Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. I would earn a little money with no extra cost to you. The opinions expressed are my own. Read my disclaimer to learn more.
What does it look like to honor Jesus with your finances?
Finances aren’t generally a topic most people want to talk about your share with others. When’s the last time you talked openly about your finances with someone that wasn’t your spouse or significant other? My guess is it doesn’t happen that often.
So how can we honor Jesus with a part of our lives most of us don’t even want to talk about, let alone share our deepest darkest secrets?
To start with, let’s go directly to the source of what Jesus says in the Bible, then get ready to be really vulnerable about your finances. Sounds fun right?! Let’s dive in!
What Does the Bible Say About Money?
A LOT! The bible talks about money more than any other topic, and it’s not even close. Money and finances were important to Jesus, and it should be important to us too.
Many of Jesus’s parables were about money, which make it easy for us to relate to Him since money is a pretty universal concept for us. Most of us use money every day and it’s an integral part of our lives.
I’m not an expert on the bible, or money for that matter. But Jesus’s teachings about money have had a dramatic impact in my life and my financial journey. My family wouldn’t be close to where we are without Jesus. Knowing Him has completely changed our lives and trusting Him with our finances has been a big part of that.
I’m going to focus on how tithing, stewardship, and generosity have changed our budget and our lives, and how those acts honor Jesus through our finances.
What is Tithing and Why Should I Care About It?
In the Bible, God asks all who follow Him to give back to him the first 10% of everything we have. That is the basic definition of a tithe. Since we’re talking about money, tithing is when you give 10% of your income back to God.
The key part of tithing is that you’re giving back to God what is already God’s. Everything in this world belongs to God and everything we have is a blessing given by God.
“Deuteronomy 16:17 Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the LORD your God has blessed you.”
If this is a new idea for you, whether you actively follow Jesus or not, tithing can have a powerful impact on your finances. I’ve heard our pastor say that you can do more with 90% of your income if God is in charge than you can with 100% when you put yourself in charge of your money. Based on our experience, I would completely agree!
When I first heard of tithing, I thought it was a ridiculous idea. I was fresh out of college making $19,000 a year after taxes as a Paraprofessional in a middle school. If I gave 10% of my income to the church, that would be $1,900! That sounded insane.
However, I after a few more months, I felt God nudge me and I started giving money every Sunday. It wasn’t the full 10% tithe, but it was a start and built momentum in my faith journey. When Jenna and I started dating and budgeting together, I finally took the plunge and we contributed our full tithe back to the church. It was really scary at first giving away so much money, but it was a huge step closer to knowing Jesus more.
Matthew 6:26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
This verse was a good reminder for me of how much God loves me and that He will still take care of me. Tithing has helped us grow closer to Jesus and know our Heavenly Father more intimately. He continually provides everything we need and more.
For me, learning to tithe was like riding a bike. I started with training wheels, putting a few dollars in the offering basket every week until I finally took the risk and yanked those suckers off for good. Now I give to Jesus and it feels like the first time riding without training wheels, complete and utter joy.
In a few short months, I went from thinking tithing was ridiculous to giving with joy, and it completely changed our lives.
2 Corinthians 9:7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Learning to Honor Jesus with Our Finances
Honor isn’t a word that I hear too often. I most commonly hear the word honor at funerals, doing the beset we can to honor a loved one’s wishes in death and memories of their life.
To honor someone is to hold them in high esteem and treat them with respect. The definition seems easy enough to understand, and I think we can apply this to living people we encounter everyday, and definitely to Jesus.
Another common use refers to authority figures. You can honor a person in authority by doing what they ask of you. When I was a kid, I honored my parents by doing the dishes or taking out the garbage, not because I wanted to, but because they asked me to and they were the authority over my 8 year old self.
We can apply the same principle to Jesus. In the Bible, Jesus asks us to tithe the first 10% of everything we produce. If you choose to say yes, you are being obedient and intentionally choosing to honor Him.
At first, you might not like the idea of giving away 10% of your income, and to be honest, neither did I. But the more you do it, the more it becomes about loving Jesus and falling under his authority, and less about trying to aggressively clutch onto every penny you get.
I think love has an important connection to honor, and without love, the honor doesn’t mean much. Showing honor is an act of love, and that’s what tithing can become. I’ve certainly experienced that in my life, and tithing has become one of my favorite “expenses” every month. It’s fun to see how much we can give back to Jesus.
Learning to be a Steward of Money
I mentioned that Jesus is an authority in our lives. The cool thing about Jesus is that he also gives every one of us authority. He commanded us to go out and make disciples, spread the Good News, and speak and act with His authority. How cool is that!
He gives us authority over our families, our neighborhoods, and the world around us and gives us the charge of taking care of it.
Whether you believe it or not, you are a steward to the world around you and everything in it. Well, one aspect of this world is money, and that is also a gift from Him.
It’s our responsibility to be good stewards with our money, and a great way to do that is to tithe. Tithing acknowledges that our money came from Jesus, and we are giving back to Him what is His.
Luke 12:47-48 The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
I love the last line of this verse. God entrusts us with resources and money and asks us to use it for his purposes.
Tithing Leads to Generosity
Tithing is a wonderful act of giving, and giving teaches us to be generous. There is so much we can give. We can give our time, our energy, our ideas and intellect, our food, our hospitality, and an abundance of resources (including money)!
I’ve said before that budgeting and being intentional with money takes practice, and I believe the same goes for tithing.
Each month you get the opportunity to practice giving your money back to Jesus! But like any new skill, the more you do it, the better you get at it and the easier it becomes.
Tithing has led us to become more generous with our money. Since my wife and I started dating, we made tithing a non-negotiable and haven’t missed a month in five years.
Through our giving, we have become more generous people, and have found ways to give more of our money than just 10%. In the past year, we started giving away $50 each month in practical ways, in addition to our tithe. It might be a check in the mail, donating to a charity, or buying a gift for a family.
Each month is unique and we treat it that way, finding a new way for our giving to be a blessing to others. Our goal is to increase this amount each year and eventually give away 50% of our income each month! It might sound crazy, but tithing has taught us to be generous with our money, and content with our lifestyle.
Learning to Tithe in Your Own Life
At first, it might feel weird, or counterintuitive. Like how am I supposed to save money and get out of debt if I’m giving money away!? Trust me, I’ve thought the same thing before!
In early 2016, we had about $6,000 left on our student loan debt! We were so close! The previous year we tithed more than that amount, so it is really easy to think, “if we only used that money to pay our debt, we would be debt free by now!”
Jesus has blessed our socks off, and I believe it’s because we are good stewards of his money, are obedient, and honor him through tithing. For Jesus, 1 + 1 doesn’t always equal 2; it equals whatever he wants it to be! Trust him and let him be your financial planner.
If you feel Jesus tugging on your sleeve to start tithing (or just want to explore it more), I have some practical tips to help you get started.
Step 1: What is 10%
Figure out what 10% of your income is. This seems like a no brainer, but sometimes you have to start with the basics. Find out how much 10% of your monthly income is and see if you can pay all of your expenses without it. It might mean reconfiguring certain parts of your budget, or cutting unnecessary expenses, but see how you can make it happen.
Step 2: Tithe Right Away
If you’re worried about having enough money at the end of the month, don’t wait until then to tithe.
It’s a lot easier to tithe the first 10% of your paychecks than the last 10%. If you wait until the end of the month, you run the risk of spending extra money going out to eat, seeing movies, or a whole lot of other fun things. I
f you tithe right away, it’s over and done with! It might mean adjusting the entertainment budget, or a few more home cooked meals, but you can do it!
Step 3: Be Consistent
Once you start tithing, don’t skip a month. It’s like building a muscle, your tithing muscle. The more you work it out, the easier the workout becomes. If you miss a day though, it’s so much harder to start up again. Make a decision to be consistent and tithe every single month.
Tithing has been an unbelievable blessing to my family! It has taught us to really trust Jesus and become more generous people. See how it can change your life and family too.
Let Me Know in the Comments
Have you ever tithed before? What is keeping you from trusting Jesus with your finances?
Our budget and goals changed our lives. I hope it can change yours too. Tap the giant picture of my face to get your budget spreadsheet and debt log today.