God Blessed His Faithfulness

ADRA Norway officer Elidon Bardhi shares the blessings of trusting God.

Tor Tjeransen, Norwegian Union Conference
God Blessed His Faithfulness
Elidon Bardhi is the program director at ADRA Norway. Ever since he received his first paycheck and began to return tithe as a young man, he has known God’s blessing by taking God at His word. [Photo: Tor Tjeransen/Adventist Media Exchange (CC BY 4.0)]

In the summer of 1996, Elidon Bardhi, a 21-year-old man from Albania, was baptized by Finnish evangelist Pekka Tähti. Just a few months after his baptism, the members of his new local church family invited Bardhi to become the head deacon. Among his many responsibilities, one was to deliver inspirational messages from the Bible, particularly from Malachi chapter 3, prior to the offering taken up during Sabbath worship: “‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.’”

A Town with a High Crime Rate

At this time, Bardhi was a student at the Police Academy in Tirana, Albania, not yet earning a salary. Tithing was more of a theory than a reality to him. However, after completing his training, he worked in Shkodër, a town with a reputation for high crime. The civil and financial unrest in Shkodër at the time was remarkable. Many citizens had lost their savings due to a pyramid scheme, making the prisons so overcrowded that the government simply declared a temporary amnesty and let the prisoners go. The criminals were supposed to return to prison after a few months, but of course, they didn’t. With the high number of criminals on the loose, Bardhi’s work as a police constable was going to be action-filled.

Despite the challenging environment and a small salary insufficient to cover his basic needs, Bardhi decided to be faithful. He worked hard, and, upon receiving his first paycheck, he revisited the promise of Malachi 3:10: “‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.’ ” Holding on to this promise, Bardhi willingly returned 10 percent of his income to the Lord, fully aware that the remaining 90 percent would not cover his expenses.

Blessings amid Challenges

Bardhi knew his salary was simply not enough to cover his needs. However, the police department had an incentive program. Constables, including Bardhi, received a bonus at the end of the month for successful law enforcement actions, including locking up criminals. Each month brought unique circumstances that translated into a much-needed bonus. Bardhi, connecting the dots, saw these bonuses as blessings, as God fulfilled His promise through the words of the prophet Malachi.

Reflecting on his journey, Bardhi, who now serves as program director for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Norway, testifies to the enduring blessings he received. “My experience of returning tithe as a young man was wonderful. God blessed me, and I have always been able to meet my financial obligations,” he said.

The original version of this story was posted by the Norwegian Union Conference.

Tor Tjeransen, Norwegian Union Conference