When giving gets hard, try to remember that God gave you the amount you’re giving in the first place. I find that when I worry about my finances and make a conscious effort to hand those concerns over to God, He is present in my struggle and abundantly cares for my needs to where I’ll have more than enough. Especially when I continue to tithe through it all.
When I came home from the semester I spent in Washington, D.C., at the end of my sophomore year, I felt like my life was a financial mess. The only job I had that semester and the following summer was a freelance newspaper reporting job where I was paid only once a month or once every two or three months. It was inconsistent, and so it was hard to know if I would ever have enough. I was worried about whether or not journalism could sustain me once I was out of school, but I continued tithing whenever I received a check in the mail.
And God blessed it. My bank account somehow seemed bigger than I thought it should be every time I checked it. The check I sent in to the program before the beginning of the semester to cover damages and neglect in the apartment came back in the full amount (even though the apartment severely needed a deep cleaning when I left and when my roommates left after me). I started receiving more articles than normal to write each week, increasing the amount I was paid.
I took a class called “Faith and Money” during my senior year of college, and the professor changed my perspective on finances when he reminded us over and over again that God already owns everything we have. God owns the 10 percent we are supposed to tithe. It’s not a pleasant thought to realize that when we fail to tithe, we are withholding from God what is His. God knows most of us aren’t rich and living in abundance, but He still expects us to tithe. And when we do, He takes care of us. He provides.
Our finances and our possessions are gifts God blesses us with so we can bless others in turn. It’s like the parable in Luke where a rich man discovers his manager has been dishonest in handling his finances. One of my favorite passages from that parable is Luke 16:10-11: “‘One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?'” We learn that we cannot serve both God and money, and through tithing, we learn to become faithful stewards with the resources God provides us.
Even if we are barely scraping by, like the widow in Matthew 12:41-44 who gives all she has, we should dedicate ourselves to tithing. We shouldn’t tithe based on feelings of obligation, and we shouldn’t cringe whenever we write a check to the church or put our $1 or $20 in the offering plate. We should search our hearts and give out of thankfulness for God’s provision.
That means we give when we have little. We choose to serve God and give back 10 percent of our income because He allows us to keep the other 90 percent as a gift. And we can choose to hoard that gift, or we can invest it back in the church, in our communities or in others.
What blessings have you experienced in tithing?