One question I’m frequently asked is “Should I continue to tithe while I’m getting out of debt?“ Sometimes I get its close cousin “Why should I start tithing if I’m trying to get out of debt?”
These two questions are pretty common when a Christian is in the process of changing their financial life by getting out of debt.
I usually answer these questions by asking a few questions in return to help clarify that person’s thought process. Hopefully that will lead them to answer the original question on their own.
Already Tithing? 3 Questions For You
Let’s start with the people who are already tithing and are wondering if they should continue doing it. Many of them figure that if they stop tithing for a while, that will free up some “extra money” so they can get their debts paid off quicker. After the debts are paid, they’ll start tithing again and everything will be ok.
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Sounds like a plan.
But there are a few things to think about when considering that strategy. Here are the questions I usually ask in return:
Why are you tithing in the first place? Most tithers do it because they are being obedient to God’s teachings on giving. They’ve probably even experienced many of the blessings that come along with tithing and realize that obedience in that area helps them live a more blessed life.
What happens if you stop tithing? When you stop tithing and use that money to pay off debt, you get the debt paid off much quicker.
That’s a good thing, right?
But the flip side of that coin is that you’ve eliminated a reason for God to bless your life and your finances. Quitting tithing means you’re no longer being obedient to God in that way. It makes it impossible for Him to bless you for your obedience, and can actually harm you because you’ve taken away His protection in that area of your life.
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You have to decide, is that a risk you want to take?
What happens if you continue to tithe? When you keep tithing while getting out of debt, it means you’re continuing to be obedient to God’s word. He will keep His hand on your situation and you’ll continue to keep yourself open to the blessings that tithing brings to your life. God will work on your behalf and make sure things go your way in your quest to get out of debt.
Angie and I Continued to Tithe
Continuing tithing or not while you’re paying off your debt is a decision only you can make. There are advantages and disadvantages you can find to justify either option. You have to weigh those out prayerfully and come to the best decision you can.
In our own life, Angie and I made the decision to continue to tithe while we paid down our debt. We feel that was the best decision that we could have made at the time, and that it was actually an advantage to our journey out of debt.
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We wanted to make sure and keep God’s favor on that journey and not risk missing out on that so we could pay off the debt quicker.
The interesting thing is that during that journey, several things happened unexpectedly that actually accelerated our get out of debt process and allowed us to pay things off much faster. We believe that was God working on our behalf because we were being obedient to His words on tithing.
Was it God? Only He knows for sure. That’s where faith enters the picture.
Should You Tithe? Only You Can Answer That
So the question remains: should you tithe while getting out of debt? Only you can answer that question for yourself and your family. Weigh out the pros and the cons, ask the right questions, pray about it, and you’ll come to the right decision.
In my next post I’ll talk about whether you should get started tithing (if you’re not a tither already) while you’re getting out of debt, or wait till you’ve paid off the debt before you start.
Until then, a question…
Did you (or will you) continue tithing while you get out of debt?
Tell me about it by leaving a comment.
Article originally published on Celebrating Financial Freedom. Used with permission.
Dr. Jason Cabler is a Christian personal finance blogger, author, and speaker. He teaches how to get out of debt and live a debt free lifestyle through his Celebrating Financial Freedom blog and self study course. His book How to Budget: The Quick and Easy Guide to Making a Budget That Works is now available (more info here). He can be reached for interviews or speaking engagements by email, and can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and Google +.
Publication date: July 31, 2013