In God’s Economy, Blessings Flow
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Army veteran Lonnie Earnest needed to make a better living after serving in the military. So, he left his family's small South Texas ranch and moved to Austin with his wife Tammy to land construction work.
Lonnie remembers: "It was difficult to leave the ranch because that's all I knew growing up as a child. It was heartbreaking to do that."
Construction welding didn't offer the stability he wanted, either.
Lonnie adds: "We had just finished a bridge over a major park in Austin, and the foreman comes up and says, 'You guys are all laid off.' It seemed hopeless. When I read the Bible, it's like, oh, there are these promises of prosperity and peace, and I wondered why wasn't I seeing those benefits?"
They survived with low rent, thrift buys and food banks while Lonnie looked for more work. After they paid their bills, Lonnie and Tammy sometimes gave at church if they had a little extra. A tithe took a backseat to other priorities.
Lonnie recalls: "Living paycheck to paycheck, it was very difficult. So how are we going to just let that go?"
One night Lonnie rededicated his life to Christ.
Lonnie says: "I said, 'Lord, you know, I thought that I was always living for you up until this point.' And I was convicted. So, I said, 'I dedicate my life to you. I rededicate my life to you. I want that relationship with you. So, show me how I can do that."
One way he did so was by making a decision to tithe.
Lonnie states: "It was a self-reflection that kind of made that bulb go off, that it's not the Lord that's holding back, it's me."
By then, he'd left construction and worked as a paid contractor installing IT cables for Motorola, a world leader in telecommunications. The Director of IT approached Lonnie after he noticed comments Lonnie made in a company newsletter.
Lonnie recalls: "He says, 'you know, we really like your attitude. But why not have you as a part of our team all the time? We have a job opening for a computer technician. I think you would be good for that job, and I want you to apply for it.' "
Even though he didn't have experience in computers, Lonnie believed the interview was a God-sent opportunity for a new, high-paying career.
Lonnie adds: "So, to prepare myself for that interview, I bought a book called The Mac Bible. I read that book cover to cover probably two or three times before I even interviewed. Because I wanted to be able to have the right answers."
When Motorola offered Lonnie the job, it doubled his salary.
Lonnie says: "You know, I was just amazed. It was a dream come true. I mean, from a young man growing up on a cattle ranch. So how does this even happen? I don't have an IT background, and I attributed it to us practicing what the Lord wanted us to do, which is [the] tithe. I think it was the promise that Lord made 'Give, and it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, shaken over, so that – and overflowing into your lap.' I was living proof of that.”
As Lonnie earned promotions and his salary regularly increased, they were also able to buy a family home.
Lonnie states: "And in my mind, it was like, 'okay, if I'm being blessed like this, then I can bless others even more.' "
He'd been a regular viewer of the 700 Club and decided to become a CBN partner.
Lonnie adds: "Giving to CBN is something we've been doing for many years. I just feel that media, just being able to get out there and on the television through the internet to share the Gospel, is so important. And just looking at all the good that's been done. This is having a global impact. You know, during Hurricane Ian, Operation Blessings [is] there. The war in Ukraine, Operation Blessing [is] there. The work that they do to improve the quality of life for these people they are impacting that's wonderful because that shows you the hands and feet of Jesus that are out there to help people."
By 2018 his income had grown by 150% since he began tithing. In August of 2022, he was recruited as a program manager, earning more money than ever. He says tithing and giving are not just a matter of obedience.
Lonnie says: "It's out of love. He gave His son for you [Jesus]. Why would you not want to give back in love to your Heavenly Father? So, if you trust the Lord, then giving that 10%... He's going to bless you in ways that you've never imagined."
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