Perhaps you’re living paycheck to paycheck.
Bank accounts? Depleted.
Stress level? Through the roof.
I’ve talked with many families going through difficult times – unbelievable hardships that sap their energy and wallets. Occasionally I’m asked if I think they should tithe when their budget is upside down. The short answer is yes, but hang in there and allow me to explain why.
Tithing in the Bible
You might be wondering what tithing is in the first place. A tithe is 10% of your earnings. Here are just a few verses on giving and tithing:
Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. – Proverbs 3:9-10 NIV
“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. 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.” – Malachi 3:8-10 NIV
There are many more verses regarding tithing, but let’s get back to our question at hand . . . should you really tithe during hardships?
Tithing and You
Some claim that they don’t have anything to give God. But you see, if that’s true, God isn’t commanding you to give anyway. Do the math: 10% of $0 is $0. God won’t ask you for something you don’t have or will never get.
Granted, for those with some income but barely enough to pay essential bills, 10% feels daunting. But I wonder . . . how many of those people actually budget? How many of those people eat out too much? How many of those people aren’t shopping around, seeking the best deals? And if I give them the benefit of the doubt that they really can’t squeeze 10% out of their earnings, there’s still one more thing to keep in mind . . . .
God has a Plan
God is incomprehensibly smarter than us.
All of our logical justifications must seem like foolishness to God.
If I ask my children to do something, I expect them to do it – regardless of their thoughts and feelings. I’m sure God has the same expectations for his children.
God has a plan. He knows the end game. He understands us and our situations far better than we ever will. Knowing that should help us trust God.
Giving Changes Us
Jesus said “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35 NIV) Interesting, isn’t it then, that sometimes we’re so scared to give when it’s more blessed to give than to receive?
I think this says something about our hearts. When we’re holding onto stuff – money or otherwise – when we know we should give it up, it hurts us spiritually. When we give, however, we break free from those chains of selfishness and are free to be content.
God Will Provide When We Give
Tithing is about trusting God, and we’re to do it with a willing, joyful heart!
Have faith that God will provide for you when you give. Your motive shouldn’t be to give to get, but rather just to give.
When we give, we’re sure to get more back. But we need to give without a grudging heart. Notice that if we give, then we’ll receive:
Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. – Deuteronomy 15:10 NIV
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 6:31-33 NIV
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. – Luke 6:38 NIV
It’s also important to note that our giving to the needy should be done in secret:
But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. – Matthew 6:3-4 NIV
Sometimes the math is scary – especially when you’re going through a financial hardship. But the Lord calls us to have faith.
The beauty about 10% is that the amount you give adjusts with your income. But as Christians, we want to give more than that when we’re able. That’s why you should follow the Three Phases of Giving. During the Foundation Phase of the Three Phases of Wealth, give 10% to your church. As you advance through the Three Phases of Wealth, you’ll advance through the Three Phases of Giving. This approach helps you determine how much you should be giving beyond your tithe.
You should tithe during hardships. The Lord will pull you through. And when he blesses you, you’ll be able to give back even more.
Are you trusting the Lord with your tithe? Leave a comment and tell us how you’ve been blessed by doing so.