Do You Have To Give Tithes While Paying Off Debts?

 For those of you who are part of a religious institution such as a church, temple, or mosque, you probably wonder if it makes sense to pay tithing while trying to get out of debt or save for a major purchase. There is a lot of discussion about this subject and I think it is worth considering whether you are devout in your religious beliefs. I am going to investigate this issue in the context of Christianity. Paying tithing is an act whereby you return part of your wages or earnings to God as a symbol to show Him that what is yours is not really yours, it is God’s property. In Christianity, the tenth is 10% of your wages / income donated to your home church. This is not only a symbolic gesture, but it helps support the church and the charities and missionaries that the church supports. There are some really good Christian personal finance blogs that have talked about the issue of tithing and debt freedom in the past.

Here are a few sources from other bloggers on this topic:

  • Free Money Finance responds to a reader who asks if they first have to pay off the debt or tithes while they pay it.
  • Bible Money Matters has an extensive series about tithes and its biblical principles.
  • The thoughts and experiences of Christian PF with tenth when trying to get out of debt.

The general consensus

From what I have read, the general consensus among Christians who write about rich finances and the teachings of Dave Ramsey and Crown Financial Ministries (both organizations with a Christian backbone) supports the idea that Christians should be tenth regardless of the situation they are in, unless you are unable to provide for your basic needs. In that case, your church should help you and use church services to support you until you get back on track. But financial goals to get out of debt or save for a large purchase would not be tenth. It is also important to remember that paying tithing is not an eternal problem. The tenants of Christian salvation are not affected by those who give tithes and those who do not give tithes. There must be no “guilt” in the non-tithe, but rather in the generosity and willingness of your heart.

Gross versus net income

Gross versus net income

I don’t think God and the Church split the hairs here. Again, do what you feel is right in this situation. If you feel led to tithes based on your gross income and you have the resources to do it, that’s fine. If you have always paid the tenth income, there is no shame or damage. Biblically, I’m really not sure if it’s clear, so in the case of gray areas, pray about it and do what feels right.

For those of you who are not religious or who are not part of a church, this article was not for you, but I know there are many Christians who think about the issue of tithing when trying to work on such a great goal of get out of debt. The Bible teaches that you have no debts, because in Proverbs it warns that “the borrower is a slave to the lender,” but that supporting your house congregation and his community work comes first.


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