Shirley q. marshall
Good morning Shiloh. Thank you for the opportunity to participate in today’s ‘Prove - the - Tithe Sunday’. Humbly, I stand before you to share my personal journey and testimony.
When first asked to do this, while I said yes, I had reservations about doing so. To tithe is indeed a personal choice. As a Christian tithing is expected. However, it is a choice that you must make for yourself, and only as a result of your knowledge of God’s Word, and after a personal conversation between you and our Lord and Savior.
There are many factors that may come into play as one makes the commitment to tithe. For most people, the availability of excess resources is usually high on the list of barriers to overcome before making a tithing commitment. This was certainly a factor for me. However, I am here to tell you there are greater forces than finances that influenced and guided me as I made the decision to become a tither.
Though I am not a long-time member of Shiloh, through family relations, I have a long history with Shiloh. I was born into a Christian home with both parents. My early years were influenced by Christian principles and experiences. I attended Catholic Church with my Dad and I attended Catholic schools. Frequently, I also attended services with my Mom, who was born into a Methodist family, but converted to the Baptist faith later in life. I guess you can say we believed in diversity.
With that as a backdrop, Shiloh did not become my home church until approximately three years ago. At that time, I was faced with making a decision about the sacrifices I would need to make in order to support my growing faith and my wonderful new church home. However, there were a number of life-experiences that fed into the choices I would soon make:
First, was the need to honor the spiritual foundation my parents had instilled upon me to be a responsible Christian, which included the need to nurture a sense of caring and sharing, and a desire to achieve happiness through giving rather than receiving. In my early years, my parents also taught me to put a nickel, dime, quarter, and if they had a good week, perhaps a dollar in the giving plate when it passed before me. This foundation made a commitment to tithe a ‘must do, and find a way to do it, with a smile’ decision for me, in spite of my share of challenges.
Secondly, prior to and in the midst of making the decision to join Shiloh, I was also faced with the evolving and traumatic health issues of my precious Mom and the God-selected love of my life, Ronald; which culminated with the ultimate loss of these two loving and kind people -- all over a short period of time. The losses were emotionally devastating. The experience was indeed life changing. However, God was with me and kept me hold! I owe my all to Him!
Lastly, as I grieved, I too had to deal with personal health issues. I had to learn how to fill voids, like the physical absence of family; and, how to live only on my God-given resources. I learned quickly that as the Lord had directed the steps of my loved ones, and He was doing the same for me; He spoke to me during this trying time; His hand was on my shoulder; He answered my prayers, and He sent caring angels my way, many of whom are here in the sanctuary today. By asking for God’s help and making necessary sacrifices, today I am a tither and the mortgage and the bills are being paid. Each morning I wake up to a brand new day with new opportunities and challenges. How blessed I am! For these things, I am honor-bound.
For the young people who are here today, God is with you and can help you on your Christian journey and your road to future success. Simply call on Him as you follow His Word. In the ever-changing circumstances of life, there’s a faithful, never-changing God in control. Remember, every day begins and ends with His purpose, every moment of our life is in His care. I learned over the years that God works ‘24-7’ on our behalf. In return, we should indeed do our share as He requires, by committing a minimum of 10% of your resources to His Kingdom. Personally, I find tithing is a way to demonstrate discipline and obedience and thankfulness as a Christian and a believer.
For Shiloh members, I invite you to reflect on your awesome love for God and your devotion to this great historical institution… Shiloh Baptist Church. As we celebrate Black History Month, let’s work together to celebrate Shiloh’s longevity. If you have not already done so, I encourage you to consider making a commitment to tithe. Let us all honor the past scarifies of Shiloh’s founding men and women, and the members who came before us who demonstrated their commitment to stewardship so this Ship of Zion will live on. We stand and sit here today because of them. Let us also acknowledge that everything we have is a gift from God and lovingly do our share in return. Let us give out of love for the Lord and a desire to see His Kingdom advance. Always remember, our help comes from the Lord!
Thank you, and may God Bless you abundantly!
Shirley Q. Marshall
February 19, 2017