We all want to honor God with our money. And usually that’s pretty straight forward.
But what if you’re in debt? And what if the Bible seems to be giving you some very conflicting messages?
I was watching a finance YouTuber recently, who happened to be a Christian. In this video, the YouTuber and his wife were laying out their plan to get out of debt. They named all kinds of ways they would try to increase their income and lots of ways that they would cut back. Then he said, “We would probably stop tithing during these extreme budget cuts…”
Should Christians stop tithing in order to get out of debt?
After all, the Bible is pretty clear that debt is bad. Psalm 37:21 says, “The wicked borrows and does not repay…” And Romans 13:8 tells us, “Owe no one anything except to love one another…” Plus, there are all of those warnings in the Proverbs about how dangerous debt can be.
But does that mean that when times are really tough — when you are barely able to make the minimum payments on a mountain of debt — obedience means skipping those checks to help the church so that you are able to get out of debt faster?
Well, one command from the Lord doesn’t cancel another. And while getting out of debt is a good thing, the Bible also tells us loud and clear that we need to tithe. Proverbs 3:9 says, “Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase…” And we see all through the New Testament the pattern of the church working through the giving of its members (2 Corinthians 8)
It really all comes down to trust. Do you trust that God will truly supply all of your needs, even as you are giving money away? Do you believe that God rewards obedience? Or are you like those YouTubers who are trusting in the details of their own plan and leaving God’s plan right out of it?
Giving money to the work of the Lord even when we are struggling financially is a huge step of faith. It’s a scary thing sometimes. But it is also a very real way we can live out Proverbs 3:5,6:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”
When the bills are piling up and the debt is looking impossible to overcome, we have the opportunity to follow God anyway. We still get to participate in God’s work here on the Earth and we still get to worship Him through our giving.
And if you are having trouble finding the courage, just look to a little old lady 2000 years ago who dropped her last coin into the offering box. When Jesus saw her, He said,”Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.” (Luke 21:3, 4)
Now that is trust.
Meredith is the wife of an amazing husband, a lover of travel and baking, and a servant of the King of Kings. She writes at Life Along the Way, a project created with her husband as a place to share the ups and downs of their lives following Christ and to explore what it means to live life based on the Bible. Connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or Instagram!