In mid February, I would fly to London to begin work as a student missionary in the south-west of England at the Redruth church, Cornwall. I was frantically saving for my airfare and expenses.
As I finished up and got ready to fly out, I faced a dilemma. My earnings had been $2000 over the summer, a lot for a student to earn back then and God had greatly blessed me. While my mates were earning $5 an hour in the Sanitarium factory, I was getting $10 an hour on the doors and another $5 an hour into an Avondale College scholarship fund.
However, I now realised I owed $200 in tithe to God--but it seemed like a lot of money. Just then, an uncanny thought entered my mind.
Why not just put all this tithe toward my airfare? It was a massive $608 hop-over fare with British Airways and the amount was worrying me.
I also reasoned that, as a student missionary, I would not receive a wage for 12 months and believed I would even have to buy a car using my meagre student savings.
Then I remembered that the scriptures say it is not a good idea to rob God. So that Sabbath in church, I stuffed ten $20 notes into a tithe envelope and placed it in the offering bag, which impressed all my mates in the back row of the youth worship service at Nunawading church. I believed God would somehow bless me and supply the money I needed.
But what happened in the next week was beyond my wildest dreams.
Before leaving, an elderly neighbour, Mrs Currie, took me up to the bank and gave me $500 toward my trip expenses. Then my grandfather came good with $600. This was a miracle! Grandpa told my dad not to tell the other grandkids--it would not be a general handout.
So I flew to London happy in the knowledge that my $200 had become $1100 overnight.
At the end of 12 months working in Britain, in 1980, I was given more heavenly manna. Grandpa added another $600, so I could tour the Holy Lands with Pastor David Currie's tour group.
Then the old lady from Coronella Home once again donated some money--this time, it was $200. I could now go and get all my pictures for my future mission programs, after graduating from theology at Avondale in 1981.
It was only later that my dad told me a former mentor and lecturer, Dr Geoff Rosenhain, had kindly and anonymously sent in $100 toward my unpaid college fees.
When I paused to add up what I had received back from my measly $200 tithe, the result was an amazing $2000 windfall over 18 months.
I guess when you invest with God, you need to be ready to receive whatever flies out heaven's windows. This 1000 per cent increase on my tithe money was more than I could ever imagine. As a young person, it proved to me that God really does control all the money. I have never forgotten His tithing promise in Malachi 3:10 and this proved to me that what God says in the Bible is absolutely beyond doubt.
"Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do," says the Lord Almighty, "I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won't have enough room to take it in! Try it! Let me prove it to you!" Malachi 3:10.
David Price is pastor of Gosford church on the New South Wales Central Coast.
This story is used with permission from Signs Publishing Company. More of these stories can be found in these collections: Ordinary People—Extraordinary God, Ordinary People—Faithful God, and Ordinary People—Generous God