Stop Tithing & Get Out of Debt

There it is, I said it. I think this is the first i’ve ever heard myself go straight out and say it. Stop tithing, and Get out of debt. I don’t want you to give another dime until all of your unsecured credit is paid off. I’m not talking about your house, or your car, or your school loans. I’m talking about all the store and credit card debt. Get out of Debt!

“No one can serve two masters”. Although that statement in context of scripture was not referring to debt, i believe it is applicable as a stewardship principle. It’s hard to serve God with your money while you are still a slave to debt. It’s also hard to serve God with your money while you are a slave to possessions as well. I know there are some legitimate people who are not slaves to possessions, but have some debt lingering over them. In those cases the simple answer is get out of debt and then your can give God your money.

Do not bow to the pressure of the tithing threats. God does not judge a person by what they’ve given; He judges them by what they’ve kept. You need to be a wise steward, and part of that is making the decision to get out of debt, and then give to God. Actually, here’s a thought that just ran through my head. Who said that paying your bills and striving to get out of debt is not giving to God. The misconception is that paying your bills or striving to be debt free is not a spiritual way of giving. Are you somehow dishonoring God if you pay off your debts? Why would God be more honored if you paid the parishioner, but was late on your bills? Where is the honor in that?

God judges us based on our stewardship. I’ve stated this so many times as an example, but it is so relevent: The servant who gave 100% back to the master when he returned, was the one considered a bad steward. A good analogous word for “steward” is “investor”.

At the end, the truth is we will be judged by our investments. Whether we are in debt or not, If we’ve invested in the worldly things, then God will burn up our works like wood, hay, and stubble. If you are struggling financially, and cannot get out of debt no matter what you’ve done, then stop giving it away and start investing in the plan to get out of debt. If you have trouble with debt because of self control, then get some accountability, get some instructions, follow a plan to stop spending; and start investing in a debt-free life. Dave Ramsey and Crown Financial offer good programs to help you get out of debt. Don’t feel guilty about putting your money towards debt instead of in the offering plate. God will honor your decision for being a wise, investing steward.

Remember, God’s blessings are reaped naturally by a cause and effect more then they are reaped miraculously, such as money falling from the sky. You will reap what you sow. So if you sow a debt-free life, you will reap the rewards that come from it. The natural reward of a debt free life is not money falling from the sky. Although i wouldn’t pass that up.

There are only two paths you can take towards Godly stewardship. One leads to debt as your master, and the other path leads to financial freedom as your master. Which path are you going to choose?

Jared Bartholomew is the author of www.tithing.com. There are over 300 articles written on research and reviews about tithing information.

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108 comments on “Stop Tithing & Get Out of Debt
  1. GG says:

    Honestly curious. How many of you, since ceasing tithe have come completely out of ‘monetary’ debt & are living in ‘financial’ overflow? How are the other areas of your lives? Health, relationship, influcence, etc?

    • I would love to tell you about my experience because it is a very positive one, but what does tithing have to do with these things when there are even non-believers that are rich, healthy, and influential?

      – jared

       

      • GG says:

        Thanks for answering back, Steward. The reason I asked is because I read in Malacai 3:10 to,”Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”

        For whatever reason, a lot of people I’ve met seem to think that the tithe is only a way to get financial increase or something. But I don’t see anywhere in that scripture making it exclusive to one’s income. God says there that if you faithfully honor Him with obedience concerning this thing, He would supply you with an abundance of favor for whatever you need, whether that be in income, health, deliverance, etc.

        From my walk with Christ, I’ve come to the conclusion that it really does take faith to effectively serve Him & live according to His commands (lol). I’ve found that my common sense is not always in line with God’s wisdom which, at times, seemed pretty silly & irrelevant to me. But He is an omniscient God, isn’t He? His ways are clearly higher than my own limited view of things.

        I can personally testify to doing according to Malacai 3:10 & taking God at His own words right there in black & white, & experiencing success & breakthrough in ALL areas I was defeated in before. And I came to realize that this is not an exersize in my wallet but for my faithful obedience. it’s not about the tangible object that is the tithe (in my case money) that caused me to be open to His favor. I see that this “tithe” is simply a God tailored vehicle for my faith.

        And it’s great to be able to give an offering too! But the offering is based on basic  sowing & reaping. Whatever you sow is what you can expect to reap. This is why non-believers who are philanthropists are so wealthy & have a large sphere of influence. They give money & thier time & reap the harvest of that. Whether they’re healthy in their bodies, have peace, or their marriage or relationships are fruitful is usually a private matter. But for me & people that I have met that do tithe, we have experienced complete peace & wholeness. The means to prosper in everything we do is consistently available. And trials still come, of course, but that active practice of faith conditions us to keep those little foxes of fear, worry & doubt from spoiling the power that God has put in our hands.

        God is a wonderful father. And Christ made it possible for me to be joined back unto Him & learn to trust Him in all my ways so that he can work in & through me. I realize that I am redeemed from the curse of the law which is death. Through Christ’s grace I can now operate in the law of Love. Love God with my whole being & love my neighbor as I love myself. And because I love God, I tithe. Because I love Him & want to please Him, & to please Him I need to have faith, I will abide by this command which calls for faith. Should YOU tithe? God says to judge our own selves according to His word. Should I tithe? No. It is not a suggestion to me, it is an opportunity to show God I trust Him totally. I WANT to tithe. My God is bigger than any issue that can come up in my life because the same God asking me to give a tenth of what comes into my hands is the same God that enabled me to earn it.

        This is my experience <3 Be blessed my friend, Steward! And I would still love to hear how God has blessed you. Tithe or not, I’m always glad to hear people praise the Lord.

    • joel says:

      Hi GG, are you trying to compare your peanuts again with other christians ?
      Go ask tithe teachers like Robert Schuller of Crystal Cathederal or Eddie Long, Keneth Copeland why their ministries are struggling financialy.
      Dont forget  Evander Holyfield why the bank wants to forclose on his home ?
      Did the windows over them suddenly close ? Who are you goin to blame ? God for not providing or christians for paying their bills but not paying tithes so that these chosen few can continuie to live in a life of luxury and excess ?
      It is not a SIN TO USE YOUR BRAIN . No offence but please read what the bible say ,
      YOU CAN NOT Serve both GOD and money. Either you hate one and love the other but you can not serve both of them at the same time. I hope you get it.
       
       

      • GG says:

        “my peanuts’? I don’t believe we’ve ever met, Joel. I simply asked a question to which I expected a simple answer as to people’s own personal experiences. Stewart seemed to have got that.

    • Julius says:

      I never tithed since being saved 6 years ago. I have had a lot of the same sentiments as the other non-tithers on this blog so I won’t re-iterate, except that it is just plain obvious in the scriptures that gentile Christians are under no compulsion to “tithe”. I really tried to see the tithe like so many people that I admire and respect faithfully see it, but whenever I would sit down and read the Word it just wasn’t there.  That said, I believe in giving in love to those in need.  I believe that our time here is short and it is crazy to live in our outrageous abundance as U.S. Americans while the rest of the world can’t even get clean water or have any access to health care. People that really need to see the power of God working in His people. I am trying to figure out ways to give more and more to spread the gospel to those who were obviously close to Jesus’ heart, the poorest.  I would like to someday be able to give away more than 50 % of what I make,which I implicitly see Jesus teaching in scripture, unfortunately, right now because of my own greed for financial security and lack of faith I am only at a point of giving less than 10% of take home after funding my 403 and IRA.  This is giving to my local church(not a tithe, but an amount I set in my heart)  and missionary work. But to answer your question in particular.  In the last six years I have become increasingly more blessed financially, my salary has nearly doubled,  I have no debt other than mortgage, my debt to income ration is 21%. I was given an amazing wife who loves and respects me far more than I deserve, we have the most beautiful son.  And along with my salary nearly doubling I also work less hours(only 40/week as opposed to 50+) so
      i get to spend an amazing amount of time with my family and with God’s family encouraging and growing together in faith.  When I see the current church paradigm the tithe has all the appearance of thoughtless superstition.  Kind of like when all the times when the disciples of Jesus would break a Sabbath commandment or a cleanliness law the Pharisees would try to convict then but Jesus would always tell them they are missing the point.  Today most church tithe misses the point.  The money is not given to be redistributed to those in need as it was in scripture.  Often it pays high salaries, builds outrageous buildings, fancy sound systems and whatever stuff that will keep the pews filled and give the appearance of Godliness.  Sounds great until you read scripture and see that there are plenty of people coming to Christ for the wrong reasons which is actually probably fine, what is worrisome to me is that they continue to stay for the wrong reasons i.e., health, wealth and prosperity.  Is a tithe really pouring self out to God and dying to self?  Or does it just help with the appearance that you are?  Is Christ really what you are after or do you just want more worldly blessing?  The tithe is dangerous because it is not even close to what Jesus says is the cost of discipleship.  It costs us everything and our true hope is in heaven.  I am just trying to actually believe that but it is hard being a fairly new believer and seeing that hardly any other “believer” is willing to follow Jesus in this way.

  2. Julius says:

    I can’t understand how a church leader could read about the apostle Paul’s life and with a clear conscience decide that it would be good for the sake of the gospel to mandate a tithe. 

  3. bill Mack says:

    There is one question of imminent importance in all of this discussion: Who gave New Covenant church leaders the authority to say to the Body of Christ “God demands a tithe (tenth of your monetary income)?   Or a tenth of anything else, for that matter!  Apostle Paul stated in Gal. 1:8 “But though we or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed”.  He then emphasizes his point by repeating the very same thing in verse 9.  Well, Paul never even mentions the word tithe in all the NT epistles which he authored (unless he happens to be the author of Hebrews; authorship is uncertain).  But read and understand the reason Hebrews was written.  So preachers today who insist that God demands a tithe are preaching another gospel.  Why was tithing in the church not practiced from Apostolic times until about 1880?  Who was wrong, the apostles, early church fathers, and preachers prior to circa 1880, or modern day preachers who have reached back into the old covenant to place new covenant believers in bondage?  Why not mandate Sabbath observance, circumcision, etc?  Maybe because there would be no money involved?  Instead of exercising faith that the Lord would move the hearts of the congregants to generously give to supply the needs, they fear, and seek to control them by intimidation and coercion.  Study to show yourself approved and you won’t be taken unfair advantage of.  Let God be true and every man a liar.

    • RODNEY says:

      Tithing is found all the way through the Bible from Genesis to 1 Corithians 16 :1-2
       If it is  just a Jewsih Law Than why did The aposle Paul ask them to set aside  at the first Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. On the first day of every week let each one of you put aside and save, as he may prosper, that no collections be made when I come.” (1 Cor 16:1-2) The principles of Giving is sowing and reaping Tithing is just training wheels to being  a real giver You will never out give God It may not come back to you in cash It will come back favorably Cast thy bread up on the water … Give and it shall be given unto you God loves a cheerfull giver Squabbling about percentage is so trivial in the scope of eternity Men and women Need Jesus . The Gosple needs to go forward Just use descernment and prayerfully give to the right ministry and Know them which labor among you

      • bill Mack says:

        Rodney, no disrespect intended, but in reading your comment, it appears to me that you havn’t done your homework.  Your understanding of what the scriptures require concerning the tithe is lacking.  In I Cor 16 Paul was not talking about tithing.  We cannot freely use the words “tithing” and “giving” interchangeably.  To tithe would seem to always mean to give; but to give does not always mean to tithe.  Today the concept of tithing always refers to God’s command to OT Jews in connection with the Law of Moses.  The objects to be tithed were livestock, grain, wine, oil, etc.,not money!  The reason for tithing was because the tribe of Levi (the priesthood) received no land inheritance with which to grow crops and raise livestock in order to provide for their sustenance.  The tithe was God’s provision for them.  There are many valid criticisms of New Covenant forced tithing in this thread based on solid scriptural research.  Have you read them with understanding?  You should understand that my opinions and your opinions will not hold up against God’s opinions and His ways.  We need to base our arguments on what the Word of God says: nothing added and nothing taken away.  May God be praised.

  4. Don Castleberry says:

    Should I tithe on my student loans that isn’t enough to cover the courses I must take?

  5. Nate says:

    Hey guys,

    I wanted to chime in on this subject as I have some pretty strong convictions on the subject.

    Like many of you I grew up in a Christian home and church that taught tithing as a law. The commands of the old testament are brought forward into the new covenant while other old testament commands are simply excused as part of the old covenant.

    After studying the subject of tithing and money extensively I have come to the following conclusions:

    1. Tithing is not mandatory for New Testament Christians
    2. Churches are guilty of focusing on one element of Biblical Finance – namely “Tithing”

    yet

    I still practice Tithing as a biblical principle and I disagree in part with the premise of the above article.

    I think churches and preachers have missed the boat in the fact that they rarely teach the whole counsel of God on the subject of finances. Here are just a few examples of Biblical principles from the book of Proverbs.

    Principle #1 – Give God your first and best

    The old testament tithe was not just about giving 10% it was about giving God the best of your herd, the best of your crops, the first of what you have. This does not make logical sense and you would naturally keep your best animals for breeding, however, the process required “faith” which God is always looking for. Not to mention that giving is a form of worship.

    Proverbs 3:9 “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.”

    Principle #2 – Stay away from Greedy people
    Proverbs 1:13-15

    Principle #3 – Wisdom is more valuable than Gold and Silver
    Proverbs 3:13

    Principle #4 – Pay your bills on time and do not postpone payment
    Proverbs 3:27-28

    Principle #5 – Don’t co-sign other peoples debts
    Proverbs 6:1

    Principle #6 – Work hard, save and prepare for the future
    Proverbs 6:6-11

    Principle #7 – Illegal, immoral gain will not profit
    This would include cheating on taxes, reporting hours not worked etc.
    Proverbs 10:2

    Principle #8 – Diligence and hard work will make you rich
    Proverbs 10:4

    Principle #9 – Quick money dwindles – slow and steady wins the race
    Proverbs 13:11

    Principle #10 – A good man leaves an inheritance to two generations
    Proverbs 13:22

    Principle #11 – The borrower is slave to the lender
    Proverbs 22:7

    Principle #12 – Lack of self control will be destructive to your life (and finances)
    Proverbs 25:28

    I could go on and on.

    Here is the thing. Preachers tell you that you can tithe your first and best (which is certainly a principle from scripture) and ignore all these other principles and God will magically make everything go well for you. This is simply not true. If you do not work hard, use self control, pay your bills, stay out of debt, save for the future – things will not go well for you.

    Many Christians who are in a financial hole are there because they have disregarded these principles – or at least many of them.

    I agree with the author of this article in this: GET OUT OF DEBT! The borrower is slave to the lender.

    My question is simply this – If you are in debt because you disregarded some of God’s financial principles for your life in the past, is the solution to ignore another of God’s principles in order to correct it?
    (namely first and best – note: this does not have to be tithing but it should be sacrificial and regular – not just after all the bills are paid)

    EXAMPLE: If I lack self control and buy things I do not need on my credit card or lose my job because I did not show up when I was supposed to — should I now stop giving regularly to God until I have made up the deficit?

    Interesting Note:
    As a board member of a local church – I can tell you firsthand that people who give as the “lord leads” – RARELY – even come close to giving 10% of their income. Many people who oppose tithing (often for good reason) spend more money on their hobbies or cable t.v. than they give. I am not judging anyone – just simple stating the facts as I have seen them in action. It is peculiar that God rarely leads people to give 20 or 30%. We do see this in the book of ACTS.

    Nate

  6. Non-Tithing Christian says:

    Nate,

    God doesn’t need our money to accomplish great things in our churches. Giving is a principle, that when followed, transforms the heart of the giver to be more like God, the ultimate Giver. This is the main point of giving for Christians. Unfortunately though, when churches receive money they don’t always carry forward the same spirit of faithfull stewardship in how money is allocated. That’s how we end up with uber rich pastors living high on the hog or extravagant buildings to worship in. As I have stated in this discussion before, 10% is NOT a number for giving that we Christians should be judged by for either being seen as “more faithful” or “less faithful” depending on which side of that number we regularly fit into when we give. For me, personally, I don’t have cable TV, we have one old paid for car shared by the whole family, and we don’t take extravagant vacations and we probably still don’t give like some church leaders think we should and are judged for it…Not everything is always how it seems. Be careful when you are in a position in church where you can be tempted to judge in a way that would have negative, yet unintended results…

    • Nate says:

      I hear you and I agree. The point I was trying to make was simply that I believe the principle of giving first and best is a scriptural one and cannot be ignored. This does not have to be 10% as you have so carefully pointed out. If we do not give to God off the top … He is essentially getting left overs. I think each person needs to prayerfully consider what that means for them, and give it first! That is the only point I am making.

      I do not judge what people give because it is none of my business. There are as you say, many pastors who abuse scriptural teaching on money to their own advantage. There are also countless people who say they cannot give to God while they spend large amounts on their own luxuries. I am glad that you are not this type of person, but I in no way inferred that you were. My concern has been that many such people who are looking for a reason NOT to give could use your well meaning reflections to their own advantage (which may really be their disadvantage). If they don’t want to give … why are they anyways?

      I am not looking for a debate. Just wanted to throw my 2 cents into the conversation.

      Regards.

      • Julius says:

        I think too many believers have been manipulated by the misuse of the phrase “giving to God”.

  7. Brett Gordon says:

    God does not need our money, so when he commands that his people tithe, He isn’t looking for money… He doesn’t need our money… He is looking for faith and obedience. When we are asked to give him our first fruits – off the top – He is looking for trust in His word. By not tithing, you are not trusting; you are not being obedient. You are saying, in effect, that God is unable – or unwilling – to provide, so I must push Him aside and fend for myself until I decide when I am ready to trust and obey him (or at least, when my financial situation eases up enough to let me reconsider my tithing position). In my experience, tithing is a no-brainer. Even when I was laid off for 6 months, I tithed. I am where I am today because when I remembered Him, He remembered me – He promised to, after all. If you’d like to hear about my story with respect to tithing. Blessings

  8. Tom says:

    @Barbara: I (am from Germany) was also a tither and giver and gave (from my standpoint of view) huge amounts of my money away. The results were always material and financial poverty, lack of means and the inability to seize opportunities. Even my colleagues at work were wondering what was the matter with me, what in the world was I doing with my money that I couldn’t afford some new clothes. Did I have some hidden children to provide for? Only after years I changed my mind, stopped tithing and invested my earnings in renovating my life, buying new clothes (no designer clothes), some furniture and a computer I was desiring so much. That was in 2001. Never, never did God curse me for that decision. But instead of being cursed by God because I didn’t tithe any longer, I felt happy and got blessed and He enriches my life in small steps. Now in 2014 I still live in very modest conditions, I do my job, seek the Lord, but am allowed from Him to do certain things which none of the leaders ever would allow me to do. He showed me that there are lots of other things you can do to do His will. Christianity isn’t just money. Instead of giving money You can give a lot of other things which often those people who tithe have unlearned to do, because they were so focussed on money. God wants your money, they say! No, He wants of you to give Him an hour of prayer in the first place, then to get His Word into your heart, which takes time, because His Word covers incredibly many topics, then to be friendly to other people, to help an old man cross the street, to help your pastor do some copies, to think the right thoughts, speak friendly words and so forth. This is also giving. Get back to the right things. Get back to love amoung each other. Get back to Jesus. That’s how I see the situation today. Barbara, I haven’t forgotten on how to give money, but I do it today, as the Holy Spirit leads me. I give to the poor and the rich get nothing.

  9. Denise says:

    I was paying tithe faithfully, and recently stopped due to mounting medical bills due to my spouse’s very serious health issues & inability to work, as well as a pay cut at my job. We also had fallen into using credit cards to buy things & although I continued paying tithe, I was having to take money out of savings to cover the tithe. I felt terribly guilty about not paying tithe, however, since reading Dave’s advice re: tithe & debt, I feel somewhat better. We are not using credit cards now, and are slowly chipping away at our debt. God takes care of us in spite of our mistakes & poor decisions.

  10. Tom says:

    Hi everyone, I have a request: Are there any churches who do not teach tithing and yet prosper (people get saved regularly, services prosper, people prosper)? In reverse: Are there any churches who strongly teach tithing and fail or peple get poor?

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