Johnnie and Joan Bright

Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may food in my house, and try Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts,” if I will not open the windows of Heaven and pour out for you such a blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.” – Malachi 3:10

If you have ever been to Living Word Family Church, you have heard this scripture, either in teachings or before tithes and offerings are received. It is an integral part of our church doctrine, and one that is adhered to by most in the congregation. But for those who are new to the church, or even those who are not, it may sound completely foreign and contradictory to anything else they have ever heard. Such was the case with the Bright family.

Having been raised in a small eastern North Carolina town, Johnnie and Joan Bright had been brought up with basic Bible teachings. They had heard messages on tithing before, and were tithers, but they had never been taught the purpose and true meaning behind tithing. It was not until they had begun regularly attending services at Living Word, that they became exposed to the principles and logic of tithing. Johnnie recalls, “Joan and I both gave our lives to Christ when we were in our 20′s, and began attending church regularly. Right from the start, we tithed to our church, but not consistently. We also had other ministries we gave to, not always giving our ‘best’ tithe to our local church.”

“During this time, around 1985, we moved our family from Washington NC. We started a new life here in Raleigh, where I worked as a mechanic and machinist, then as Sales Manager of an Auto Parts Company and for the last 13 years as a Real Estate Broker. We found a church here that we liked, and started to attend. Not realizing the importance of keeping the tithe local, we continued to send our money to other places. We had visited Living Word a couple of times when it was in the old building, but the logistics never worked out for us to become regular members. After several years of floating around, that is not attending regularly at any church, our daughter called to invite us back to Living Word. She had attended a few times with her husband, and knew that it would be a good fit for us. We decided to check out Living Word again, and fell in love with the church. Not too long after we came back we heard a message from Pastor Steve on tithing. What really got us; me in particular, was that the tithe needed to stay in the local church. That was a revelation to me. The Lord really spoke to me on that, and I decided right then to honor God’s Word.”

Adds Joan, “Johnnie is a go-getter type person. As soon as he heard the teaching that Sunday from Pastor Steve, he was ready to jump right into it! I, on the other hand, held onto certain reservations. I like to step back, take a breath and look at the whole picture. I followed my husband’s lead though, and my concerns were put to rest. As soon as we as a couple, like minded and equally yoked, took tithing seriously, Malachi 3:10 came to pass in our lives. Our real estate business really took a positive turn. We started getting new buyers and sellers from areas that the natural mind would have never thought. Some might say a miracle happened, but we know what the truth is. Our obedience to God and His Word changed our lives forever!”

Reading through the Scriptures, Johnnie felt that he needed to physically bring their tithe to the church. “I couldn’t mail it in, or anything like that, I had to physically bring it to the church. We enjoy being in the sanctuary with everyone, raising our tithe to God, praying over it, and giving it with a joyful heart. That is one of the most important things to us, giving with joy. If you are not right in your heart about your tithe, you might as well put it in a hole and bury it! There are blessings attached to the tithe; blessings that can only manifest themselves through cheerful giving. Nobody wants to feel coerced into doing something. God wants you to give joyfully, and see those blessings come to pass in your life. He is true to His word!”

“I would tell people who are struggling with tithing to search God’s Word. See for themselves what the Bible teaches on tithing. Also, pray over it. Continue to search and pray, and find out the truth. It may not happen overnight, but it will happen!”

Joan is just as fired up about tithing as Johnnie is. “The more you study the Word, and get it down on the inside of you, in your heart, the more God will be able to work in your life. We are excited about 2013! The more we tithe, the more God increases us! We are able to increase what we tithe now, and we are excited for the increase God is going to bless us with! It’s a win-win!!”