Message Monday: Should I tithe while paying off debt?

should i tithe while paying off debt?

We need to be laser-focused on paying off debt.

We need to use every penny we can find to pay off debt.

We need to sell some stuff, work extra, and spend as little as possible to pay off debt faster.

Should we stop giving a tithe to get out of debt faster?
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A big part of the advice I give to get out of debt faster is to:

  • Stop spending money on any non-essential items
  • Stop contributing to retirement plans
  • Stop all savings except for gathering $1,000 for emergencies

As a Financial Coach, the next question I usually get is…


God promises that if we obey his commandments and follow his instructions we will be blessed.

It might not be a financial blessing. He might bless us in the form of good health or preventing a car accident. Maybe it’s a promotion at work or wisdom.

But the biggest change takes place in our hearts. Giving, even just a tithe, takes the focus off of ourselves and puts it on someone else.

It is difficult to quantify how God works, but I've come up with the following formula:

90% of our income + God > 100% of our income without Him.

or for those of us who like math: 90%+God > 100%-God

should i tithe while paying off debt?


My wife and I have been giving a tithe to our church for over a decade – even while we were in debt.

I look back and see how much money we’ve given, not just in tithes but in offerings as well. I get a thrill when we donate money to Longmeadow Rescue Ranch or send an extra gift to our sponsored child in India.

If we never started tithing then we wouldn't feel as good about our charitable giving.


Giving a tithe is not in the ten commandments, but it is in His instructions booklet for becoming a sold-out believer.

God challenges us to tithe. Yes, he CHALLENGES us to give 10% to our local church:

“Bring the whole tithe into he storehouse, that there may be food in my house. TEST ME IN THIS,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it”Malachi [3:10]

  • There was no exception for the poor
  • There was no disclaimer for special situations
  • He asks for the same amount regardless of income or wealth

If God says tithe then we should be faithful – even tithe while paying off debt.

Don't worry. He’s got ‘ya covered.

THANK GOD it's only 10% !

God only asks us for 10% – whether we make $10,000 a year or $1,000,000 a year.

My family has been blessed along the way and we will continue to tithe.

Besides, it's only 10%.


Want to learn more about tithing while paying off debt?


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  • This one hits home. We have not been tithing through our debt reduction, and it doesn’t sit well with me. We have been giving, but not nearly 10%. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” I believe that we would be tithing out of compulsion if we did so at this point. It’s not a truth I’m proud of, but it is the truth. I admire you and other people striving to get out of debt who do tithe.

    • Steve Stewart

      Reply Reply June 2, 2014

      Prudence, thank you for being so honest.

      The passage you quoted addresses our spirit in giving. Yes, we should not feel that giving is a requirement, it is meant to change our hearts and make us more like Jesus (who gave it all).

      I have seen it time and time again: Someone walks out in faith, such as tithing while paying off debt, and then they get a raise or a better job.

      I was teaching a class and one student began tithing. About 2 weeks later their van had serious mechanical problems. They found an incredible deal on a replacement van that someone had just listed. It cost exactly the same amount as their emergency fund + trade in. Coincidence? Hmmmmm.

      Tithing while paying off debt doesn’t make sense. FAITH NEVER DOES. 🙂

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