I’m a single mom. My daughter and I are doing all right, but things are always tight for us. I grew up in church and have always heard that I should tithe but truthfully, I always have more month than money, so I just do what I can. I don’t want to feel guilty about not tithing, but I just don’t have any extra money! What do you think I should do to make ends meet and throw a little something in the offering plate? Surely God doesn’t need my money, and I know He understands my situation.
First, you need to know that as a single mom, you’re a hero. I was raised by a single mom and I’ve seen the sacrifice firsthand. Way to go!
Now, about tithing. Nowhere does it say in the Scriptures that you should feel guilty for not tithing. Guilt is not a fruit of the Spirit. However, you may feel convicted, which is sign that your heart is nudging you toward a more intimate relationship with Christ. Having helped a lot of people overcome obstacles to tithing, I’ve learned that folks don’t find room to tithe unless they allocate their money toward it before they do anything else with it every month.
The tithe is meant as an act of worship, to be returned to our Creator as part of our firstfruits. By giving the tithe first, we’re showing God we really do trust Him. Then one of three things usually happens:
- We are forced to creatively manage the rest of our money and we learn to live off of 90%.
- We eliminate another 10% of the budget that was unneeded excess anyway, canceling out the need for the 10% we gave as our tithe.
- God works everything out naturally and supernaturally so that we are just fine, if not better off, without the 10%.
I have found time and again that living with 90% has always surpassed living with 100%.
And you’re right—God doesn’t need our money, but He desperately wants our hearts. Most of the time, the best way for Him to win our hearts is through our wallets—the one thing many of us trust as much as or more than God. When we tithe and give God our hearts, He blesses us with joy, peace and a deeper relationship with Him.
So as a person who grew up in a single-parent home and on welfare, my advice is to tithe first every month and to treat it as a very special time of worship. Then be prepared to watch God show off in your life. Yes, He does indeed know your situation, but He wants you to boldly show Him you trust Him. The tithe is not about a fee, but about our faith.