Many Christians struggling with debt also struggle with the concept of tithing. Many find it difficult to even consider giving 10 percent of their increase (or income) to God when they don’t know how they are going to pay the mortgage and buy food for their families. I know. I’ve been there. Yet, tithing is the foundation of Christian living and the cornerstone of Christian finance.
God had strong words for the children of Israel when they didn’t tithe. In Malachi 3:8-9 he plainly calls them thieves, saying they have robbed him. When they ask how they had robbed God, his response was “in tithes and offerings”. He further stated that failure to tithe had brought a curse on the whole nation.
Then God gave them a challenge, a challenge that still holds true today. God asked them to prove him, to test him, to try him, he said:
“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,”
Says the LORD of hosts,
“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it.”
Most people stop right there, but the next verse is even more amazing. God says that if we are faithful in tithing:
“… I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes,
So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground,
Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,”
Says the LORD of hosts;
And all nations will call you blessed,
For you will be a delightful land,”
Says the LORD of hosts.
I don’t know about you, but I want God on my side, rebuking the devourer (the enemy, satan) for me so that he won’t destroy my hard work and steal the fruit of my labor. I want others to say that I’m blessed by God when they look at my life.
So, how do you tithe? Well, you don’t pay all of your bills, buy your groceries, pay your creditors and then see if you have enough left over to tithe. That’s having your budget upside down. What you have to do is tithe first. The tithe comes right off the top. Before you pay anyone else, before you buy food for your family, before you pay the mortgage, you tithe. After you tithe, you pay yourself. After you pay yourself, you take care of the necessities (mortgage, utilities, food) and with what’s left over, you pay bills and creditors.
This means you may not be able to even pay the minimum amount due on all of your credit cards. So, you either pay a little bit to each, or you pay the minimum due to as many as you can and send a letter to the others explaining that you couldn’t pay them this month. It also means that you are going to have to learn to do without some of the extras you think are so important in your life.
But, before long, a financial miracle will occur in your life. I can’t explain how it works. I can only tell you that it does. When I was struggling in debt, I wasn’t tithing faithfully. My budget was upside down and I was trying to pay my tithe with what was left over. When I decided that I was going to tithe — no matter what; if I didn’t eat, I was going to tithe; if I didn’t have electricity, I was going to tithe — amazingly enough, I never had to worry. I always ate, I paid my bills, I even paid off my debt.
When emergencies happened, they were covered — by a gift, by an extra job. I never lacked for anything I needed. Oh, I did without some of the fluff, and non-essentials I would have liked to have had. But, I had everything I needed and usually more.
If you aren’t tithing now, I can’t stress enough the importance of tithing. Don’t do it out of obligation. Do it out of love and thankfulness for all of the blessings you have received, and give God back his portion. He wants to pour out his blessing on you.