding now that tithing is not so much about the amount, but its about who you are putting your trust in for your provision.

My story is more about the giving out of what little I had, in faith, than about giving because I’ve had more than enough.

In the beginning of 2012 I was laid off after 7 years working in a job I loved with a great salary.  This was down in Virginia Beach, and I thought I would stay with this company until I retired, but one day the CEO met with me and told me they were laying off a couple hundred people, including me.

This rocked my world; I really depended on that company and that job, and to be honest it was part of my identity.

God blessed me with a new job soon after I was laid off, but the pay was much less, and it didn’t have benefits.  I have a family so medical, dental and vision benefits are very important.  So I was stretched financially, to say the least.  Also, my wife and I are not together, so I also fully support two households.

I ended up moving to Centreville for a position with a DOD contractor based in Sterling that offered great benefits and a stable work environment.  And I do have family up here, so I could stay with my brother.  The salary was still much lower than I was making back in 2012, but at least I was working and I had great benefits.

Then I started attending Celebrate Recovery on Friday nights at New Life, and decided to attend a service the following Sunday.  That was about a year ago and that Sunday Brett was talking about tithing.  I grew up in the church so I’ve heard lots of teaching on tithing and was a tither in the past.  However, when I was laid off, I had stopped tithing.  My thought was that I was in the negative financially, I couldn’t “afford” to give.  There were times when I couldn’t even buy enough food or would be short on gas money to get to my job.  My brother was already supporting my living situation, so I always felt ashamed to ask him for money for food or gas.

After listening to the sermon, I gave it a lot of thought, and opened up to giving again.  The difference was in the past I gave out of the extra I had, but this time I didn’t have extra, I was in need.  I kept thinking about the widow who gave just a few pennies, but she had very little, so it was a lot to her.  There were times when I gave on Sunday that I knew I may not have enough for food or gas money the next week.  It was a real step in faith for me.  But I gave, and it was a huge blessing!  God opened up my heart through giving again, and I’m understanding now that tithing is not so much about the amount, but its about who you are putting your trust in for your provision.  I started reading a lot in Matthew about God’s provision and His way of providing.  There is so much in there encouraging us to stop worrying about tomorrow, and  trust in the one True Provider, Jesus!!  I was quite the worrier and I get a lot of anxiety about finances and how I’m going to support my family.  But through this all God has been very faithful.  I always had enough to eat, I always had enough gas money, and now I’m understanding more and more that God used the tithe to bring me back to Him.  I also started to give of my time to the church.  I serve coffee on Sunday mornings as well as helping with set up and leading small groups in Celebrate Recovery.  Giving of my time has encouraged and blessed me so much, I cannot describe it!  I grew up in the church and I would serve in the past, but serving this time was meeting my need for fellowship and encouragement in a whole new way.

God continues to provide for me and my family.  This winter my brother could no longer help with my housing need, so I had to go get an apartment on my own for me and my son Charlie.  But God provided financially just in time so I could afford the apartment.   Thank you for allowing me to share, and I praise God for His faithfulness and provision!!  I encourage you to consider giving, even if you have little extra.  Its not about the amount, but its about your willingness to trust in God, our true provider.

God Bless, Dan Heebner

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