What to Do When You Can’t Afford to Tithe

Nearly every day someone asks me about money.

They want to know what I’m doing, what I’m investing in, how did I pay off debt so quickly, how do I do my budget, how is it you don’t have a day job…etc.

See, what’s really going on here is people are saying to themselves, “Whatever he is doing financially is obviously working. What I am doing is not working. Maybe if I apply his strategies, I’ll get his results too.”

And that’s great! There’s nothing wrong with thinking like that, in fact, I encourage you to take that approach!

But here’s where people miss it:

They’re looking for the wrong things.

Instinctively, people think I live a life of financial freedom because I must be great at budgeting, super disciplined and frugal, I’ve got some kind of financial degree,  or I know of some hidden investments that magically make a ton of money.


It’s none of those things. I don’t really have a traditional budget, no college degrees, I’ve never even read a Dave Ramsey book all the way through!

But here’s the TRUTH that most people don’t want to accept:

Without a shadow of doubt, the ONE THING that has set me up for financial success is tithing.

Hear me out-

Most of you reading this know what tithing is, it’s the simple act of returning to God, the first 10% of your income.

Every time you get some money, you tithe the first 10% to your local church where you’re spiritually fed.

This goes towards meeting the needs of the church so it can run, operate and do it’s thing.

I committed to tithing when I was 19, (I’m 33 now) and since then:

  • I have never missed or been late on any payment of any kind
  • Never struggled to make ends meet
  • Been stressed, worried, or lost sleep because of money
  • No major financial deficits
  • I’ve paid off debt, increased our income, and built financial margins

Now, have there been times when money was tight?


But here’s the thing, those “seasons” were extremely short.

1-2 months tops, and to be 100% completely honest with you, they weren’t even that bad!

Why? Because I had a supernatural peace the entire time.

I know what the Bible promises will happen when I tithe:

Malachi 3:10-11 “Bring all the tithes (the whole tenth of your income) into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now by it, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground.”

The Message Bible puts it, “Bring your full tithe to the Temple treasury so there will be ample provisions in my Temple. Test me in this and see if I don’t open up heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams.”

Another translation reads, “…See if I won’t open for you the floodgates of heaven and pour out for you a blessing far beyond your needs.”

I like that deal!

Step 1: Give God back 10% of what He gave me through a paycheck or a commission, or a business sale. (Your job/business/income/all came from Him anyway!)

Step 2: He opens up the windows of heaven and pours out blessings beyond my wildest dreams on me.

Step 3: The devourer is rebuked for my sake!

Okay, I’m in.

I’ve simply acted on this promise over all these years, and I’ve been living the results of the blessed life.  (It’s a lot of fun, I highly recommend it btw!)

But people don’t want to hear that. 

That’s not what they consider “real help.”

When people ask me for financial insight, I always start by asking them about tithing, and like clockwork they snap back, almost like they’re annoyed at my question,

“Well, we can’t afford to tithe right now, we will when get some of this debt paid off…”

Or when we get a raise, or a promotion, or (insert wishful thinking here)

Again, let’s dissect what is really going on here. (I find if we will take a few minutes each day to examine why we think the way we think, we can weed-out fears and strongholds we didn’t even know were there.)

When we say, “I can’t afford to tithe.” – You’re actually saying, “God, I can’t do what you’ve told me to do.”

Now we all know that God doesn’t give us instructions that we are truly incapable of carrying out. When He gives instructions, He also empowers us to do them.

They may not seem easy, or we may not be able to see how it’s possible, but if He’s given us a command, we are capable.

Saying I CAN’T is also probably the wrong word too. What you probably mean is, “God, I have taken on too much debt. I have so many monthly payments going out, that by the time I pay them all, there is nothing left over from my paycheck. If I had plenty left, I’d surely give you some!”

Be real with yourself. I know you’ve thought that, because we all have – the devil loves it when he can talk you out of tithing!

Why? Think about it:

  1. Tithing causes the windows of heaven to open and blessing to be poured out on you nonstop. (The devil doesn’t want that)
  2. When you tithe, God rebukes the devil (The devourer) for your sake! (He REALLY doesn’t want that)

Of course he’s going to fight you tooth and nail in the area of your finances!

If he can convince you that you can’t afford to tithe, then the windows of heaven close, you stay stuck in your financial rut, and he’s not rebuked (restrained) from your life, your money, and what you produce.

In other words,

Tithing gives God permission to work in your finances.

And if your money is tight right now, that’s exactly what you need!

I would get God, the Creator, the Supplier, the Financier, the Benefactor, working in your money RIGHT NOW.

Obviously, whatever you’ve been doing isn’t working too well, so you might as well take a step of faith and act on God’s word.

What to Do When You Can’t Afford to Tithe

This is going to be good.

This is going to flip your financial life rightside up again.

Here’s the old financial equation that hasn’t been working:

Paycheck – Bills = $0

Here’s the new equation that God dares you to try:

Paycheck – Tithe = Bills paid with extra left over.

Question is, do you have the guts to try it?

I tried it once when I was 19 and never looked back.

This is literally why the Bible says over and over, “the just LIVE by faith.”

Us Christians, live, walk out, act out, our faith. We LIVE what the Bible preaches.

So here’s what that looks like in real life:

Faith writes the check FIRST.

Faith gives 10% of your income back to God FIRST.

Faith says, “I know this doesn’t make sense in the natural, but faith doesn’t always ‘make sense.’ I’m going to tithe and trust that God will do what He said He would do!”

Faith chooses to trust God’s Word, more than your bank account balance.

Take a deep breath and prove your trust by writing that tithe check FIRST.

God knew that committing to the tithe would be hard in the flesh.

Did you notice that in Malachi 3:10 God actually tells you to “test Him, try Him, and prove Him” in the area of tithing?

It’s literally the only place in the Bible where God tells you to do that.

Interesting it’s used only in that one verse and in regards to money.

He’s letting you know, “Hey, you can trust Me in the area of finances. Put Me first, put your financial trust in Me, prove that you trust Me and then I’ll be able to give you a life of more than enough.”

You can do this.

You CAN afford to tithe.

Make the commitment in your heart to do it no matter what.

It’s not a matter of making a ton of money first, or being a financial budgeting wizard.

It’s about priority. What you put FIRST.

God is your number one priority. That’s why your money goes to Him FIRST.

Your bills used to be your number one priority, that’s why they got your money FIRST.

You are now a tither. No matter what, you give 10% of all that comes in back to Him FIRST.

Don’t try to figure out “how you’re going to make it work,” – you take action and tithe, and God will “make it work.”

The windows of heaven are constantly open above you now, continually pouring out blessing far beyond your needs!

This is the beginning of your financial turnaround.

Expect blessing, expect increase, expect overflow so you can turn and be an even bigger blessing to others!

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  1. I love this post. This so true. I tell people that is going thru hard times to tithe and pray. They won’t do it and they are still suffering. I feel so good when I tithe, and my life has been truly blessed. Thank you for this post

  2. Thank you for posting this biblical principle. I have been a tither since I was 13 years old. I am 59 and 1 month and retired to spend quality time with my husband last month. PTL!

  3. Thank you this has helped me , I am going to tithe from this month , I have so much debt but I know God will come through for me , he will heal me through this

  4. When I started tithing I was doubtful, I would hold back and think I can’t afford it, one day I read Malachi 3:10 with his assurance “Test Me” who am I to test Him, He is my provider the one who gave me life, without doubt and with debt I gave my tithe, ever since then I don’t go a day without money on my pocket, and yes He has opened up the floodgates of heaven, He has worked wonders for me, I highly recommend tithing without holding back, you have nothing to loose, on the other hand He’s promise stands firm, God Bless!

  5. Thanks so much for reminding us why it is so important to tithe I’ve been struggling with this for months but now I have assurance that everything is in God’s hands we just need to do our duty…and it does work because when I was paying my tithes before I never ran short of money and had money in every single card.
    God bless you for this eye opening msg.

  6. I have heard all of this many times before from my parents and my spiritual leader but it did not take root until I read this Thank you

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