It’s no secret that for several years now, our country’s economy hasn’t been doing so well. I’m sure that many of you have seen worry on your parents’ faces as they try to make the household income stretch to cover all the needs of your home and family. Thankfully, we serve a God who wants to provide for the needs of His children, but what about tithing when we don’t have much (or any) money?
Tithing is a biblical principle taught in both the Old and New Testaments. One of the most famous verses involving tithing comes from Malachi 3, verse 10.
“’Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘see if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.’”
God is telling the Israelites that if they’ll bring 1/10 of their livelihood to the temple to help build God’s kingdom and provide for His people, then He will pour out blessings on them until they’re full to overflowing. In Luke 6:38, Jesus seems to confirm this message from Malachi.
“Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure – pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”
Tithing is an important principle in God’s kingdom and it’s also meant to be a sacrifice on our part. It’s how we help fund ministries at our churches and how we contribute to provide, not just for God’s people, but for anyone who finds themselves in need. Money isn’t the only way we can tithe though; check out this list of 5 ways you can tithe when money is tight.
- Go through your closet. Do you have clothes you don’t wear anymore? Check to make sure they’re clean and in good condition, then take them to the Goodwill or to your church if they have a ministry that helps clothe the less fortunate. My husband and I recently gave away tons of clothes and jackets to a local church ministry. Don’t just give away stuff you think is ugly or doesn’t fit; give away stuff that’s still good. You’ll be amazed at what a blessing it is to provide something nice for someone your age to wear.
- Go through your pantry. If your family has enough food and it won’t be a burden on your parents to replace what you take, then load up a couple of grocery bags with food (stuff that you’d want to eat!) and donate it to a local food bank or church food ministry. Many parents in our own cities are worrying right now about how they’re going to feed their children tonight. Your donation could change that.
- Work for your church, for free. Could your church use some help keeping the bathrooms clean? Could you spare an hour to run a vacuum through the church sanctuary? Could you organize a group of people to provide a free car wash in your church parking lot? A little bit of help goes a long way, so offer to do some cleaning, typing, etc. at no charge.
- Give sacrificially of your time. We’re all busy. If you’re anything like me, your time is very precious to you and very tightly scheduled. Consider taking some of that precious time and donating it somewhere. I’m going to start soon by donating my time to read stories to children at the local library. How can you give sacrificially of your time?
- Tithe against fear. Is there something you’ve wanted to do for your church, but you’ve been too afraid? Well when you don’t have cash, it’s the perfect time to give God your fear and do that thing He’s put on your heart, but that you’ve been too afraid to step out and do. What better way to honor God than to refuse to be ruled by fear? Give God 10 percent more trust and see how He’ll use you to bless your church.
Girls, understand that if you get an allowance from your parents, it honors God when you tithe on that. Our tithe (whether it’s cash, time, clothing, etc.) should always be the first thing we deduct from what we have. Your tithe should never be an afterthought; tithes don’t come from “whatever’s leftover.” We honor God when He give Him the best of ourselves and what we have.
Thus all the tithe of the land, of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s; it is holy to the Lord – Leviticus 27:30.
What are some of your ideas for tithing when money is tight?
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