Have you ever started something but never finished or followed through? An exercise routine, diet, home project, or date night with your spouse? I know I have. I have enthusiastically started many new workouts or exercise routines only to falter shortly thereafter. Sound familiar? It is easy to start something. Keeping it going is another story. We allow so many things to distract us or derail us from our goals, even when we know they are good for us. This is not only true of physical things but spiritual as well.
Christians know spiritual disciplines are a good thing. Practicing them leads to growth, godliness, and renewed faith. They are just as easy to get started but the continued exercise of them is much harder. Sometimes we resist them. Other times we allow stumbling blocks to get us off course.
Of all the spiritual disciplines, the one many Christians give up on easily or avoid altogether is tithing. Tithing is simply giving the first 10% of your income back to God. It is intended to be a blessing, not a burden; an act of obedience, not drudgery. Yet, tithing creates a great deal of anxiety for many people, especially those facing financial difficulties.
Many wonder if they should continue to tithe when they have mounting financial pressures, debts to pay, or certain financial goals. I get tempted. I have faced it too. We desire to use all of our “leftover” income to relieve financial pressures or get to our goals quicker. We know God commands us to pay our debts and bills, and we don’t want to falter there. So, we surmise it seems logical to abandon tithing for a time.
Before you consider hitting the brakes on tithing, consider a few important things. Tithing is not for God; it is for us. God doesn’t need our tithe; we need our tithe. Tithing is an act of obedience to God’s command. It brings blessing and joy. It also helps create contentment in our heart and keeps God first place in our lives.
The Bible clearly teaches us to give, but it never teaches us to stop giving. There are no opt-out clauses. We give because God first gave to us. And He continues to give to us. He is our never-changing pattern. To grow and become more like God, we have to be a giver like God.
Many who stop giving end up in a worse financial situation. Those who continue to give joyfully from a content heart often find themselves more blessed than ever. I have learned it is more blessed to give. Every time I have been tempted to halt my giving for a time, I continued to tithe, and God continued to bless and provide for me in remarkable ways.
I can’t explain it all, but I can tell you God is good. He is worthy of my trust. And no matter what, I will continue to give joyfully because He gave so much to me.
**Adapted from ONE Magazine