Originally published Tuesday, 01 April 2014.
Here we go! I thought, as I rolled my eyes, crossed my arms, and sat listening to the pastor one Sunday morning. He was preaching on the importance of the tithe. I can’t really tell you everything he said, because honestly, I tuned most of it out. You see, I had not been going to church for long. I had attended as a child, but fell away for some time, and was just now becoming acclimated to my new church…and now this! The pastor had nerve to speak on tithing.
I was a single mom. I had no money. “Someone needs to go ahead and give a good offering to buy this man a new truck, so we can move on to a better topic next week!” I thought to myself. I thought surely that was what this thing was all about – the pastor needing something new.
But as the next several weeks passed, his words wouldn’t leave my mind. The concept of the tithe was not new to me. I was raised in church and knew the Bible commanded giving a tenth of your increase back to the Lord, but seriously?! I was a single mom! I had no money! I was making only a few hundred dollars a month to raise my two children. The use of government assistance was the only way I even made ends meet. The tithe seemed so outlandish. Yet, I thought on it. I prayed about it. I argued with God about it. I knew God was prompting me to give. So I did. I wrote my first tithe check and put it in the offering plate as it passed through. Nothing miraculous happened that day or the next or the next. I just kept giving. I actually felt good about it. I knew I was living in obedience. I knew I was doing was God called me to do. And most importantly, I learned that my giving was flowing from the love I had for my Heavenly Father and not because He needed my money.
The more I gave, the more I was blessed. Over the next several years, I moved away from government assistance, climbed the Corporate Ladder, and made a nice living. All of those things, I whole-heartedly believe, were blessings from my obedience to the tithe. Let me be careful, here. I am not suggesting that we tithe to be blessed – that God is somehow our magical genie that we rub and make demands. I am simply saying that for whatever reason, unbeknown to me, God chose to bless my financial obedience.
The same is true for you, single mom. You can tithe. In fact, I would assert to you that you cannot afford NOT to tithe. God’s command on our finances doesn’t have a caveat that reads “except if you are a single mom”. God says tithe. He says give 10% of your increase. And although I came under criticism from some for tithing to the church while I was taking money from the government, I did it anyway. I would much rather be criticized by the world than to live in disobedience with my Savior.
Jennifer Maggio is an award-winning author of several books and the founder of the global nonprofit, The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. She has been featured in countless media venues. For more information, visit http://www.thelifeofasinglemom.com.