Where are you on the COVID-19 Pandemic Financial Experience Scale? Working-class people are experiencing this pandemic very differently financially. There are 3 benchmarks on the scale. This is a look at the second benchmark, "Treading."
For you, the crisis is disruptive but not destructive. You have some reserves and a safety net. You are experiencing diminished income. You can maintain most of your lifestyle with a combination of reduction of non-essential expenses and subsidies from your stockpiles of food and finances. There are finite amounts of those resources available. Here are some tactics you can use to help you maintain the status quo for a while.
Credit card forbearances can be tricky. It's all about the interest and how it reports to the credit bureaus. I've heard of some very generous terms. ‘Current balance held at no interest until paid in full as serviced by a minimum payment.’ It is also reported to the credit bureaus as "paid as agreed." If you currently have a statement balance that amounts to an interest-free loan instead of the legally usurious interest rates credit cards charge now. Double-check to see if the terms apply to cash advance balances also. Often you "voluntarily" agree not to use the credit card during the forbearance period. If your credit servicer is not offering generous terms, make your minimum monthly payment during the pandemic. (If you are unable to make your minimum monthly payments, you are in Surviving mode.)
Keeping your word is paramount in this situation. Do not make commitments you can't keep. You may have to go back to your creditors for additional relief. Broken payment promises may make them less likely to provide help.
Where are you on the COVID-19 Pandemic Financial Experience Scale? Working-class people are experiencing this pandemic very differently financially. There are 3 benchmarks on the scale. This is a look at the first benchmark, "Surviving."
This crisis caught you unprepared. You have limited resources anda fragile safety net. Your income is gone. Your lifestyle is in jeopardy. Your standard of living is diminished. You have done all you know to do. The stress and pressure are negatively affecting you, physically and emotionally. You’ve gone from making savings and debt reduction decisions to housing and food insecurity. Your financial focus (time, talent, and treasure) has shifted from working on longer-term goals to money shortage problem-solving. You see very little if any light at the end of the tunnel. Your future looks bleak. You need a miracle. So, position yourself for one. Here is how to activate the power of God in your financial life, on purpose.
The context of this promise is to individuals who had not tithed in the past, like you. Despite that, they were offered a fresh start. That is true for you also. Grace and Mercy will overcome your guilt and history financially. The point is to start and don’t stop.
It is controversial whether the tithe applies to the New Testament dispensation. It is not controversial to me. When I made my commitment to tithe, “I was so broke I couldn’t pay attention.” My conversation with God went like this. “Okay, Lord, You said if I tithed, You would bless me and mine. If You bless me, I’ll go tell it. And if You don’t bless me, I’ll go tell that too.” That was not a threat to God but rather a promise to give Him a Yelp review. That was about 4 decades ago, and I have never looked back or regretted the decision. “Five stars, Outstanding customer service.”
“Blessed” means different things to different people. Here are some of the elements I consider when I say, “I’m blessed.”
Get your eyes off the promise and turn them toward the Promise Keeper. Now that you have started tithing, you rightfully expect a return. However, tithing is not an investment. Your focus should not be on the timing and size of the promised return. Instead, your focus should be on pleasing God. Remember, He provides daily.
Be wary of those who preach to your desperation and not to your faith. Tithing requires you to give your money away. Where you give your money is important. Because of the prevalence of “prosperity preachers and famine feeders” making appeals, the tithing message can be easily distorted to appeal to your need. Give to them, and you will receive, you are told. That appeals to your need. You don’t give to get, no matter how great your need. You give to honor God. Your motive is just as important as your behavior. When you give, be sure it is for the right reason and not because of a compelling appeal.
Miraculously changing your financial life requires a change in behavior. Behavior changes are not easy. Changes of behavior require commitment. Commitment is demonstrated by behavior. Tithing is a behavior. And just like with exercise and oral hygiene, consistency is what brings long-term results.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced you into a desperate situation. Your options are few and dwindling. Your situation seems beyond your capacity to solve. You need a miracle. Position yourself for a lifetime of miraculous provisions by being a hardcore tither. What have you got to lose? You don’t have enough to make it now, anyhow, right? Honor God with your tithe and experience His provision and more. True, you don't have to be a tither to be blessed by God. However, I have never seen a tither not blessed by God. No, not one.