"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man [person] should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."1
As you can well imagine, when I have written on tithing, I have usually received an unusually high response from Daily Encounter readers. Most are favorable. Some ask for further advice. And there are those who strongly oppose what I have to say.
At the risk of getting criticized again, allow me to share the response of just one reader.
Jennifer (name changed) wrote: "In response to an earlier Daily Encounter on tithing, I was deeply in debt one year ago. The day my husband walked out I found out that I was $25,000.00 in credit card debt that I knew nothing about. In the course of our breakup, I was awarded $10,000.00 of this debt because it was community debt even though I had not charged any of it. I didn't know how I would ever be able to pay it off while supporting two children.
"So I prayed ... and prayed ... and prayed...!
"And today, barely a year later, I am debt free with a modest savings to boot. I would like to tell you how 'I did it,' but the truth is that I didn't do it. Once I put it in God's hands, the money started coming in ... some from expected places and others from unexpected places.
"During the times when I tithed, life was good and there always seemed to be enough. When I cut God short, or even completely out, money was tight, or not enough at all. I have learned my lesson. God does love us and takes care of us even when we, as humans, don't see how it could possibly work out. But it does."
Speaking personally, a few years ago I, too, had some major setbacks and borrowed quite a bit to survive and to keep our ministry alive. I kept tithing anyhow and God provided me with a second job. I worked this second job for several years, which wasn't easy, but my debts got all paid off for which I was truly thankful.
In all circumstances we need to decide what the right thing is to do. Remember, too, we can never out-give God.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to appreciate all the innumerable blessings You daily provide for me, not the least of which is Your gift of forgiveness and eternal life. Give me a grateful heart and a spirit of generosity for Your work and the betterment of others. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
1. 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 (NIV).