Tithing in Tough Economic Times

Written by Darren Hewer

piggybank2Well-known Christian authors/pastors, like Rick Warren and Francis Chan, are known to “reverse tithe”. Instead of tithing 10%, they tithe 90% of their income.  This is possible because they earn large amounts of money from their books and other sources.  Although the graciousness and commitment of these men should be commended (they are of course under no obligation to give back so much of their earnings) it’s obvious that for most people, giving 90% of their income just won’t work.  In an economic recession, 10% can seem like a big enough challenge.

Should Christians reduce their tithes in tough economic times? On one hand, it makes sense to save a little more, and plan to give a little more in the future once the economy picks up again.  No one could blame a family for reducing their donation if they’re having trouble making ends meet.

But on the other, shouldn’t tithing be sacrificial in the first place? And doesn’t the church need our full tithe during a difficult economy even more than in a booming one?

Perhaps in difficult financial times, instead of being the first thing to be cut, our tithe should only be cut as a last resort? After trimming the budget as much as possible, only then should we reduce our tithe? If we believe supporting our local faith community and their work in God’s kingdom is critically important, we should be very hesitant to reduce our support for it.

Have you chosen to reduce your tithe during times of financial difficulty? Do you think it’s something that should be encouraged, tolerated, or actively avoided?

Related reading:
Money Management for the Christian Family – Did you know that Jesus spoke more about money than He did about any other topic?
From Success to Significance – How one man started to question how “shallow” pure success-oriented living was.

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