How Do I Begin To Tithe?

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This was a comment on our tithing post that I thought everyone would like to read.

Do you have any advice for someone who grew up in a non-Christian home where finances were never discussed let alone tithing, who became a Christian and began working? After having a family, I learned more about tithing but now the budget is waaaaay too tight! In fact, the savings & income are dwindling with the economy so it’s going from tight to not enough. Any advice on tithing? Tina


Tina, tithing like so many things in a Christian’s life usually boils down to faith. Do I trust God? If we really logically thought about it, it doesn’t make sense – we trust Him to provide someplace unbelievable and special like Heaven for us but we can’t trust Him to provide groceries for us next week or pay our mortgage.

We often trust our employer more than God. Don’t we have faith that that employer is going to give us our paycheck at the end of each week? He is human but yet we trust him and take him at his word that he will pay us.

One of the great stories of faith is of Peter walking on the water (Matt. 14:29). It took a lot of faith to get out of the boat and walk to Christ, but there are a couple of things to note about that story. In vs. 27, Jesus said “Take courage….Don’t be afraid” before Peter started because He knew how easily we are frightened and encouraged us to do the right thing anyway. The other thing to note is that Peter only started sinking when he took his eyes off of Jesus and started looking at the storms (financial problems?) blowing all around him.

In the same way, Jesus commanded Peter to come to Him and Peter obeyed in spite of the storms blowing all around. We need to do the same when God commands us to do something – even in spite of the storms we feel are causing us to sink.

We should do it not because God will strike us with lightning if we don’t (no, He won’t) but because we love Him and have faith that He will take care of the other things. Tithing in one way has nothing to do with money but with our hearts. In any relationship, whether with a spouse, child or friend there is a need for each person to love and to sacrifice to make it work… to have complete trust in the other person.

In a way we are telling God we don’t trust Him to help us or take care of us. How that must break His heart in the same way our heart would break if our child or spouse would tell us (if not in words, in actions) “I don’t trust you or have faith in you that you will help me or do what is best for me.” I know I break God’s heart and hurt Him so often with things I don’t realize I am doing that if I have anything I can do to show my love I jump right on it and tithing is one of those things.

Is there any place in your finances you would be willing to make a real sacrifice so you can tithe? Be brave and next paycheck, just take 10% off of the top and see if the rest of your bills don’t get paid anyway. I personally would use my savings. Are you trusting in the savings to see you through more than God? These are all things to think about. These are all ways to stretch our faith and to grow.

I know it is scary to step out and start doing that, which is why Jesus said “Do not be afraid,” but once you do, you can’t believe what comes after that. You will have very little to fear in your life once you find that God really does take care of us no matter what.

My finances and my needs being met never work out on paper. Most people who tithe will tell you the same thing. I don’t know how it happens- it just does. Bottom line – tithing has nothing to do with money, only with faith.




  1. Lisa says

    My husband and I are both Christians. We went through Dave Ramsey last year – we were givers to our church, but not yet tithing (not at the 10% mark). It weighed on us, especially as we looked through our budget going through Financial Peace (Dave’s class). We both prayed. God laid a number on our hearts. It was not yet 10%, but a step in that direction. It was AMAZING. We were both convicted separately and it was AMAZING how He laid that on our hearts and asked us to be faithful to Him. We have a couple other smaller sources of income – we felt like anything over the “steady job” income was to be a strict 10%. If I even sell something on Craig’s List, you better believe it is tithed at 10%. God has begun to work on my heart about stepping up completely to the 10%. It’s something I have to talk to my husband about as we have been faithful to our previous conviction for over 6 months now. I truly believe God is walking us through this to get us where He expects us to be. I have no shame in admitting I am not at the mark yet, but exactly where God has me at this day. As an aside, the “steady job” went away when my husband was laid off. Funny how that works, eh. No matter. We had severance and continued to stick with our convictions. We were blessed with an unexpected gift and true to our commitment, we tithed 10% on that gift. We actually gave more during the time my husband was in-between jobs than any other time. It was awesome to see how God worked miracles for us. All I can say is prayer, prayer, and then some more prayer!

  2. mary says

    My husband’s family tithed for the first time and thought they would starve since they had a crop failure that really gave them a hard time that year. However,they kept getting just enough coming in to tithe and get by on mortgage payments, utilities, food, etc. After several years of tithing, they sat down and down some accounting and discovered that they had done better since they started the tithing than ever before. They were faithful tithers until they died. I told the story in a Sunday School class and the teacher laughed and laughed–the same thing had happened to him and his wife. You may not get richer, but you manage to get by, tithe and all

  3. Larabelle says

    I have always given 11% of my gross salary to the tithe and God has supernaturally provided for me. Despite the fact that everyone says we are in a recession, I have paid off $76K in debt since Jan 2008 and still tithed 11% on a net income of $62K. God is so Good!!!

  4. Mary says

    My husband and I were both convicted separately about tithing as well. We knew without a doubt that’s what we should do. It’s amazing how clearly the Lord speaks when He calls us to do something.

  5. Kelly says

    Read Malachi 3:8-10. This is the only place where the Lord invites us to test Him:

    “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me.
    “But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’
    “In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me. 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 you will not have room enough for it.

    I worked up gradually to tithing at a full 10% of my gross income. I started with 5% of my net (take home) pay, then increased it little by little as I felt comfortable (actually as I saw that it all seemed to work out!). Eventually I made the leap to 10% of my gross. I’m still doing it, but let me tell you, the temptation to cut back has been present lately, especially with prices going up and no pay raises the last couple of years.

    I will say this: I believe that if I continue to tithe, the Lord will continue to be faithful and make sure we have enough to pay all of our bills. We may not have loads of cash in the bank, but we always seem to manage somehow. There is also a little bit of fear that if I cut back, somehow my “savings” will end up being used for unforseen expenses, so I continue to tithe.

    All of that said, I tithe only on MY paycheck–my husband does not tithe on his. Before we married I told him that I tithe 10% of my gross and that that was not negotiable–I would continue to do so even if he didn’t agree. He said was fine with that and has never complained about it. I would like for him to tithe on his paycheck, but I feel its God’s job to convict his heart about that, not mine, so I leave him alone and don’t nag.

    I have rambled here, but my suggestion is to start with a percentage you are willing to try and then work up from there. I hope this helps.

  6. catherine says

    We just started to give to cbn today.It’s not 10 percent yet. Since we are disabled we bring in under one thousand a month. So I was wondering does GOD still bless you with that?I felt like that what we are able to start with.I hope some day to be able to give more.I know that it is suppose to be ten percent.As GOD provides then we will be able to give more. LORD willing.

    • says

      Cathrine, tithing is really between you and God. As I mentioned in one of the articles below it is a heart thing and a faith thing. For me from what I understand in the scriptures, God wants us to step out on faith in everything in our lives and that is usually what He is waiting for us to do. Usually saying I will give you this much and if you bless me then I will give you more isn’t what I think He truly wants from us and isn’t stepping out in faith. I think He wants us to say here is what you ask from me and I have faith you will provide for me everything else.

      Let me put it this way. I love my grandkids with my whole being. I go without many things which would make my life comfortable and sometimes things I need, in order to have the money to buy them a special gift or to do something for them. I don’t consider it a sacrifice and I don’t expect them to bless me in return. I do it only because I love them sooo much.

      My feelings for God are the same. I don’t tithe at my convenience or because I expect a blessing I do it for one reason and one alone, He has asked me to but mostly because I love Him. Even if I never saw a blessing I would keep loving Him and doing things He asks, that is called unconditional love. He gives it to me and I give it in return.

      When we say we will give more if God provides we tend to forget He has already provided 100% of what we have now. If we can’t trust Him with what He has already provided why should He give us even more? At what point do we say He has given us enough so now I will start tithing. It’s a funny thing but believe it or not the more money people get the harder it is for them to tithe because then they have to give even larger sums and they use the excuse “God surely doesn’t expect me to give that much does He?”.

      I don’t say any of this to discourage you because at least you are trying to do something but I say it to try and answer your question. I tithed when some months I only had $350 come in and I had two kids. I always did just fine and can site case after case where that has happen but like I said you need to do it with the right motives otherwise tithing or anything about our Christian lives will be worth not much if we don’t do it with the right attitude and heart.

      If you want to know more check out these spots on the web site to maybe answer your questions. We have several places where we talk about tithing these are just two.

      Wouldn’t Tithing Less Leave More Room In Your Budget?

      Dealing with a tight budget.

  7. Beverly Penney says

    Hello ladies! I have a tithing question. I know, and have been in a position that God provided everything for my family and myself. However, now I am married to a man from Tasmania and I have moved down here of course. I’m an American. He believes in God, but that is all. He doesn’t not believe in Jesus, but kind of ignores Him. I am a born-again Christian, charasmatic and I have a hard time talking to him about Jesus and what He has done for me in my life. Question – I receive my social security from the USA and we are both on disability support pension here in Tasmania. My husband handles ALL the money. It goes into my account but he transfers it to the “Household” account so he can pay bills etc. How do I tithe if I even have to almost beg him for grocery money each week. We make enough (in fact more than we made when I was working). Story – In Oct 08, I had what I thought was a really bad cold. My manager told me she thought it was bronchitis and I should go to the doctor. (Now my manager is also my friend and we went to Bible study together that she had been attending and she invited me along, I jumped at the chance.) Well, as soon as I went to the doctor I ended up in the emergency room at the hospital. From there, I ended up in surgery for pneumonia, they had to drain my right lung which is only 2/3 there now due to scar tissue. I died in the operating room and then the doctors only gave me a 10% chance of survival. My husband will NOT go into a hospital so he signed my manager as next of kin so she could come in the ICU to see me the 9 days I was there. She continued to come and see me and pray with me the entire 50 days I was in hospital. As did two of the other ladies from the Bible Study. One even took my yucky pajamas etc home to laundry for me and would bring them back “ironed.” I am now still partially bed-ridden and haven’t been able to get back out to Bible Study as it is a half-hours drive away and I don’t feel confident enough yet to drive that far. I don’t know why I have told you all this as my real question is how do I tithe if I have no access to money? I would appreciate any advice. You have Blessed me so much through this website I am really thankful I found you. Beverly

    • says

      Beverly, you do have your plate full. God really knows our heart and the desires of our heart. It is our relationship with Him which is most important. You know my views on tithing and I hope what the Bible says but in this situation you have to let it go and not worry about it. Your husband is the head of the family and it is his responsibility where he spends the money not yours. It is between him and God. He is suppose to be the spiritual leader in the house whether that is good or bad.

      Now this next part I am saying not to judge but to try and explain. First if you were saved after you were married and your husband isn’t then the fact that you are married to an unbeliever is more important and needs to be put first over things like tithing. You probably already have read and know I Peter 3:1 but you might read it again. Make sure your heart is straight in every area, give your husband to God and then try living as loving and nonjudgmental life as you can before him.

      If you were a Christian and married your husband then this is the perfect example of why God says we shouldn’t married an unbeliever. God never tells us to do things to make our lives miserable or to keep us from doing things which make us feel good but because He knows the hurt and consequences of certain things which is why He tells us not to do them, to save us so much hurt later.

      If you were a Christian and married him then once again His believing in Christ is most important of all. I don’t know that this is for you but it might help some other wives. Make sure your heart is really right. Be totally honest with yourself and with God in the things which might be wrong in your life spiritually. Sometimes it is easier to keep our focus on things like tithing, church attendance, ministries, reading our Bible (for the wrong reason) and trying to show our husband how spiritual we are then to really focus on our heart and if it’s motives are right. Are we doing things or “works” because that is easier then focusing on our own shortcomings or sins.

      Pray for your husband each day and lay him at Christ feet then concentrate on your relationship to God and all the rest will just fall into place if you get those things straighten out.

      One last thing. For all of us (and I mean all of us) when we do something which God has told us not to do but we do it anyway. He will forgive us if we ask but that does not mean all of the consequences of what we did wrong or sin will be taken away.If you have sex outside of marriage God can forgive that but you still may get a sexually transmitted disease. If you spend and spend foolishly and get deep in debt God will forgive you and help you but you still have to pay the debt. If you spend your whole life being a gossip and judging others you may have to be lonely and with no one liking you etc.

  8. harriet says

    Also, if you can take a comment from a Godless heathen atheist like me, your husband sounds like a jerk. He should have visited you in the hospital, for heaven’s sake, and you shouldn’t have to beg him for money.

  9. melanie says

    When my H and I are faithful in giving back to God what is really His to start with things just go more smoothely. Not saying things don’t break, wear out and nobody gets sick. It just gets taken care of. When we are not faithful thinking we have a better way things go really awry. Fir instance early last year we started putting money back to take a trip to DisneyWorld with the grandkids. In Aug my H ended up needing a colon resection and in Sept I had both hips replaced. I don’t work and while H was recouping he got a small short term disability. To shorten the story all the bills got paid, we didn’t go without food and we were still able to put enough back into the DW fund to go and came back with money. No we didn’t buy a lot of stuff and we ate simply but we still got to go. This was when we were failthful in our giving. On paper it shouldn’t work but with God it does. Just a side note, some tithe on their take home and some on their gross. My commitment is on the gross, I feel if I do otherwise the govt is getting first fruits. But this has to be bwtween you and God on what He is convicting you to do. Tithing helps you to grow in your walk.

    • says

      Melanie I too tithe on the gross because like you I believe we should give God the first fruits and not what is left after they take out SS, taxes, medical etc.

  10. Sharon Matthews says

    Hi, My father told me long ago that he knew that he couldn’t afford NOT to tithe. I slipped up once and felt like I couldn’t tithe any longer (for at least a short time), so I stopped tithing. What happened was that even with keeping my tithe, I didn’t have enough money to pay my bills,etc. However, when it finally dawned on me that I was not only being disobedient, but actually proving my father’s theory, I started paying my full tithe again and all of a sudden, I was able to pay my bills. Some months I had to short pay a couple of things, but everything got paid. I urge you to obey God and pay the full tithe with a cheerful attitude of faith and trust in God to take care of you and I promise you, He will bless you!

  11. Luke Nohren says

    As some of you have mentioned, I too have been through Dave Ramsey’s FPU classes and my wife and I tithe regularly. I’m looking to have some minor surgery but will be off work a few months only receiving some short term disability benefits.

    I have no problem tithing from my gross I come but how is this seen? For that matter, what about tax returns? Any honest advice is welcomed.

    • says

      Luke this subject usually opens up an emotional hornets nest. Before I answer your question let me just say one thing (ok maybe 2 things) :). So many people stew and worry over their tithe how much to give, am I giving too much, should I even give, what do I give, the bottom line is the main reason we should give is because we love God so much we and we want to show that love by giving to Him, helping with His ministry etc. and we love Him so we do it without expecting any returns from Him. That is not to say He won’t bless us but are we willing to give even if He never does but just because we love Him?

      One reason I personally think God asks us to tithe is because I have yet to meet a person who doesn’t put his money where his heart is and that is what it boils down too. The goal for every Christian should be to get to the point of giving with so much love and generosity that not only do you not worry whether you are giving too much but you can’t hardly control yourself from giving more. Most of us have a long ways to go to get to that point.

      I once had a pastor tell me I was tithing too much. Once I got over the shock I asked him “Do you really think if I am giving God too much He won’t find a way to give it back to me and replace it?”

      Now to answer your question if you have already tithed on your gross then you have tithed on your tax return money. It is pretty easy to figure give 10% on any income. If you have already paid on that income you don’t have to do it again.

      There are 3 ways the Bible teaches about giving

      1. Tithe -10% of everything you earn. I round it up and give more because sometimes I receive a box of tomatoes from a neighbor or sacks of groceries as a thank you from someone I did something for so that way all my income is covered.

      2. Giving – this is giving above your tithe just in gratefulness to God, maybe a successful surgery, finding a good job, seeing a special need or just because.

      3. Alms – this is giving above the tithe and giving to the poor or needy. Often people like to substitute this for their tithe because it isn’t quite as hard to give someone a shirt we don’t like or want any more as it is to give our hard earned cash.

      Tithing is a command the other two are a choice. The interesting thing is the closer we draw to God the easier and more natural all of these become. When I see my grandkids no one has to tell me to run and give them a huge hug and pull out some candy or a present. Why because I love them and can’t give them enough. I don’t count and make sure I only gave them one of my ten candies and not two.

      Besides we don’t want God counting and being careful He is only giving us just the exact amount of blessings we deserve. Thank goodness He loves me so much He gives me way more then I deserve and He doesn’t hesitate in giving that.

  12. Katherine says

    This is something that I have in recent days find to be SO TRUE. “The blessing of the Lord is unexplainable”. Just think about it and allow it to soak into your spirit. Trust Him and keep the faith.

    Love You much,

  13. Sandy says

    Our pastor has told us not to give our entire tithe to the church if we are disciplined enough to hold onto some and, when we see a need, cover that need. So I tithe to the church, but then each month I give $100 extra. I never know where the $100 is going to go. Just last week a friend passed, so I donated $50 to hospice and $50 to the American Cancer Society in her name. Each month my $100 goes somewhere different.

  14. Mary says

    Did I miss something? I grew up Mormon and am well aquainted with the concept of tithing. A Mormon who does not tithe does not reach an exalted position in the after life. But, as a new Christian, did I miss in the New Testament this principal of tithing? It does say to give all you have and it says to give as you purpose in your heart. Also, in the New Testament where is it that we would have to give our offerings/tithes to a local church? Since, as I understand it, we do not have to earn grace, but is freely given. Did I miss a principle of tithing in the New Testament, the age of grace. I know it is in the Old Testament, under the old law. One of the most confusing things for an ex-Mormon is all the different beliefs from the same book. Thanks

    • says

      Mary this is so hard to explain in just one simple reply but I will try. Some of things may not apply to you at the moment. By that I mean in the same way that we don’t expect the same level of maturity from a 2 yr. old as we do from a 30 yr. old man, God is the same with new Christians. I say this because I don’t want you to be overwhelmed. I may not answer your questions specifically but I will give you some general answers and you need to pray about them look up the scripture and decide what God is laying on your heart to do.

      First let me explain the difference between grace and the law. Under the law you do things out of duty only and to either save yourself from punishment or to earn rewards and those are the only reasons people stick to a law. Under grace you do things out of love and only love not expecting a reward and not having to worry that if you don’t do it you will be punished.

      For example take two couples which are divorced. The first dad doesn’t pay child support. He makes all kinds of excuses why he can’t pay – I just bought a new pick up, my new condo is so expensive, I had to take that vacation because of the stress in my life, I just don’t have the extra money. He is told by the law then he must pay so much a month to his children and if he doesn’t he will be punished. He refuses to do it even then so they have to garnish his pay check each month. He lives with anger and worry all the time because of his punishment.
      Compare that to the other dad who loves his kids so much he takes public transportation, lives in a studio apt, and faithfully gives most of his money to his children for their support even taking on an extra job so they can have more. He sacrificiallygives not because he will be punished or because he will be rewarded but because he loves his kids so much he can’t do or give enough to them.

      Each day I am in so much awe and filled with amazement and love because when I think of what Christ did for me I can’t control my giving to Him not just in money but in my time, my thinking, my whole life. I personally tithe not because there is some verse or law in the Bible that says I should or because I will get some great reward but because I love the Lord, period.

      Let me list a few things to give you some info on giving and tithing that may help you get a clearer idea.

      ~ The Bible is the Bible. If God hadn’t wanted us to follow the Old and New Testament both He would have only given us the New Testament. The O.T. must have been of some importance because Jesus was always quoting from it. You can’t dissect it and say I will believe and follow this or that. You can’t say I love the verse “Be still and know I am God.” in the O.T. and say but I don’t think the book of Malachi where it talks about tithing is of no importance. It’s all or nothing.
      Even though we should try to follow the laws or what I like to call “Guidelines for our own good”,the important thing and where grace kicks in is not killing yourself by always thinking about or having your waking hours controlled by worrying am I doing this right or that right. Do I need to do more of this – oh no I failed. I am so guilty now! This is not what God wants. Our waking hours should be spent talking to and thinking about God and developing our relationship with Him. When we do this the most amazing thing happens and that is we start longing and trying to do everything to please Him just out of love for Him and He helps us to do it.

      Often when one is being convicted about something it is easy to say that this is only for the O.T. and not the age of grace. This is so wrong because the N.T. has never taken anything from the O.T. and lowered the standard of it. For example the O.T. says not to commit adultery. The N.T. says not only should we not commit adultery but we shouldn’t even lust in our minds. In the same way the O.T. says to tithe but in the N.T. when Jesus talked about giving He used examples like the widow and how she gave all to the temple (church) (Luke 21:1-4), and the rich young ruler how he was to sell all he had (Mark 10:21,22). One of the best examples of the difference of giving under the law and grace is Zacchaeus (Luke 19:2-8) where he after coming to Jesus gave 50%. You see when you live under grace there is so much love in your heart for God first and then others you can’t control your desire to give.

      We so often think of tithe as something under the law but Abraham gave his tithe (Gen. 14:18-20) long before the law.

      As far as there being a command on giving to the church, I’m not sure where else I should give it if not to God’s “temple” (they way they did in the O.T.) to support His church and to help His men and woman of God to have the funds to not only spread the Word about Christ and to help support God’s people who go there. Why do we not hesitate to give to “causes” when we see poor little abused animals or starving children, with out really checking things out but just write a check without thinking yet we stew and debate for ages on whether or not we should and how much we give to God’s work?

      There is so much more that I can’t begin to answer it all and to explain. Here is one of the better messages on tithing and giving I have hear that might help you. You can just fast forward through the music and get to the message if you want.


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