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To Give or Not to Give
That is the Question   

Q. I have over $30,000 in credit card debt. I can barely keep up with my mortgage. I have over $20,000 in student loans and still owe $11,000 for my car. Should I be tithing or giving to charities when I'm in so much debt?


American Story

I know it's hard to tithe when you are in so much debt. But just so you know, most Americans carry this kind of debt these days. On top of lots of debt citizens are also finding that fees are increasing and food and energy costs are going up, too.

This situation is frustrating and it seems all of us have to constantly shift services to keep on top of these fees. We repeatedly change cell phone services, land phone services, internet services, satellite TV, propane gas companies, banks or brokerage services, and other things to try to keep fees down.

Give&it will be Given to You

Having said that Luke 6:38 says that God will give to you with the same measure you give to Him:

"Give, and it will be given to you - a good measure - pressed down, shaken together, and running over - will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you" (HCSB).

Giving to the Poor

Besides, the Lord tells us that one of the most important things we can do is to help the poor. This is why the focus of most charities and missions worldwide has been to assist those less fortunate than we are.

In our culture we tell people, "You can't take it with you." We usually mean that whatever we store up here on earth will not accompany us to the grave.

But, Jesus teaches us that we CAN take things with us by doing things now in order to send it ahead. He says, Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…(Matthew 6:19-21).

Helping Your Future

Charity, missions, and helping the poor is one of God's primary concerns. When we plan for our eternal future it is wise to value what God does.

Yet, the Bible also makes it clear that we may help our immediate future, too, when we obey God's command to help the poor:

"Those who shut their ears to
the cries of the poor
will be ignored in their own
time of need."

(Proverbs 21:13)

"Give generously to the poor, not grudgingly, for the LORD your God will bless you in everything you do." (Deuteronomy 15:10)

Do you want to be blessed in everything you do? Do you want to be helped when you have need? Then help the poor!

How About Debiting Monthly Tithes?

Ironically, we suggest that Christians who have a hard time tithing think about having their credit card debited monthly at their church or by a favorite charity. Some companies call this "Auto-Bill" services.

This is because we are so quick to buy things impulsively at the shopping mall or to grab that new book for $29.99. Yet, we begrudge giving God even $30-50 monthly on that same credit card! Something is wrong with this picture.

1 John 3:17 is a good verse to memorize in this light:

"If anyone has this world's goods and sees his brother in need but shuts off his compassion from him - how can God's love reside in him?" (HCSB)

Slaves of the Lenders

Once you have begun to tithe regularly, work to pay down your debts one by one. Proverbs 22:7 says,

"The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender" (ESV).

In general Americans have already become slaves to globalists and big bankers because of their spending habits. This surely cannot be pleasing to God.

In fact, it seems likely that many formerly wealthy Americans are going to lose most of what they have anyway - to home foreclosures, healthcare costs, insurance costs, and myriads of fines from counties and states. We may as well give some of it to the Lord first, don't you think?

Proverbs 3:9 says, "Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce" (NLT).

Let's not wait to give the Lord our stale leftovers!

God loves a Cheerful Giver

Finally, 2 Corinthians 9:7 says,

"You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don't give reluctantly or in response to pressure. 'For God loves a person who gives cheerfully'" (NLT).

Ouch! I guess we need to clean-up our attitudes, too. Let's not begrudge God his due when He has blessed us with so much.

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