Would you tell your landlord, utility company or mortgage lender that you’re only going to pay them if you have something left over in your budget? Or would you tell your family that they only get to eat if there is something left over?
Of course you wouldn’t (I hope!). But this is exactly what we tend to do when it comes to giving or tithing.
Giving and/or tithing (which means one-tenth) is an important part of any financial plan. The problem is we tend to do it as an afterthought, with whatever might be left over. The problem of doing it this way is that it robs us of any blessings that come from giving purposefully.
The prophet Malachi wrote the following to the Israelites while they were in exile and had not been giving a tithe to the Lord:
Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts. Malachi 3:8-12
God tells us that purposeful giving or tithing will bring blessing! In fact he says if we do this he will rebuke the devourer for us! If we faithfully return to God a portion of what he has given us to manage, He will bless us so that our needs are met as well as protect us from those who would steal from us.
Do I Have to Do a Tenth?
For now, the important thing is to start. With any amount. What matters is that whatever you give, you give it willingly and joyfully and with thanksgiving.
Give whatever you decide is appropriate for you (praying about it doesn’t hurt, either!) and just start putting aside that amount to give every month as part of your monthly budget. If it’s $10 or one tenth isn’t as important as the change you will feel in your heart and in your attitude towards the income you earn as a result of giving intentionally.
In time I encourage you to incrementally increase your giving at scheduled intervals, and test and see if God doesn’t provide what you need in order to do so.