In order to prevent the 3 children of my wife’s sister from going into foster care when she and her husband split up, my wife and I took them in, even though we already had two children of our own. It has put such a tremendous strain on our budget that we haven’t been able to pay our tithe for several months. Our pastor and other members of the church have slipped us cash and gift cards from time to time to help us get by. I know that tithing is not required, but I feel guilty about not contributing some amount of money to my church. I want to do right by my church but I need to do right by my family. Should I tithe if it will stretch our monthly budget to its limits?
It sounds to me like your friends and your pastor see your willingness to take in these children as a ministry, and have shown a desire to help. To me this is an indication that the Lord is giving to you with the measure you have used in giving to Him (Luke 6:38). Are you sure you want to change that? Deciding to use your tithe to supplement your family budget could be a sign that you would rather settle for what you’re guaranteed to receive instead of allowing the Lord to bless you as He sees fit. Remember, His budget is not limited, it is only yours that’s being stretched.
I believe if you let Him make up the shortfall in your budget He will, but if you want to make ends meet on your own He will stand aside. It’s your choice. He doesn’t need your money, but He would like you to learn to live by faith, putting His kingdom first and letting Him see to your needs. By the way, worrying about where your next dollar is coming from is not living by faith (Matt. 6:31-33). Living by faith is not worrying about it because you’ve given the problem to Him.