A Problem With Tithing

Q. I am a fairly new Christian. The tithe thing I am having a big problem with . There is no way I could give 10% of my net income yet alone gross income. Do you have any suggestions?

A. The reason you’re having a big problem is that like most people you have already committed everything you earn to other things. Some of these commitments may have been made years ago when you signed a mortgage, or an installment loan or two, and maybe some credit card agreements, and now you’re obligated to them. Therefore when you add in your other ongoing expenses, there isn’t any extra money laying around that you can use to pay a tithe.

You didn’t mention why you want to tithe, but you should understand that tithing is not a requirement for salvation. It’s something Christians do out of gratitude for having received the free gift of salvation. They also believe that God’s generosity toward them will be governed by their generosity toward others. In fact, Jesus said as much in Luke 6:38.

And Paul said that whoever sows sparingly will reap sparingly but whoever sows generously will reap generously (2 Cor. 9:6). People who develop the habit of giving generously often find that the Lord increases their ability to give so they can be even more generous (2 Cor. 9:11).

So, if you’re worried about tithing because you think God requires it, don’t be. But if you want to give as an expression of your gratitude, and feel bad because you can’t give 10%, I suggest you start with an amount you can cheerfully give and be faithful to that amount. Then as your ability improves, increase your giving accordingly.

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