Wouldn’t Tithing Less Leave More Room In Your Budget?
I noticed that you give a sizeable amount in tithes. I am a Christian myself and give regularly but I can’t help but worry that perhaps giving less to the church might make your budget more lenient, say for emergencies and the such. I firmly believe that we should all live within our means and that the Lord will provide the rest. However, I also believe that we play an active role in helping ourselves, saving for our children’s education, etc. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading and learning through your articles."
Tawra: Dear Abdeli,
I need to update the budget to reflect the fact that we do keep $500 in savings for emergencies. We won’t set aside more for emergencies until all our debt is gone. We have some debt from Mike’s video equipment that we need to pay off first. (note: we paid that off in 2006)
No, I don’t think we should ever stop tithing or lower our tithes to save some money. Here’s why:
First, just because we made some poor financial decisions doesn’t mean that it’s God’s responsibility to fix it for us. He can fix it if he wants, but our debt is the consequence of us trusting in the credit cards and not Him.
Second, reducing our tithe is telling God, "I don’t think you can take care of me." God gives us everything we have and as recognition for that, he tells us to give 10% back to Him. It’s the least we can do to give him back the 10% to help others.
Interestingly enough, the people I know who reduced their tithes to fund other things found that their finances were no better off when they weren’t tithing.
It’s contradictory to say say "I can’t help but worry" but then turn around and say but we "if we live within our means the Lord will provide the rest". If you worry, then you aren’t trusting God. The Bible is full of commands for us not to worry. Taking money from God to pay for your kids education (an expense that I don’t believe parents should pay anyway for the most part) or to "help yourself" is not letting him take care of you.
It’s all about trust. We either trust Him or we don’t. In a few weeks, we are going to be coming out with the story of how mom survived on $500 a month. She has a lot of examples of trusting in there and how God did the "impossible". That doesn’t mean that you go out and eat, put your kids in a bunch of activities, and spend what you want and then expect Him to come through if these things cause a crisis. Most people are more than able to have at least $500-$1000 savings if they really wanted to. Even my mom who lives on about $500 a month has that much saved.
Anyway the point is, God asks that we depend on him and not ourselves.
I’m glad that you enjoy our articles! Thanks for letting us know!
Update 2010: We have $3,000 in savings and are debt free except for our house. We are putting everything on it to get it paid off quickly. We hope in 3 years or less. We do have money in our business that we can use for an emergency that is set aside to reprint books.
photo by: PhillipC