How Tithing Helped Us Be More Financially Responsible

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Passing offering basket at church
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The days leading up to my childhood birthdays were ones filled with suspense. I'd watch the mailbox like a hawk, awaiting two cards -- one from my grandma and the other from my great aunt and uncle. Each contained cold, hard cash, totaling six whole dollars. And for a 7-year-old, that amount could buy a lot of 10-cent Airheads from the grocery store.

But before any of that money could be exchanged with the store clerk, my parents required that I set 10 percent of it aside for religious tithes. As I got older and made more money, the 10 percent contributions continued. And they weren't much of a sacrifice since my parents paid for almost all of my needs and wants.

And then I grew up and got married to a guy who was also brought up paying 10 percent in tithes. We were young and poor and in debt, and what little money we had was going toward the bare necessities. Right after we'd said "I do," we opened a joint checking account and pooled our meager savings.

Unified Commitment

We'd both tithed our whole lives, but we realized giving away 10 percent was going to hurt a lot more than it had before we were married. We were trying to save for our future now. We wanted to get out of debt. Uncle Sam was already taking a hefty percentage from us. When we thought about it too much, we knew there was no way we could afford to part with that 10 percent to our church.

So we did what any responsible adult would do -- we stopped thinking about it. As soon as we got our paychecks, we paid our utilities, our rent and our tithe. We treated it like one of our bills that just had to be paid. And thanks to making that decision once early on in our marriage, we've never had to make it again. We've also never felt the absence of that 10 percent since.

While tithing itself hasn't necessarily been a boon to our finances (especially after we calculate what our true net income amounts to after tithing and taxes), the mindset we've adopted because of it has helped us be responsible with our money in more ways than one.

Putting Money into Savings Each Month

We approach our savings the same way we do tithing. Before we've spent a cent of our paychecks, we put a certain percentage into savings. Like tithing, we treat it like a bill that needs to be "paid." We've set up an automatic transfer from our checking account so that we don't even have to worry about spending it. Currently, we're also saving for a down payment, and so part of our savings automatically goes toward that savings fund specifically, helping us to make consistent progress.

Saving for Retirement

As with our savings, we save for retirement similarly. Whenever we've had a 401(k) match option with our employers, our contributions are always taken out before we ever see them. It's much harder to miss money you've never seen. Since we don't currently have a 401(k) option, we max out our Roth individual retirement accounts at the beginning of the year before we even have a chance to second-guess ourselves.

Paying Our Credit Cards Off in Full

Each month, no matter what we've spent on our credit cards, we pay the balance in full. We decided from the beginning that if we were going to have credit cards, this is how we would handle them. On the first day of every month, we pay off the balance of every credit card. With a system in place, we once again take the monthly decision-making out of the scenario. In the process, it also ensures that we never spend more than we can pay off, which keeps us far, far away from carrying credit card debt.

Anyone can have this mindset to money. Tithing isn't the magic ticket -- it's just what helped us learn these principles early in marriage. The key is to make a decision once so that you never have to make it again. This helps to take the emotion out of those hard financial decisions. We never allow ourselves to wonder what we could buy with the money we're putting toward retirement or savings or tithing. Instead, we trust our prior decisions and never look back.


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12 Comments

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Kimberly

Why do without to give it to some church! Think JIM BAKKER, TBN and a whole lot more!

August 25 2014 at 2:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
no1gum

People should do what they feel comfortable with, but if someone is taking food out of their family's mouth to tithe because they've been guilted into it, I have a problem with that.

August 24 2014 at 1:16 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
dbrianpritchett

To socioeconomist-last.....Rename yourself sociopath..It will then fit your rantings...Betcha If you were in a foxhole with me and bullets and grenades falling all around us even your SORRY as# would be calling on Jesus to save you....Guess what..HE WOULD. You are a sorry piece of humanity that needs to thank our Founding Father planniing to allow you to make a fool of yourself in public...It is better to keep your mouth shut and be THOUGHT a fool than to open it and REMOVE ALLL DOUBT...Take it heart and learn.

August 24 2014 at 7:04 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
socioeconomist1

Join an occult so they can tell you how special you are and how evil and wrong everyone else is.... Then listen closely as a mythical person from 2000 years ago was able to fly around and alter the laws of physics... Be a part of the crowd that never speaks with the one you worship, yet the person getting paid does... Hand over your cash to the person in charge. Listen to them tell you how your money is going to do the work of God by hiring the occult leader to be on the payroll. Watch as the occult leader's wife is paid to run a day care out of the basement. Watch as the children of the occult leader get a magnificent piano bought for them to practice on in the church. Watch how your money goes towards buying a nice Cadillac for the occult leader to drive around and have lunch off of a expense account... Did I mention that occult leader will be drinking booze at that lunch, which is paid for by donations.

Yeah yeah.... go join a church when you start fearing death so they can tell you there is nothing to worry about if you just pay $99.99 a week. Because selling the name of God has been paying off for about 5000 years.. Only his name has changed from Rah, to Ijohova, to Jesus and let's not forget Zeus and the Aztec Sun God....

Yes, hand over your children to be sacrificed so your neighbors accept you and thank you for the abundant harvest they will get as you sit there smiling and thinking you did something good by killing your own child in the name of religion... Oh wait, just turning over 10% of your children's money isn't the same thing is it ?

schmucks....

August 23 2014 at 3:27 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
nevada1best

Here is a review of the major points of this teaching:
1.) The Tithe Commandment was given to Levitical Priesthood, not to the Church (Heb. 7:5). 2.) There is no recording of the early Church ever receiving or collecting tithes in the New Testament.
3.) Emanating from another priesthood, Paul rebuffed the Tithe Commandment as a carnal commandment (Heb. 7:16). Also, because the priesthood had changed, Paul cited the necessity of changing the law for Christians (Heb. 7:12).

4.) In summing up his teaching on the Tithe Commandment, Paul wrote "For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment" for Christians (Heb. 7:18), even though he knew that no part of the law would ever fail (Luke 16:17).
5.) Paul considered circumcision, even though Abraham did so 430 years before the law was given at Sinai, as very much a part of the law (Rom. 2:25). Likewise, Paul also considered the Tithe Commandment as part of the Law of God (Heb. 7:5, 16, 18-19).
6.) The exegesis of Hebrews 7 and its surrounding chapters (Exegesis meaning what a passage really says, whereas eisegesis is what we would have it to say.), attests that the Tithe Commandment is the commandment of discussion. Simply, aside from Levi’s Tithe Commandment (Heb. 7:5), there are no other commandments mentioned in these chapters. In retrospect of this fact, there is a disannulling of the Levi’s Tithe Commandment for the Body of Christ, but not to Israel.
7.) Nowhere in the New Testament is there a reinstatement of the Tithe Commandment for the Church.
8.) Jesus tells us that the Scribes and the Pharisees in their tithing left the law undone, which tells us that Christ also considered the tithe as part of the Law of God (Matt. 23:23).
9.) Abraham tithed to Melchizedek on the behalf of Levi, not for himself (Heb. 7:9).
10.) Paul, in affirming the right of ministers to live off the Gospel, referenced both the Temple and the Altar, but not the tithe as a commandment to the Church.
11.) Paul tagged freewill giving (as every man purposes in his heart), as our liberality in 1 Corinthians 16:3, which can only mean freedom from mandatory percentages in our giving.
12.) Tithing was not a practice in the Church until the Council of Macon in 585 CE.
13.) Christians are delivered from the curse of the law through the cross of Christ (Gal. 3:13). In stark contrast, the Jews, even their whole nation was to be cursed if they refused obedience to the tithe (Mal. 3:8-9).
14.) No Church other than the Philippians (Philip. 4:15) communicated with Paul, or gave him money for his own personal needs (The collection of 1 Corinthians 16:1 was a collection for other Christians, not Paul.), which tells us that Paul, in no way, shape or form, collected 10% tithes from the churches.
15.) Tithing, like all principles of the law, is to be fulfilled in our agape love actions toward others, and not by the oldness of the law’s letter (Gal. 5:14). http://www.midnightministries.com/tithing.htm

August 22 2014 at 4:03 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
welcome timothy

Money bores me, always has. I could never live like an animal putting away nuts for the winter, its just not human. Live for the moment, because that moment will never happen again.

August 22 2014 at 3:19 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to welcome timothy's comment
bmor856868

Cool, more people should..God doesn't need money, It shows that we are faithful. Amen

August 22 2014 at 9:52 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bmor856868's comment
dbrianpritchett

Guess you have forgotten Aesops Fable of the Grasshopper and the Ants...When the grocery store shelves are empty what are you going to do??????? Something as a naturally occuring hurricane, tornado, or earthquke has proven the shelves get emptied in just a few hours..Guess you will not have any "nuts" stored up for a rainy day..So-o-o go ahead and STARVE!!!

August 24 2014 at 7:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dbrianpritchett's comment
no1gum

Aesops Fable, really? What do you think of the Goose That Layed the Golden Egg? We watch as oil and gas companies rape the earth, and all we say is more, more. When the water is all gone, it won't matter how much stuff you've accumulated.

August 24 2014 at 1:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down