should you tithe while in debtPaying off debt can be tough.

Many Christians might say the same thing about tithing.

I was raised with the idea that tithing was important.

Even though I believed it, that didn’t mean I practiced it.

It wasn’t until recently that my wife and I started tithing in the way the bible says.  Luckily, God’s grace is good. :)

Tithing and Debt

A few years back I had a meeting with a client that was battling debt with little saved for retirement.   I did a quick assessment of the situation and I could easily see what they needed to do to get back on track.  Somewhere in the  conversation the topic of tithing coming up.  I learned that they were tithing and would continue to do so while they were trying to take care of their debt.

What was my reaction?  Watch the video above to find out.  :)

And after you watch, answer the following question in the comments below:

Do you think somebody that is in debt should tithe?


Get the Money Dominating Toolkit

  • 6 Tools to Get Your Money Back on Track
  • The Ultimate Goal Achiever Workbook
  • 2 Free Chapters to my Best Selling Book
  • 21 Days to Destroy Your Bad Habits Worksheet

Comments | 13 Responses

  1. says

    The way I read it (never a guarantee of anything) is that tithing is based on income, not net worth. If, after you tithe you spend more than you make and end up in debt, that should not affect your decision to tithe on the next round of income. In other words, tithing is a P&L thing, “in debt” is a balance sheet thing. Make sense?

    Here’s my experience: we tithed more than 10% even when were in debt. And “by accident” I just happened to make my major investment in the stock market in March 2009. Look it up – that was the bottom. There is no way on earth anybody can plan that out, least of all me. Our investment went up fivefold and we’re out of debt now. You draw your own conclusion… :)

  2. Michael says

    Tithe is the only area where we are called to test God on his promise of blessings. I believe that my finances did a 180 when I started tithing; by that I do not mean setting up an automatic transaction. My wife and I use YNAB so we budget last months income. When we start the budget meeting the first thing we do is pay the 10% tithe, before we make any choices on what to allocate the rest to. in 22 months we have paid off 24k in debt, took a trip to Germany and made a 5% down payment on our first home.

    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 you will not have room enough for it.

  3. Cgirl says

    I grew up in a fairly non-religious household. The catholic church we attended once Grandma and Grandpa moved into our town didn’t mention tithing. Donations were good, but voluntary – maybe due to the Catholic history of saving up to buy indulgences.

    I didn’t hear about “tithing” until highschool; when I was frustrated with the corruption of the church I was attending. Tithing for me seemed to be akin to bribery, “give me 10% of your money or you’ll go to hell.”

    A decade and a half later, I still don’t really understand tithing. I also don’t belong to an organized religion. But I’ve noticed that tithing seems…inspirational and very positive. It could be that God (or in my case, the Gods) work through you when you tithe. It could be that tithing feels like a built in safety net, allowing people to make (financial) decisions out of a feeling of security instead of desperation. It could be a self selecting group, only people who’ve had success while tithing would choose to respond to this post.

    I would say that donating a set amount of money is very important (possibly invaluable) for anyone wanting to change their previous behaviors. Last year I started donating a pittance ($12.50/month) to a worthy cause-and it has improved my self esteem a large amount. I now am a giver, not a taker.

    As far as giving 10% to your church; I don’t believe everyone should give 10%, nor do I think that a church is inherently worthy of your money. Any charity which you believe improves the world works to cover the “church” in my book.

    I think 10% is a good goal, but not necessarily at every stage of the game. (One caveat, if you feel that you need to give 10% of your money away to be a moral person; then you need to give 10% away. Do not compromise your morals because it’s easy) One of the tenants of my faith is to be as self-sufficient as possible; I feel it improper for me to tithe instead of paying off my loans. I’m starting small, and each year plan to tithe a larger amount until I reach 10%.

    In summation, I say that anyone who is trying to take control of their lives should (be applauded and) start donating to a cause they are inspired by. The percentage they donate is less important than the donation. And finally if your family is in a position where donating money would put you in a bind, donate time and effort to a worthy cause in stead.

    (As a side note, please don’t attack me for having left the Catholic church or choosing not to belong to a church. That’s not the point of the article. If you want to pray for God to change my mind, go ahead–just nag me about it.)

  4. Tom Faulkner says

    Actually, tithing isn’t for Christians, that is Old Testament. Applying it to Christians is a confusion of Law and Gospel and a confusion of the Old and New Covenants.

    Jim McClarty did an amazing job with this video explaining why tithing is not for Christians.

    Christians give freely and generously, not from compulsion.

    I hope this helps.

    • Michael says

      While tithe is not mentioned in the New Testament I do not think it was abolished either. How can you reconcile tithe not being NT when Jesus said I did not come to abolish the law but fulfill it? There is also a lot about giving and abundantly and cheerfully, that to me sounds like over and above 10%.

      I would say if your local church is not doing Gods work (how you define that) then it should be given elsewhere. I also feel that if those who are giving tithe out of compulsion need a change of heart.

      • Tom Faulkner says

        It serves no purpose in the New Testament. The tithe supported the Levites. We, being Christians, have no Levites to support. While we do have pastors and our churches to support, it is a confusion of categories to believe that this requires a tithe.

        I would encourage you to watch the short video I linked to above. As I said, Jim McClarty did an amazing job of clarifying this. There are two additional videos that YouTube should link to at the end of the video where he responded to issues people brought up.

        I would never say not to give to a healthy church, believers should be, and should do so generously, as God provides opportunity. However, that isn’t by the tithe, and I agree that does mean it can go well above and beyond 10% for many.

        Regarding tithing by compulsion, a tithe was required, Christians give by grace.

        • Michael says

          Thank you for clarifying. I had watched the video before responding; I just have a different take on it.

          Weather you call it tithe or something else (I believe there are tithes, offerings and extravagant giving; Robert Morris – The Blessed Life is a good book on this topic) I think we are all “called” to give. There is joy and peace that comes from helping others that comes no other way, Christian or not.

        • Chris says

          You are presenting a common misconception of the Old Testament. A tithe was required? I’m not sure what this even means as somehow juxtaposed against providing for pastors today. Old Testament Law is no different than New Testament Freedom. Two sides of the same coin. Certain behaviors can be signals of a person’s inner state, however its the inner state that is what is important. This is the case in OT and NT theology. Makes sense considering it’s the same God and all.

          Jesus corrected the Pharisees understanding of the Old Testament for this type of “required” thinking in relation to commands. Let the Old Testament speak for itself, check out most of the minor prophets as it is a common theme.

          Micah 6:8 sums up “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

  5. says

    It seems that when we try to sort through the letter of the law, it often leads to disagreement. As I’ve tried to live this life of faith and understand and apply biblical teaching, it’s clear to me that the spirit of the law is generosity. I see the tithe as the historical biblical starting point, but not the intended stopping point. Every time Jesus was asked about the law, he expanded the point to a heart issue. I just feel that as Christians we are called to live an other-centered, generous life and to be ever growing in that direction.

  6. says

    Thanks for sharing your story about tithing. Giving 10%/tithing while in debt is hard for many, yet I love your client’s response, “It’s not God’s fault, we’re in debt.” I’m going to use that.

    I believe giving 10% is only a starting point for giving. God won’t stop you from giving more, yet giving less is a red flag regarding our priorities and heart.

  7. says

    Tithing has always been something that I looked at as non optional. It was out of obedience that I’ve never even squabbled over 10%. Even when my husband and I got married and he was let go from his job, tithing wasn’t optional and we continued to give offerings on top of the 10%. Not because we had extra money but because we knew everything we have been given is from Him. And to this day God continues to show his favor in our lives.. Malachi 3:10

    Great Post!!

  8. Katy says

    Just now reading this great post!! My husband and I struggled with this…. We are not in a lot of debt (just my car right now). But in the end, yes we tithe the same day we receive our paychecks. Some days I wonder “why dont we have more money saved?!?! But then I realize that yes we tithe and then put 20% to retirement and that is a whopping 30%. Our belief is that all of these things are God’s first anyway… And we wouldn’t have our jobs without Him. To be perfectly honest, I think it puts our hearts in the right place. And forces us to spend the other 90% more wisely.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *