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Tithing has been on my mind and heart an awful lot lately. I have started a new bible study over Proverbs and it talks a little about it. Tithing is the act of giving your first 10% of your income to God. I have often thought about it as I do my monthly budget. God has always had a line in my budget, but I am now thinking about increasing it.
The Bible talks about it in Leviticus 27:30, “Every tenth of the land’s produce, grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD. It is holy to the LORD.” Leviticus is talking about produce and fruit because that was a valuable currency, but it is now translated into the money that we make. 10% seems like a lot when you start doing the math. I have always thought that I was a generous person, until I started this Bible study.
Last week, I was talking with a friend who is also trying to pay off her debt. She was telling me how she just sold some clothes for $17. While it was very little, she brought it up that she was excited to tithe the $1.70. Her message to me really stood out. “It’s important to me to tithe 10% of anything I make. Regardless of the amount. Showing God my heart, you know?”
No. I actually didn’t. I was so speechless about her message that I actually just sat there staring at it for a minute or two. Sure, on the weeks that I went to church, I would throw a $10 or $20 in the basket as it came around.
I had seen my parents do that for YEARS. Actually, I remember being really small sitting on my dad’s lap in church. When the offering plate would come around, he would hand me the folded up check and I would get to put it in there. I remember being so incredibly excited about dropping it in there. But it is easy to give when the check is coming out of someone else’s bank account.
God wants you to give with a cheerful heart.
2nd Corinthians 9:7 says , ” Each person should do as he has decided in his heart– not reluctantly or out of compulsion, since God loves a cheerful giver.”
I was so blown away by my friend’s conversation, that I had decided that I was going to make a “TITHE” envelope to add to my stack. When I came home with cash, I would simply put the 1st 10% into that envelope. This would make it a real priority instead of continuously stealing it from other envelopes when I do go to church (most of the time I watch my sermons live online because Sundays are my only day off.)
Now, I truly believe that God teaches you a lesson multiple times over before you really get it.I have to giggle a little, because I was raised to believe that God has a great sense of humor, especially when teaching you things. So, I had my brand new envelope ready to be filled. I had $26 dollars in there from working that weekend. I am listening to the sermon on Sunday.
Guess what Pastor Terry was preaching about? Yup. Tithing.
After these three events, I have decided to be more meticulous about tithing, even though I am still in debt.
Here are my 6 reasons Why I am Making Tithing a Priority during my Debt Free Journey!
1. A closed hand never loses money, but it is hard to gain money too.
As my pastor said, I am not going to promise you that money is going to rain from the sky when you start giving. But when you open yourself up to being more generous, there are usually blessings to follow. Imagine that you have $100 bill in your hand and you tightly close your fist around it. Now, that $100 bill is going to stay in your hand, but it is pretty hard to get more money into your hand as well. Dave Ramsey used this analogy in one of his lessons and it really stood out to me.
2. The Bible says to tithe.
This may feel like a poor reason for some people, but I have committed to reading my bible 3-4 times a week this year. In reading, I have learned a lot of things about how I should be presenting my life and has made me want to change. I am excited for my recent lessons and I am embracing this one as well. It is brought up in so many verses that I obviously can’t site them all, but the Bible reminds me that it shows my priorities as well as shows my heart.
3. If you can’t get by on 90% of your income, that extra 10% probably isn’t going to change it much.
I have read this a few places and I agree. If you are struggling to get by on 90% of your income, then you are also probably struggling to get by on 100%. In this case, it is time to increase your income or decrease your spending habits. 10% really isn’t going to change how you live off your money. If you are struggling, check out 13 Daily Habits that will Change Your Bank Account. If you haven’t even thought about a budget, check out how to get one started now!
Did you know that people under the poverty level give in higher percentages than those with a larger income? Ecclesiastes 5 talks about the love of money. Those that love money and it is their first priority, will never have enough of it. With an increase in income, it becomes harder for people to increase their giving, but those with lower income give on average 7-9% of their income. While people with income over $100K are likely to give less than 2-3%. Now, I know that debt doesn’t discriminate when it comes to income levels. Usually the more income, the more debt, but I find these statistics fascinating.
4. It helps my church
I have absolutely fallen in love with my church and almost everything about it. I have talked to many of the leadership and they are all very down to Earth. But their livelihood and the church’s electricity have to get paid somehow. I can’t imagine a church service with no sound system or lights. It would be a dark and quiet day. Helping my church in the ways that I can, even if it is small, is important to me.
5. Tithing reminds me of my priorities.
God should be first in my life, if I want to live a full life according to the Bible. My pastor used a story of his kids to remind me of my priorities. Are your priorities pizza take out or God?
When my kids were young, they got an allowance. My wife and I would divide it up in dimes and teach them about the percentages. 10% to Tithing, XX% to Spending, and XX% to Savings. Most of you have probably seen the jars for kids. Anyway, it was easy for my kids to tithe when it was just a couple of times out of their allowance, especially since mom and I were still paying the bills. As teenagers, they started working and it was still pretty easy to give because mom and I were still paying the bills and buying the pizza. They didn’t have much to worry about and they had a little bit of income. Giving gets hard when you have to decide between ordering the pizza or eating the food in the fridge and using that money to tithe. But that is where their priorities come into play.
6. It increases my faith
God provides my income and everything I have. Tithing reminds me that God will provide in ways that I never ever expected him to. During my debt free journey, I have had jobs that I wasn’t qualified, opportunities that should have been given to someone else, and tips while serving that I didn’t necessarily work hard to receive. I have had overly generous people in all aspects of my life.
Tithing also increases my faith because I vow to never imagine where else that money could go. Because I know God will provide, I know that I will be able to earn more money in the future. I have a super irregular income. As a waitress and a blogger, I never know what I am going to make in a month, but I have to trust God and have faith that he will continue to provide income as I continue this journey.
I once was given a quote that said “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips that called.” I fully believe that God led me to this debt free journey. He placed the crazy series of events that led me to striving for debt free. He gave me the platform of my blog to write about my journey and encourage others to start and stay motivated along their own personal journey.
If you would like to watch the sermon that led me to these decisions, you can watch it online right here! I love my church and it has taught me a ton of great things in the last 3 months that I have decided to set aside time for it.