If you know anything about tithing, you know that it is a big part of the church. It refers to giving 10% of your income to your local church. The “first fruits” of your income should be handed over to God through the church.
It sounds pretty straightforward, but what are the implications of tithing? Are you expected to do it no matter what? What if you are in crippling debt? Keep reading to find out more about tithing, and how it works when you are in serious debt.
What Is Tithing?
A big part of Christianity (or any other religion, for that matter) is to not be selfish and to give to others who are in need.
Doing charity work, donating to the poor, and spreading your wealth is one of the most important teachings in Christianity.
There are references to tithing in the Bible. Leviticus 27:30 states: “A tenth of the produce of the land, whether grain or fruit, is the Lord’s and is holy.”
Even though it mentions “produce of the land” and “grain or fruit”, do not be fooled, it essentially mentions a tenth of what you own, which is the same as taking a tenth of your income.
Proverbs 3:9 states: “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops.” Again, do not get confused by the references to fruits. It is just another way of saying to first give what you earned to God before you do anything else with it.
So, it says in the Bible that we should give a tenth of our income to God first, and then distribute our income over everything else (rent, food, supplies, etc). If we tithe first, it will be seen as a priority rather than doing it at the end and seeing it as an afterthought.
Do I Have to Tithe?
Even though it is referred to in the Bible, and it ties into a lot of the important teachings of Christianity, will you be a bad believer if you don’t tithe? No. We need to remember that God loves every one of us whether we tithe or not. However, it is important to give, in one way or another.
It is up to you how much of a priority tithing is for your household. Consider the word of Proverbs 9:7: “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
If you feel like you are tithing because you have to, and you do not feel it in your heart that it is the right thing to do, you should not be doing it at all because that is not what tithing is about.
Giving 10% of your income to a different organization, for example, a charity or a shelter is also an option—read more at this link here.
What About Tithing When I’m in Debt?
A very reasonable and fair question. Being in debt is a horrible situation, no matter the size of the debt. Whether it is to your bank, to a family member, or after suffering a financial loss in your business or company. Nevertheless, tithing should remain a priority, as hard as this might be to hear or to believe.
Whether it is tithing at your church, or giving 10% of your income to a local charity, it is important to keep this habit in your life, regardless of your financial situation.
To help you navigate paying down your debts and tithing simultaneously, there are certain things you can cut back on. For example, no more eating out or planning lavish vacations.
If you feel that your debt situation is too severe and that tithing might not be an option for you and your family, you could sit down with your local pastor or an elder in your church for a conversation about your situation.
You will be able to work something out and find a middle path.
Psalm 37:21 says: “The wicked borrow and do not repay”, and let this be a reminder that regardless of your responsibility towards the Lord, you also have a responsibility to pay back your debt.
There is truly more blessing in giving than there is in receiving. So, it is so crucial to keep this part of your life going. Start by setting aside a dollar a week, and pray that God will double this amount. He will know that you have given as much as you can, and as much as you can set aside.
To conclude, tithing is a very significant and important part of the church. It relates heavily to the concept of giving to the less fortunate, giving in general, not being selfish, contributing to the Kingdom of the Lord and Savior.
There are, of course, situations in which tithing is not always possible. It does not mean that you are a bad Christian if you do not tithe. Especially if you do not feel that you are doing it from the goodness of your heart. There are other ways in which you can give back to the community.
If you are in a situation of serious debt, it is important to still keep tithing as a part of your routine. However, there are very serious situations in which you will have to discuss with a pastor about giving a smaller amount.
You will also have to look into ways of saving money on the side and cutting back on expenses to pay back your debt as soon as possible.
Image credit:[KAROLINA GRABOWSKA]