Full Bank Account, Empty Heart
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Work hard and play hard was the mantra that Eric Pavlack lived by. For 17 years, he traveled across the country laying railroad tracks which paid well but triggered a habit of reckless spending.
“Because I was selfish, money was very important. and I’m making all this big money and I wasn’t used to it. I was spending it right and left. Guns, hunting trips, motorcycles, weightlifting stuff, trucks, cars.”
In order to afford his lavish lifestyle, Eric worked extra hours.
“I bought stuff on a whim. It was like living paycheck to paycheck. But I made good money, and I spent good money.”
Even though Eric had more than enough material things, he still felt like something was missing.
“It was kind of empty. I mean it was nice because I had stuff, but it wasn’t the answer. It wasn’t the way to roll.”
Over the years, he had acquired so many things that it began to weigh on his conscience.
“I had all this stuff and there’s people starving. I actually felt guilty because I felt like I had too much.”
In 2006, Eric reached a critical point in his life while dating a woman he met at the gym.
“Me dating her was a bad choice. No matter what I did, it wouldn’t work. I just was miserable. I couldn’t stand that I wasn’t with her. It was draining.”
Feeling defeated, Eric turned to God for help.
“It was the lowest point – I was looking up at the bottom, that’s how low I was. Because the relationship was so volatile, up and down, it brought me to God.”
He went to church the next day and allowed Christ to come into his life.
“I said, ‘Lord, I can’t do this no more so I’m giving you charge.’ I just cried and broke down and it was like a giant release.”
From that moment on, he was a changed man.
“It made me a better person. Money wasn’t important at all. I guess I was filling the void, buying all this stuff. It wasn’t necessary anymore.”
Eric became more sensible with his spending and learned how to handle his money God’s way.
“The pastor was talking about tithing. I had no idea what he was talking about and once I started tithing, it seemed like I always had extra money. The more I tithed – because he always said you can’t outgive God – and I’m thinking what’s God want my money for but it was part of showing obedience and the more I tithed, the more I had, the more I was able to help.”
He was amazed by the way God used his money and the blessings that resulted from giving.
“My pension check, as soon as it comes in, 10 percent. But the more you tithe and do it as a priority each check, it’s like you get paid back a thousand-fold … it’s amazing. It’s like you’re giving it and He's putting more in … it’s crazy.”
In fact, Eric saved up enough money that he was able to retire from the railroad early. He continues to tithe and has grown in his relationship with Christ.
“Tithing has completely changed my life. He showed me that if you’re obedient, the world is yours, it just opens up.”
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