It’s such a challenge living on a single income while bringing up a family. Add to that things like a mortgage to pay, nappies to buy and several mouths to feed etc, and the ‘discretionary income’ can be found to dwindle rapidly.
When words like “tithing” and “generosity” are then thrown around in church, it can all feel quite overwhelming and unachievable for the single income family while living on a tight budget.
I have been pondering this topic a lot lately. It keeps popping up. Not only at church, but also in podcasts I have listened to, in my quiet time, in our own budget sessions at home and then discussions with fellow single-income friends as we share our genuine struggle to make ends meet.
It’s clear in the bible what God wants us to do regarding our finances and here’s a few references if you need (just to get you started):
- Tithe 10% of what we earn and give it to the church (Leviticus 27:30)
- Be generous to others (Luke 6:30)
- Take care of our family (1 Timothy 5:8)
So how do we find a good balance with everything when the dollars are so tight?
And how can all that God is asking us to do be achieved (and more) while we are literally accounting for every penny we earn?
Now, I want to stop here for a moment and say that I am certainly no finance guru, and the truth is that I have made many financial decisions I regret in my past. However, I have been on a huge journey in this area and I have learnt a lot.
I can honestly say that there have been many times when God has miraculously provided finance for us, just when we needed it. One time that really stands out to me is the job God provided me a few years back. About a month after I started that ‘dream job’ (which at the time, kind of unexpectedly fell into my lap), we found out that, unknown to us previously, we were actually in a very difficult financial situation and we really needed that job I got! That situation had a lot to do with some extra giving we had agreed to that turned out to be beyond our means. But God honoured our faithfulness. It took us over a year to recover but, by God’s provision we found our way through it.
I guess the point I am trying to make is that I feel like I am finally beginning to understand something really important about God and finances and I wanted to share it with you here in the Blog. This is what it is:
“When it comes to being a Christian
AND running a budget,
our finances actually never really add up!”
I know, right!? It’s crazy isn’t it?
But isn’t it the way we are called to live as Christians? Not just with our money but with our time and talents too? God wants us to do whatever it is He has called us to do, even when it doesn’t make sense and it feels like our capacity is at its limit. My experience has been over and over again that, somehow, when we are obedient to his call, miraculously, it all works out in the end.
God is our provider and he knows what we need. The bible says this very clearly in Matthew 6:25. There are of course many examples in the bible of God’s miraculous provision as well to back this up. One of my favourite stories is the precious lady, Zarephath in 1 Kings 17:8-16 who was about to make her last meal before she died of starvation (talk about struggling to make ends meet!). The prophet Elijah, by God’s leading, came and asked for her generosity and because she was obedient to God’s call on her life, despite how little she had, he provided for her. Verse 16 says after this event “There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised”
Our job is to be generous when we feel God is asking us to be generous, even if it doesn’t make sense. I believe he wants us to tithe 10% of what we earn to the church, even when we feel like we need it and that the money could be put to ‘better’ use. And, if someone we know is having a hard time and money needs to spent to help them out, I believe we can trust God with this too.
Trust. That’s what it comes down to.
Don’t get me wrong, we still need a budget, and, in general terms, we need to be making wise choices based on our income capacity. But, what I am saying here is there is an added element too for us as believers, we need to remember that ultimately God is our provider and we can trust him. So, if we feel like God has asked us to do something (even if it’s as small as paying for a friend’s coffee), we don’t necessarily need to check that there is money available for these things. If we know it’s God’s desire, then we can know that he will make it all work out. It doesn’t have to make sense. It doesn’t have to add up! And I think there is an exciting freedom in Christ that comes from knowing that.
I stumbled across this verse in Proverbs 30:8b,9 in the Passion translation that I really love as a prayer for our finances and you might like to take a moment to pray it too.
What area of your finances does God want you to trust him with?
Are you tithing all the income your family earns to your church?
Do you have a story of generosity and God’s provision that you could share to encourage us all?
If you are reading this post and you haven’t already subscribed to receive an email when a new post is up, can I invite you to go ahead and take the time to do that? Honestly, I don’t post very often and it’s super quick and easy to do. Just click here and follow the prompts. You can, of course, follow me on Facebook or Pinterest as well, but you are guaranteed not to miss one of my posts if you actually subscribe via email.
Thanks so much for joining me in the journey and walking with me a while. I pray God’s blessings on your life and the next steps he is calling you to take.
With love, your sister in Christ,