Rich African Gives Cows as Tithe
And his remaining cows start birthing twins — changing hearts in Tanzania.
Africa’s Maasai tribe loves cows.
When an elderly person dies, the Maasai people see it as a part of life, and they move on. When a baby dies, they also move on. The death of a young adult, however, is a reason to shed a few tears. They mourn the lost potential.
But when a big bull dies, a Maasai man will mourn terribly. He will tell story after story about the bull’s strength, its handsome features, and its leadership over the herd. The owner will lie awake all night, weeping over his loss.
A Maasai man will not part ways with a cow for anything. He loves his cows.
So, it came as a big surprise to Seventh-day Adventist leaders to hear that a wealthy Maasai man had decided to give 100 cows as a tithe to God.
The man, Abraham, had been baptized into the Adventist Church in northern Tanzania and felt impressed to give one tenth of his cattle as tithe. Abraham summoned the local pastor to collect the cows in 2017.
“I don’t want to keep what belongs to God,” Abraham told the stunned pastor.
Tongues Start Wagging
Abraham’s Maasai neighbors, who were not Adventist, thought he had gone mad.
“Why would you give away your cows?” said one.
“If you can return 100 cows as tithe, why don’t you also start counting your children return the 10th one as tithe?” said another.
Abraham had about 20 children because he had been married to four wives before his baptism. Now he had one wife, but he remained father to his many children. Abraham did not argue with his skeptical neighbors.
“I know a person in the Bible who did not have 10 children,” he said. “He only had one child, and he was more than willing to return that only child to God. His name was Abraham, too.”
Immediately after Abraham returned the tithe of 100 cows, something unusual happened to his cattle. His cows started giving birth to twins. Cows usually give birth to only one calf at a time, but all of Abraham’s cows began to give birth to twins. The neighbors were shocked. Abraham had given away 100 cows, and now he had more cows than even before.
“Call your pastor,” one neighbor said. “I also want to give a tithe.”
“We want our cows to have twins, too,” said another.
Abraham marveled over the way that God was blessing him and decided that he didn’t want to return just one tithe. He wanted to give two tithes. He called the Adventist pastor to come for a visit. The pastor was joined by Godwin Lekundayo, president of the Adventist Church’s Northern Tanzania Union Conference, where Abraham lives, and the stewardship director for the East-Central Africa Division, whose territory includes Tanzania.
“When I gave the 100 cows as tithe nine months ago, I wanted to see what would happen,” Abraham said. “I have seen abundant blessings. Instead of bringing forth one calf, my cows have started to bring forth twins.”
Abraham took the visitors to his field and began to count out two tithes.
“One, two, three, four, five,” Abraham counted the cows in his herd. “Six, seven, eight, nine.” When he reached the 10thcow, he instructed a helper to put a tag on its ear so that cow would be set aside for tithe.
“That one is for the Lord,” he said.
Then he counted an 11th cow and told his helper to tag its ear, too. This would be his second tithe. Then he started counting from “one” again.
Pastor Godwin, who related the story to Adventist Mission, said he was amazed by how God has blessed Abraham’s faithfulness.
“You are never losing when your return to God,” he said. “The Lord is faithful. He will even multiple what little you have. Abraham is growing richer and richer. It is like the fulfillment of Luke 16:10, where the Lord said, ‘He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much” [NKJV]. Whoever has little, much will be added because he is faithful.”
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Abraham counting cattle for tithe as Godwin Lekundayo, president of the Adventist Church’s Northern Tanzania Union Conference, and the conference’s stewardship director watch. (Video courtesy of Godwin Lekundayo)
Time for TMI
Abraham’s efforts to be a good steward have also turned him into a fine evangelist, Pastor Godwin said.
Several months ago, Abraham heard about the Adventist world church’s Total Member Involvement initiative. He couldn’t preach, but he also wanted to bring people to the Lord. So, he built a water dam on his property and invited his neighbors and the other villagers to water their cattle for free. The only thing that they have to do is listen to an Adventist evangelist preach beside the dam as their cattle drink.
Until that time, the villagers had to pay for access to water for their cattle.
The villagers now stream to Abraham’s water dam to water their cattle and to listen to the Word of God.
“People have started to say this man is very different from other religious people,” Pastor Godwin said. “Abraham is respected and loved in the village.”