Should Christians be more concerned with tithing or with paying off their debt?
I heard the dilemma of a woman this week, who, like a lot of Christians, was in debt. Her and her husband were having the discussion as to whether they should tithe while they were still in debt, or wait until the debt is paid off before they started to tithe.
Initially, my gut reaction was, “How is that even a question in your mind? Do you really think it’s acceptable to NOT tithe when you clearly have the means? If you have money coming into your house, the only reason you should not tithe is because you want to blatantly disobey God.”
But then stopped and I thought about what they might be thinking. What was their perspective? Their rational was logical & simple enough. They more money they put toward paying off the debt, the sooner they’d be out and the sooner they’d be able to begin, or rather, continue, tithing.
Let’s be clear, God does not want anyone to be in debt. The Bible says that we should own no man anything, but to love him. The fact that we’re in debt does not give us license to not tithe. If that were the case, not only would the huge majority of Christians not be currently tithing, but we’d keep ourselves in a small amount of debt just do we could “get out” of giving God the tithe.
Our problem is this: Instead of giving God what’s first, we give God our scraps, our leftovers instead of the first and best piece. We forget that, not only is the tithe 10 percent, but it’s the first 10 percent, not the last. We don’t tithe FIRST.
The reality is, none of the money in our bank account(s) is ours anyway. It all belongs to God, but more often than not, we fail to recognize that. If we would give God the first 10 percent instead of letting it hang around out bank account, we would soon act as if we’re not even getting it in the first place.
For example, when I get a check, I would go to the bank to deposit it, but before I did, I would get 10% as cash back, so the tithe never even saw my account. That cash went right into a separate envelope so I wasn’t tempted to spend it. It was like I never even saw the tithe, but when Sunday, or Wednesday, rolled around, there was my tithe. I didn’t even have to think about it.
The habit of tithing is not easy by any means. The concept is easy, but actually practicing it takes discipline and trust, 2 things that rarely come easily. But, the bottom line is this: would you rather owe God, or owe man?