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Business Failure and Money Troubles Were No Match for God’s Restoration Plan

Shannon Woodland - 700 Club Producer
Zsa Zsa Palagyi - 700 Club Producer

Tom Cartwright is a self-employed inventor who’s always coming up with creative ideas for products, like the Antigua Ceiling Fan.  

“I saw a leaf, and I sketched it and made up the fan blade from that,” he explains. 

But being an entrepreneur hasn’t always been easy. There were times Tom couldn’t provide the basics for his wife and children, like when one of his foreign business deals went bad.

He explains, “The headlines said, ‘Bank Summa loses U.S. 600 million.’ And I came back and kind of lost everything.” 

His wife Anna adds, “We had one car and people were helping us put gas in our tank. This is back in the day when there was a lot of food stamps around. I guess, people were giving us some of their food stamps. It was very, very humbling. My husband, you know, we both agreed we needed help.”

Tom and Anna started going to church. 

Tom recalls, “I said, ‘Okay, I don't care if I work in a gas station. God first, my family, and then my job.’”

The couple learned that putting God first included tithing 10%.

“And so, we began to tithe, believing that God would multiply the seed that we would sow,” Tom shares. “And shortly thereafter, you know, I came up with another invention or product, and we had a good income.” 

Tom’s medical hygiene invention called “Wash-n-Care" was widely used in hospitals and became very profitable. Through the years, as the Cartwrights kept tithing, the inventions and income kept coming. At one point, some big-name stores bought into an affordable game table Tom designed. He and Anna took out a second mortgage on their home to finance production. Then, the market crashed and there was no way to pay back the loan.

“It was devastating. It was confusing,” Tom says. 

Tom’s daughter Allison works with him. She remembers having to lay-off all their employees and how they had to put the company’s future in God’s hands.

“You really get to bare bones of, ‘What do you believe? Are you going to believe the Word, are you going have faith, or are you going fall apart and go to pieces?’” Allison comments.

Anna adds, “You know, when the temptation would come to not tithe or not give, I would be like, it would bring tears to my eyes being like, ‘I don't trust this world. I don't trust how smart we are. I trust God.’” 

So, despite uncertain times and multiple threats of foreclosure on their home, Tom and Anna never stopped tithing. They believed in what they call tithing rights.

Anna expounds, “Your barn will not be empty. You know, your vats will be full. Those kind of things--those are tithing rights.” 

They even gave above their tithe to help a couple from church.

Tom shares, “I was taking a shower that morning and God said, ‘I want you to pay off their second mortgage.’ I talked to Anna and we said, ‘You know, what you do for others, God will do for you.’”

Shortly after they paid off the other couple’s loan, their own financial situation turned around. Some valuable real estate the Cartwrights had on the market for years was suddenly purchased by a cash buyer. The company’s excess inventory of pool tables also sold. The combined income made it possible for the couple to pay off their second mortgage and stay in their home.

“I can say with assurance that when you tithe, God always provides for you. He multiplies that seed sown, and that's a functional absolute,” Tom declares. 

Today Tom and Allison run a coaching company for inventors. The Cartwrights love to share how tithing and giving have affected their success. 

Allison says, “What people spend their money on shows you what's truly in their heart. And so, number one, are you tithing? Because if you're not tithing, then that might be why you're in a financial situation, or God is not opening doors.” 

“God doesn't twist your arm to do it, but He has a lot of promises and wonderful things for you when you do tithe,” Tom adds. 

Anna concludes, “It's like, do you want to trust yourself for the rest of your life? Or do you want to lean on another source that is the God of the universe? When you just be obedient, you cannot out-give Him. No way."

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