When I think back to our journey as a family, the common thread I see is the faithfulness of God. It wasn’t because we deserved it. Faithfulness is part of His character and He has honored the covenant established at our wedding.
We were married in 1975, and shortly afterward we had a new Pastor, Stan Bragg. He was a great guy and he and his wife, Cathy had two young children, Steve and Cherie. We adored their family and still do. These are the people I surprised Pops with on his 2018 birthday in Phoenix!
Back to the amazing faithfulness of God in our family…we were taught by Mom and Dad Jones the principle of tithing. Tithing is the giving of 10% of your income to support the work of the Lord. We have always practiced this principle. Your Grandpa Bell even supported the idea, along with putting an additional 10% in your emergency savings. I sure wish we would have listened to him and practiced that our entire marriage! But that’s another story…
So one Sunday Pastor Stan announced that we were doing something very special. We were going to have a 90% Sunday. He challenged us to consider proving the faithfulness of God by choosing to tithe 90% instead of the regular 10%. This was to occur on a special Sunday they had chosen in the future. There was no pressure, just teaching on the faithfulness of God and encouraging us to pray and consider it.
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.” Malachi 3:10
This was before Aaron was born, we were living week to week, no savings, both of us working. I was employed by the bank and Danny was working running a printing press. Here is a picture of the exact type of press he ran. It only ran one color at a time, so he had to wash it up, change the color of ink and line everything up perfectly. This is why he’s the perfect guy to proof anything!
Since I was the banker, the teller who was never out of balance, I did all of the personal bookkeeping. I knew without a shadow of doubt that this 90% Sunday idea would NOT work. There was no cushion to fall back on and the numbers were the numbers.
However, our love and admiration for the Braggs, along with our faith in who we believed God to be, caused us to be intrigued. We agreed together to try this experiment of faith.
I wish I could remember the details, I remember scouring the register (that was a paper thing where you wrote your transactions in) and analyzing it over and over trying to figure out what had happened. The miracle was this – we did not experience any shortage, God did prove His faithfulness to us!
It was a mysterious combination of things – a few bills lower than normal, a paycheck a little higher than normal, but to be honest it never made sense to me, the one who could balance anything to the penny! It was a huge lesson to us, that God could be trusted over and over and that He was faithful to “give us each day our daily bread.”
We will always be thankful for the five years that the Braggs served at Burbank First Assembly of God. Their joy and love for each other and for their children was better than reading any textbook on family. They lived and loved Jesus.
Primarily they were instrumental in the beginning of a legacy of financial faith in us, understanding the faithfulness of a good good Father providing for His own.
We still rest in that and it was birthed with 90% Sunday!
Cathy and Stan along with their grandson Cole.
Cole looks just like the little boy we remember named Steve.