Should a Christian Tithe While in Debt?

Should Christians tithe? What does the Bible say about tithing while in debt? Should I tithe while in debt? Read these ideas on tithing when in debt. 

Should Christians tithe? What does the Bible say about tithing while in debt? Should I tithe while in debt? Read these ideas on tithing when in debt.

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? Should Christians tithe?

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…”

Wait, what?

Should Christians stop tithing in order to get out of debt?

What does the Bible say about tithing while in debt? Should I tithe while in debt?

Should a Christian Tithe While in Debt?

 

What does the Bible say about debt and tithing? How do you tithe when you are in debt? Read these ideas about tithing and debt for the Christian.

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?

What does the bible say about debt and tithing? Well, one command from the Lord doesn’t cancel another, and that holds true for tithing and debt. 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)

So, how do you tithe when you are in debt? 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?

Tithing and debt are sensitive topics for many. Should Christians tithe? How can you keep tithing when in debt? Read these suggestions for a biblical perspective on tithing.

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 to be tithing when in debt, 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!

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8 Comments

  1. Hello!
    I came across your tithing blog on Pinterest. It piqued my interest and I felt compelled to share with you what the Holy Spirit has been putting on my heart very recently.

    God has given us a new covenant with Jesus. A covenant of grace. Jesus IS the tithe. When Jesus died, He fulfilled the law – all laws. That includes the tithe.

    Examples:
    The law is that you should not murder. But Jesus fulfilled that law and said you can still reach Him if you murder. But He also RAISED the bar. He said that you shouldn’t hate.
    The law was adultery. Jesus fulfilled the law and raised the standard, and said you shouldn’t lust.
    When I have children I am not going to teach them the law that they need to wait to have sex until marriage, but it’s ok if you want to engage in other sexual acts. No. I am going to teach them the HIGHEST standard, and then I am going to give them the grace of Jesus.

    Praise be to God that we are under grace because none of us could live up to this Christ-like standard that Jesus set before us. The law was to tithe. Not only did Jesus fulfill the law, He raised the standard and said that we should give it ALL away. Why do we teach people not to hate and not to lust, but we set the bare minimum standard to tithe? Do you know what it takes not to hate, not to lust, and to give it ALL away? It takes the character of Christ. And character comes with a change of heart. A law does not change your heart. Jesus came to circumcise the heart. To cut away your old heart – the law! We have religious freedom because of Jesus! Praise the Lord. It is my belief that the global church should rid this indoctrination of the tithe and live striving for Christ-like Character.

    You mentioned that we need to help the Church. I can tell you this truth: The church that I serve and attend is not MY church. It is God’s church. I can wholeheartedly tell you that God is NEVER concerned with money. It’s HIS church. If He wants that church to succeed in His name He will make it happen. He doesn’t need the entire congregations tithe to keep His church going. God does not operate on our worldly money. The question is always, “Well how do we help others if the church doesn’t give the tithe”? I didn’t say we should stop giving. I said that we (as a global Church) need to decide if we are living under Jesus or under the law. And the law only makes people rebel. The more you preach about tithing, the less people actually tithe. There is no such thing as tithing anymore. That word should not be in our vocabulary anymore. I am under Jesus now. His command is to give it all away. And He is working on my heart, working to give me His Character (the fruits of His Spirit) in order for me to be able to give it all away.

    Before Jesus died, people didn’t have the Spirit of Jesus inside of them. They didn’t need Him. They had a law written out to follow. Then Jesus said, “Follow me.”! He said that it will be better when He leaves because the Spirit (Jesus) will come to guide us INDIVIDUALLY. We wouldn’t need the Holy Spirit to guide us to anything if there was still a law that we needed to follow.

    “Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. 42 Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins.43 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. 44 For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.” – Mark 12:41-44

    Jesus doesn’t care about your ‘act’ of tithing. He cares about your heart. Are you striving for Christ-like character? Or are you striving to fulfill a law that has already been fulfilled?

    1. so – this is great to know. so, as a Christian, I can go out and murder someone and as long as I confess and ask for forgiveness – I’m cool with God. no! That’s what you’re saying. That Christian’s can murder and come to Jesus. This article is about Christians in debt. So your answer is – Christians in debt are not under the same laws. Christians in debt do not have to tithe, can murder, etc because of Jesus.
      Good luck to your children as you teach them that pre-marital sex is OKAY. Just ask Jesus for forgiveness. You must be Catholic.

    2. Thank you for your words are healing me. I was following the law about tithing. when I’ve got no money for tithing according some of my situations I was feeling as if I had done wrong or not a good member in the church. T

  2. Thank you for this teaching. Sometimes I feel alone in this area and you have confirmed what I believe in my heart. Trust God!

  3. I actually work for Christians Against Poverty as a debt counsellor. We do complete Financial plans for people who are in debt. The financial institutions will not accept tithing as an item on the budget. They don’t accept giving before paying back their debt, and neither should they. That money is owed to them. When Christians want to tithe in debt situations, the tithing money has to come from other expenses, ie part of their grocery money, clothing allowance or leisure allowance for instance. This is true giving.

    1. I agree we need to pay our debts for sure! I also know what Malachi 3 says about robbing God. Yikes! I believe Scripture teaches we should pay both God and Ceasar (debt); it’s not an either/ or but a both/ and. Thanks for chiming in!

  4. Indeed. I am in full agreement with you. We’ve been going through a very difficult time but have tried always pay our tithes. Our budget may not work out on paper at the beginning of the month, but somehow all the bills get paid each month. God is amazing.

    ONe thing we have learned, We’ve never known trust in God until He was all we had to trust in.

    There’s only one time in the Bible where God says to test him …

    Malachi 3:10 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.

  5. This trail may not have been updated for quite some time but I would like to share.

    God and his angels visited me in a dream one night. I am speaking to Someone who I cannot see. The visible creatures are angels flying around Him (the one in light), whom I am speaking to. The message was clear in the dream. He spoke to me and said “Give to Me what is due for Me… I will take care of everything for you!” After He spoke to me, I responded with full agreement and obedience and in the dream, all of my bank accounts have been filled to the rim. I felt the blessing in the dream with so much amazement.

    I know that usually dreams are succeeded by confirmation in the waking life to ensure that the message does not come from the enemy. To my surprise, I generated a random bible verse the soonest time I woke up. And I got this: Ecclesiastes 5:19 “Moreoever, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil – this is a gift of God”

    This is when my faith on Him was fully cemented. This dream was a response for my prayers that night before I slept asking for His continued blessings even though we are at a crisis situation. Times are really tough and debts are really considered as a big pain, and yet I faithfully give tithes. The blessings are not yet at hand but the Words from Him are promises that are not meant to be broken but to be fulfilled, because our God is a living God! He will never leave us nor forsake us.

    I hope and pray that this is a testament to the powers of tithes as this is a true powerful law. Pray hard and He will listen :)

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