Taking strides toward getting out of debt is a good thing. Learning to discipline your spending in order to prevent further or future indebtedness is even better. But giving even while you’re in the process of achieving those good goals: That’s the best.
Yes, I understand the arguments; they make sense on a calculator. But when you have a faith that defies calculations, flies in the face of what makes sense to secular minds, this kind of thinking might actually make sense. I invite you to at least give it a hearing and see if you have more to gain by giving while in debt than you have to lose.
A Sign of Trust
That’s what tithing was always meant to be, you know? Just like bestselling author Ann Voskamp describes in her video interview with Warren Smith, Associate Publisher of WORLD Magazine, God asks all kinds of things of us, in order to show that we trust Him.
Not working on Sundays and tithing from the firstfruits of our income are notable examples. While the concept of whether those requirements apply beyond the Old Testament is often debated, what if our hesitance to follow those biblical expectations is rooted in a lack of trust? Lack of trust reveals a heart of unbelief, a crisis of faith.
Demonstrating faith in God’s provision by giving while in debt will can make greater displays of faith possible (Romans 1:17). As author Ney Bailey puts it, “if we take God at His Word a little bit, then we’ll take Him at His Word a little bit more and a little bit more.”
An Occasion for Sacrifice
Let’s face it: We Americans aren’t used to having to give things up. Those across the globe or from previous centuries would likely find what some “give up” for Lent quite laughable. We live in a culture of excess, in which we’ve come to see unnecessary luxuries as necessities.
In her book “An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess,” Jen Hatmaker details her family’s unusual journey to changing their lifestyle. In the wake of that, they discovered a more fulfilling life of simplicity and generosity.
Are there any conveniences or upgrades, services or comforts, you don’t want to live without? What if you gave them up, voluntarily, for the purpose of being able to give to God and others?
If doing without that one fast food stop per week or downsizing your media plan on your phone doesn’t seem like much, have faith! Remember that God cares about the heart and delights in our sacrificial gifts (Luke 21:1-4). He can also multiply them and use what doesn’t seem like much to make a difference (John 6:1-14).
As counter-intuitive as it sounds, sacrificial giving is more fulfilling than clinging to our own desires. In God’s economy, less is often more (Matthew 20:16, Acts 20:35).