I have recently struggled much over the past year, with this topic as well. Is tithing supported by the New Testament? Is proportionate giving a better solution to how we should tithe? Isn’t tithing, just “paying off God” to bring good blessings to me? These were all questions I asked God and myself while I struggled to know the answer.
My husband and I have attended a popular financial class and we did understand that tithing first is a biblical principal, however, it brought me a lot of stress to have to do it each month, b/c I just was not sure if I should have paid my debts first, or my tithe first.
I searched the Bible and Bible.org and came across several differing opinions, which can be very confusing too. Nearly all agree that tithing is very important, however getting to that point where you understand how much and why, can be REALLY difficult and confusing for Christians who are struggling to pay off debts too! If we owe a debt to another person and go into fault against that debt because we tithed first, that’s not a matter of good Christian character either. So where does the answer lie?
Prayerfully consider, “What things can I go without, still paying my tithe, so that I can be able pay my debt as well.” The goal for us was to keep tithing, but to do without something else so we could pay our debt instead. This was a very good lesson for my husband and I, it helped us prioritize God in our lives better. If we complained that we couldn’t pay our tithe or our debt, but spent $300 a month on cable, there was a problem. Therefore, we cancelled our costly cell phone service this year, so we could use that money to pay off our debts. Is it inconvenient to be without a cell phone? Yes. Is it worth telling God that I felt He was more important. Absolutely. You might have a business reason that does not make this possible, but what about your TV service, or other costly services? See if you can find something that you could sacrificially give up.
There is a very good article on this site, with regard to how we should tithe, and addresses debt as well. The article is called “Financial Faithfullness” and is located under the Master List of Topics: Tithe. It has several Biblical references.
Another point where I finally accepted that tithing was the first priority for our family was during a Bible study about Moses. When Moses initially went to speak with Pharaoh, he probably didn’t expect the response he got. Moses asked that Pharaoh let his people go, but instead of benefitting the Israelites, Pharaoh’s responded by punishing the Israelites- increasing their daily workload and by making it more difficult to make bricks (See Exodus 5). Moses then responded by questioning God, “O Lord, why have you brought trouble upon this people? Is this why you sent me?” Ex 5:22(NIV)
Our teacher of this lesson, then when on to point out that often, we do not see immediate benefits from obeying God’s word. God is always more interested in building your lasting character, your increasing faith despite what seems like an un-desirable outcome. God never promises that life will be easier if you obey His word, He does promise everlasting life and a future worth far more than anything this world can currently offer us if we do obey Him. Job 13:15 said it perfectly, “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face.”
My husband and I were able to see that God was (and is continuing) to teach my husband and I the lesson of consistency, to obey His word faithfully, despite the outcome, and to rearrange my priorities in life. Tithe, Debts, Savings, then “Fun stuff”---instead of: Debt, “fun stuff”, tithe, Savings.
Whatever you decide, continue to pray together with your wife for unity in this, and ask God to help you accept and understand what it is that He wants you to do in this situation. You may not be able to accept what you should do at first, especially if it doesn’t seem logical. But you CAN put your faith and trust in God that He knows what is the right response, and that He will reveal that to your heart as well.
Go With Christ,