More than 2,350. That’s how many Bible verses there are that address money in some way, shape, or form. Some of those verses , others discourage lending or , a few directly against the love of God, and perhaps the most famous Old Testament passage regarding money encourages giving .
But are we still expected to give when we’re financially struggling? When we face a money crunch such as un- or under-employment or debt we are trying to pay off, the question of tithing gets tricky. Is tithing when the budget is tight an act of faith? Or is the wise response to stop tithing in order to clean up one’s finances? Here’s what three experts have to say about tithing during financially tough times.
Trust God and Tithe, No Matter What
I think our natural human tendency, in times of trouble, is to hold back and be stingy. We want to circle the wagons and protect what little resources we have left because we think it all depends on us. But the truth is that whether we have a little or a lot, tithing is an act of faith. It is the moment when we acknowledge that all of what we have belongs to God and that we are not in control. In times of trouble, it is easy to forget that God is so much bigger than our financial struggle, but he is. Because when it comes right down to it, the one who asks us to give is the same God who turned into a meal for five thousand and a ’s small container of oil into enough to provide for all her needs. God has shown over and over again that he will take what little we have and multiply it many times over, but we have to be willing to let him take the reins.
Ruth Soukup is a writer, entrepreneur, occasional DIYer, and author of Living Well Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life. You can connect with Ruth on Facebook or by following her on Twitter at @RuthSoukup.
In Lean Times, Pare Back Your Giving
David A. Croteau
We must begin by defining our terms. The modern definition of tithing is ‘“giving 10 percent of our income to our local church.” If that is your definition of tithing, and you believe that tithing is a requirement for Christians, then our convictions will be different. While it is true that the word tithe literally means “10 percent,” the Israelite tithe in the Old Testament Law was the expectation of actually “giving 10 percent of one’s increase from crops grown in the land of Israel or cattle that feed off the land of Israel.” Tithing was expected at least biyearly, totaling more like 20 percent of the yearly crops and cattle. While the Old Testament mentions money many times in Genesis, tithing was never connected to money.