Should I tithe when I have debt?
    August 28 2015 by Art Rainer, SEBTS Vice President for Institutional Advancement

    When faced with financial difficulties, the question of whether or not to tithe or give often arises. And the reason is simple. There is a desire to use every last penny to help get themselves out of the situation. If you have or are facing financial challenges, you have probably considered not giving. It may seem to be the most logical option for you. But before you decide to abandon your giving, consider the following five points:
     
    God tells us to give. The Bible tells us to give and to do it joyfully. The concept of proportional giving (giving based on percentage of income rather than specific amount) is woven throughout the Bible. Personally, I think 10% of gross (before taxes) income is a great place to start and by no means a limit. Where should you give? Start with your local church.
     
    Giving occurs first, not last. Also woven throughout the Bible is the idea that giving takes place first, not last. Giving is not about providing the leftovers. Giving is a prioritized act that often requires sacrifice. Before bills? Yes. Before debt? Yes. Before savings? Yes. Understandably, this prioritized act can be a massive challenge for those in financial distress. And we will get to that in point five.
     
    God does not include an exclusion clause. When the Bible talks about giving, there is no “out.” There are no loopholes or exclusion clauses. There are no reasons provided for not giving. We give because He gave so generously to us. He gave us something priceless. He gave us something no dollar amount given could ever compare. He gave us Jesus.
     
    We should not let one bad decision cause us to make another bad decision. There are cases where financial downfalls are completely out of our hands. But often, we are the cause of our own financial hardship. We didn’t budget our money. We bought houses, cars, and clothes we could not afford. We took out too many loans. We built up balances on high interest rate credit cards. Poor financial decisions do not give us reason to make another bad decision – not giving like God desires us to give.
     
    God delights in those who obey when obedience is not convenient. In Mark 12:41-44, we see Jesus point out a poor widow who put two tiny coins into the temple treasury. In the midst of many rich people giving large amounts of money, He said she gave the most because she gave out of sacrifice. She gave when it was inconvenient. If anyone had a reason not to give, it was her. But she was obedient. God saw this and delighted in it. And God will delight in your decision to give even when it is not convenient.
     
    A joyful attitude toward giving does not negate the fact that real sacrifice is taking place. Joyful givers can have a lot, have a little, or be in the midst of financial turmoil. Whatever your circumstance may be, find joy in giving, not because it is easy, but because you trust God with everything, including your finances.
     
    (EDITOR'S NOTE – Art Rainer is vice president for institutional advancement at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and cofounder of Rainer Publishing. This article first appeared at his blog,
    artrainer.com.)

    8/28/2015 1:17:15 PM by Art Rainer, SEBTS Vice President for Institutional Advancement | with 1 comments
    Filed under: financial stewardship, money, tithe




Comments
Charles Wells
This opinion piece would be silly - if it weren't so cruel. If you actually read all the scriptures on tithing in the Bible, you'll see that the poor didn't pay into the tithes. They were fed from them (Deut. 14:28-29, Deut. 26:12). It's time we put an end to this unfaithful and opportunistic rewriting of scripture that all too often takes advantage of people. The Apostles would never have put up with this sort of nonsense.
8/29/2015 1:30:39 AM