During my younger years, I used to watch my mother put some coins in the offering basket on Sunday. Then I became an adult, I had a job and made money, I followed my mom by giving my offerings at the church.
I thought that was enough. But when I learned about tithing, my perspective about giving changed. At first, I was hesitant to give my tithes. I convinced myself it wasn’t enough money that I had to give it away. I thought, tithing was just for the wealthy and 10% was just too much for me to give away.
Eventually, after continuous reading and understanding the principle of tithing, I started giving my full tithes to the church.
I know, when I first started tithing, it was very, very difficult for me. It was difficult not to feel worried and anxious because it was at the time when we had lots of debts to pay and my husband just got a new job after being unemployed for almost a year. It was difficult for me to give knowing that we barely had enough to cover our expenses.
The funny thing is, every time I was brave enough to give a little more, the Lord came through in increasingly bigger ways. At first, I thought it was probably just a coincidence, but it wasn’t long until I was sure it was not. From the free food and groceries, to the unexpected increase of revenues on my blog and side hustles, God was very clearly showing me that He already had everything under control and that I just needed to relax and trust.
Before I go on with my tithing story, let me share with you first what tithing is and why it’s important.
What is tithing?
The word “tithe” means 10% which means that we’re supposed to give back to God the first 10% of our money.
“A tenth of the produce of the land, whether grain or fruit, is the Lord’s, and is holy.” -Leviticus 27:30
“Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops.” -Proverbs 3:9
These verses are essentially saying to give a portion, specifically a tenth, of whatever you make (salary/income) back to God. And firstfruits is just a biblical way of saying that you should give first—before you do anything else with your money.
That means, if you take home ₱20,000 a month, you’re supposed to give ₱2,000 a month in tithe to the Church.
Now, before we get too far into this, please know that I’m not judging you if you aren’t tithing because I know that we’ve struggled trying to make the full 10% happen in our household.
In fact, we’ve only started tithing as a family this month and I’ll tell you why in a bit.
Psalm 24:1 states,
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”
The Bible makes it pretty clear that our money is not actually our own, but God’s.
Yes, you work hard at your job. You try to save more and spend less. But at the end of the day, we are all still dependent on God for our health and our wealth, and we are expected to use the resources He gives us wisely.
But I don’t have a lot of money?
You don’t have to have a lot of money to tithe. Remember the widow in Luke 21:1-4? She only had two copper coins, but she gave them to God willingly. That’s what tithing is all about.
Tithing is a physical reminder that God provides, and that He should be the focus of our attention. We shouldn’t tithe to prove how holy we are, or because we have to, but because God wants us to remember that our treasure is in Heaven.
Even if you don’t have a job or even if you don’t have much money, you can still practice tithing. There’s something life-changing in living a generous life. Don’t wait as long as I did to miss out on the joy of giving. It will enrich your life in ways you never thought possible.
Proverbs 11:24 says,
“One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.”
My Husband Started Tithing
On my previous post, I shared that my husband, John, lost his job last month.
During the first two weeks of his unemployment, we have experienced God’s faithfulness and provisions in so many ways.
One of the unexpected blessings that we had was when my husband’s boss sent him his full salary on February 1st even if he was no longer employed with the company.
And after praying about it for over two years, John finally decided to give his first full tithe to the church when he received his last salary. Actually, we gave more than 10% of what he received because we wanted to honor the Lord for this unexpected blessing which all came from Him.
During our bible study with the family, I shared verses and stories in the Bible about tithing. One of my favorite verses is in 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 there will not be room enough to store it.”
This verse gives us so much hope that even if things are uncertain, we know that God is with us and He will provide for us. We just need to obey and trust in Him.
On February 20th, one month after John was eliminated from his position in the company, he got a call from his other boss who told him that the company decided to give him a separation fee. And he received another paycheck. Praise God!
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.” – Ephesians 3:20
Now, I’m not saying you should give so you can get. What I’m saying is don’t be surprised when you put God first and everything else seems to fall into place. God knows what you need and when you need it even before you ask for it.
Tithing When Your Spouse Disapproves
When I first brought up the idea of tithing to John three years ago, he honestly told me that he doesn’t agree with the idea of giving 10% of our income to the church.
I admit I was tempted to tithe in secret and rationalize that it’s ok because God wants me to tithe. But then, I realized that He does want me to tithe, but He also doesn’t want me lying to my husband about tithing and compromising our marriage because I was being dishonest.
I also seek advice from other church members who directed me to 1 Peter 3:1 that says,
“Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives”
This is not always what a woman wants to hear, but I know that when I submit to my husband as the leader of the home, even when I disagree with him, God works on my behalf, and sooner or later our situation will get better.
So even when I know deep down that tithing is the right thing to do, I learned to submit to the authority that God gave to my husband.
I didn’t force the issue or constantly barrage him with bible verses or questions about why he disagrees because I know it won’t help and we might just end up saying the wrong things or hurting our feelings.
It’s not easy, but when we get out of the way and let God work, He’ll work it out better than we ever could.
After several weeks, I talked to John again about it and we came to a compromise on tithing.
Since we both earn an income, we agreed that I can tithe on my income, and he doesn’t tithe on his but he will give his offering to the church. And that worked for us during the past two years.
Fast forward to today, I’m so grateful that we both now agree on tithing. Our tithe is now our top priority in our budget and we make sure that we set aside the first 10% of our income for our tithes before we budget the remaining 90% for the rest of our expenses.
My husband is still unemployed, but by God’s grace, today, we’ve successfully given our first ever tithe as a family and it’s the biggest tithe I’ve ever deposited to the church so far.
What a privilege to give and honor God with our tithes! Praise God!
We live on less money now, but we’re able to tithe, pay our bills and see God’s blessings!
Why Do We Tithe?
Our tithes and offerings are a love offering we give to God in thanksgiving for the blessings that we receive as His children and it’s a way to support God’s work in our local churches as well as missionary endeavors.
When we give to the Lord, we are to give out of a cheerful heart. 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 says,
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver”
Giving out of compulsion or giving in order to make up for something lacking will not profit us spiritually, nor will it bring blessing to the household.
Yes, it is difficult sometimes to pay tithes when you are at bare minimum, but God will see the sacrifice and honor your giving.
If you bring in an income and do not pay tithes, then I challenge you to start doing so. I would love to hear of testimonies of how God turned lives and financial situations around through giving of tithes.
Just remember that it is holy and is God’s in the first place and not ours to keep. But why would you want to keep something when you know it will be returned?
…exceedingly, abundantly, above and beyond what you could ever ask, think, or imagined…
Where Should I Give My Tithe?
When I started my journey of faith and learned about tithing, I didn’t know where to give my tithes. I was hesitant to give my whole tithe to the church. I thought it would be better to give my tithes not only to the church, but also to other charities or give it directly to the needy including some relatives and friends who need financial assistance.
After constant reading and praying, God has given me the wisdom and clarity on what to do and where to give my tithes. For our family, we give our tithes to the local church monthly. So the full 10% goes to our church, while charitable gifts (alms) were to be an additional offering.
So if you are wondering where to give your tithes, here’s what I suggest…
Since the tithe belongs to God, trust Him to show you where to give it. You can do this by first presenting your tithe in your heart to Jesus. You can also read bible verses about tithing and pray about it.
Next, ask Him where to give your tithe. The important thing for you to do is be obedient to place the tithe where He directs. He will often direct you to place it in your local church or a ministry that is feeding you spiritually.
As you present your tithe, remember that God loves a cheerful giver. Time, talents, finances or abilities—God will use whatever you offer Him, and He rewards those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).
Do I give 10% of my income before or after taxes/bills/expenses?
There is no right answer to this question. I believe that the exact amount you give is not important. As Paul pointed out in 2 Corinthians 9:7,
“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
We have the freedom to give based on what makes sense for our family financially and what we feel convicted to do.
God wants a surrendered heart that willingly shares out of love and obedience to Him without expecting something back. After all, He’s blessed us beyond measure already, so our giving should be one of gratitude in His honor.
Just like what Matthew 23:23 tells us, what is important is that you tithe in addition to living a life that God wants you to live; a life that cares and loves for others.
God knows our heart and our circumstances. Whatever you decide to give — gross or net, before or after expenses — you will never regret striving to be a generous and cheerful giver in the eyes of God.
What’s important is that we see giving as a privilege, not a burden. It’s an opportunity to participate in advancing His kingdom.
If you’re struggling to fit tithing into your budget or just wish you had more money to give, I encourage you to sit down, get a pen and paper and start making a budget. Once you know how much money is coming in and where it’s going, you’ll eventually come up with ideas to grow your income, cut down your spending, and fit tithing into your budget.
Thank you for reading. Feel free to share your thoughts about tithing in the comments below.