Let’s Talk About Tithing

When I became a Christian in college, I had a lot of friends who were raising support to go on missions trips both stateside and overseas. Because I couldn’t go—for multiple reasons I won’t go into—it was my joy to support my friends as much as I could financially and prayerfully.

It’s still my joy.

We currently support eight friends in full- or part-time ministry on a monthly basis, and I love it. (I wish we could support more, but we’ve reached a bit of a limit!)

When I was an undergraduate, I counted this support as part of my tithe. I had heard that it “counted” at some point, and I went with it because, you know, it was convenient. But when Andrew and I got married, and he disagreed, we had to make a decision. Would we give ten percent to our church and use extra money to support others, or would we divvy up ten percent of our gross income between missions support and the church?

We went with the former, and I have felt nothing but peace about that. I wholeheartedly believe that ten percent of our gross salary should go straight to our church, and we should set aside other money to support our friends. I don’t have the Bible verses to clearly back me up here because I understand that verses can be read in a variety of ways to support either argument, but this is our conviction, and we’re sticking with it.

Of all the ways God calls us to be obedient, tithing has to be the most bittersweet.

I love tithing, but now that we’re out of school and making real-person money, I feel a twinge of worldly pain when I click “submit” on our church’s website, especially now that we’re 100% focused on saving up for a house. Every other week as I set up the tithe (we tithe after every pay cycle), I think, man, if we didn’t tithe, we’d be in a house so much faster or geesh, our tithes from the last couple of months could pay for a really nice vacation. Most of the time, I voice these thoughts to Andrew, and he always says the same thing: “If we didn’t give it to God, He’d find another way to take it away.”

It’s true. The money is His, anyway.

And that always makes me feel better. There is so much joy in sacrifice, and I get to experience that joy every other week and each time I look through Mint and see that our automatic support payments went through to our friends.

I think the worldly pain I feel is normal—of course my flesh would rather use that money in a self-serving way, but tithing is a test of obedience and faith. In fact, I think it might be the only thing that God tells us to test Him with (Malachi 3:10). And He has never failed us.

I don’t share this in a “hey, look at us, we’re such wonderful Christians!” way. We suck just like every other human being on the planet. I share this because I love tithing so much, and I want to encourage you to tithe, too, if you don’t already. I once read that if all church members tithed 10%, the church could do some ridiculous things—like end global hunger and provide clean water throughout the world. To me, that’s more important than putting 20% down on a house sooner rather than later or going on fancy vacations. And I have a hunch these things are important to you, too.

What are your thoughts on tithing? It’s something I think we need to be more open about, so let me know what you think in the comments!

Grace & Such strives to advance Christian growth among women. While we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we also recognize human interpretations are imperfect. Grace & Such encourages our readers to open their Bibles, pray for wisdom and study for themselves what the Word says. For more about who we are, please visit the About Us page.
Natalie Liounis
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  1. Sarah Robinson on September 27, 2017 at 7:51 AM

    Thank you for shedding light on this vital practice, seldom covered these days. Tithing is a discipline we strive to meet, though if I dwell on how much we’ve been blessed verses how much we actually give, our return feels inadequate. Tithing has long been our goal, and thank you for your thoughts on the plan God set in place.

    • Natalie Liounis on September 28, 2017 at 12:38 PM

      Thank you, Sarah! You’re right–it definitely never feels like enough compared to all that God has given us.

  2. Gretchen Hanna on September 27, 2017 at 10:06 PM

    Hi Natalie. Brave move to talk about what we do with our treasures. 🙂 Super important to God, so I’m glad you wrote about this type of obedience. This is a hard one for me because my husband and I aren’t on the same page re: Jesus, so we don’t actually give a tithe, per se, but an offering. I tried to think of a number which would be about 10% of what I would earn if I were working (I have only worked outside the home a few years before kids and just began working again–my full time job was to be a SAHM). I think I’m ‘close’, but more important in my mind is my heart and that which I share with my husband. I have an intentional conversation (which isn’t always comfortable) about why I want to give $ to my church, and each time I’ve wanted to bump it up, I’ve needed to talk with him again. It’s not that we don’t have the money; rather, it’s that I want to honor my husband in how I spend our money. I want him to see that in a world full of people who make the word Christian seem like a swear word, I am someone who (faulty though I am) is truly chasing after Jesus. Even though I don’t give as much as I’d like to, I think this honors God, because he knows my heart. And keeping the line of communication open with my dear husband has helped me (us) be able to support missions, too. Again, not perhaps as many or as much as I would like to, but some, and he’s quite generous.

    • Natalie Liounis on September 28, 2017 at 12:33 PM

      Thanks for sharing, Gretchen! I’m sure it’s tough to talk about this kind of stuff with your hubby, so kudos to you for keeping with it! I love your heart on this and I’m thankful for your commitment to give from the heart!

  3. Anna Jo Young on September 28, 2017 at 1:41 PM

    I LOVE this! It’s all about being obedient, right?? I’ve learned that God is a God of abundance, and when we give His money away, we’re not controlled by money when we forget it’s His!! And He returns it “pressed down, shaken together, and rolling over.” (Luke 6:38) I’m so grateful for your love of tithing AND supporting missionaries (me being one of them 🙂 ). Love you, Nat <3

  4. Briana Rodriguez on September 28, 2017 at 3:10 PM

    Natalie, I don’t usually leave comments but I just want to applaud you for having the courage to talk about this. I perosnally never grasped the importance of tithing (it was never talked with me growing up since my family was not a Christian family). I became a Christian at 9 years old yet nobody talks with children/adolescents about money. So like you, it was in college that I even learned what it was! But I never understood why it was so important. So thank you for clearing that up. You are blessed to have such a wise husband who encourages you to be obedient even with something emotional -money. I loved his statement of He will find another way to take it away. Our flesh says “we worked hard for this so we should indulge in something nice for ourselves” but God says “trust me and my commands and I’ll return it tenfold”.

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