Monday, July 19, 2010

God's financial formula

About a year after I accepted Jesus as Lord of my life I learned about tithing. This is what God put on my heart about money:

It is all His. All the money that flows through our hands belongs to Him. All He asks is for 10% to be given back to Him. We should do this through our local church (He also calls us to be plugged into a growing body of believers.) This is so simple, if He gives me $100, I get to keep $90 of it. That is awesome. This 10% is off every penny that flows in our lives. If you get $100 for your birthday or as a gift or an extra job, take the first 10% and give it back to God. I also believe you should tithe on your gross pay, not just your net. Once again it is all His money anyway.

In addition to tithing it is strongly in my heart to give a love offering above and beyond that tithe. This can go to your church if that is where God is leading, or to help a friend, or to a missionary, or a needy child. The possibilities and ministries needing donations are endless. The motive of this love offering should be to share the love God has given you and plant seeds of Him in those you are giving to.

This is how I try to live my life through finances:
10%-to God through local church
10%-love offering (I currently sponsor two children through Compassion and give to our local Christ centered pregnancy center)
70%-live on

This may seem unrealistic, but this really is a trust issue. Do you trust that Jesus is truly Lord over your life? Do you trust He really will provide for all your needs when you are aligning your life with His will?

Start small, if you are not tithing at all, start with 1% and increase by 1% each month. If you are tithing, but not giving a love offering increase this by 1%. You CAN NOT out give God! I imagine this will have huge positive consequences in your life!

I tell you on paper my life does not make sense, how could a single mom with less than $20,000 income have no debt and own a home(well at least a mortgage?) It is only God (and trust me I have made some bad choices in my past.) I trust Him first with my finances. I remember it is all His money. He wants me to be a good steward of it. And if so He will let me be in charge of more.



Anonymous said...

I 100% do not believe in tithing, but I'm not judging you at all. I really respect how you are able to survive financially, save money and are not on welfare (or in debt). That being said… do you save for retirement? Do you have money in an IRA? While I admire your faith, I would hope that you are not relying on such a thing to get you through when you are no longer able to work.

Becky R said...

I do not have anything saved for retirement. I also do not have an IRA. I am self employed and pay all my own bills, but it is very tight being a single mom with two boys.
However I bought a house last year and put 16% down on it. By the time I am 63 it should be paid off. Plus when my boys are grown I will be 40 and can focus on work and saving for retirement.

Becky R said...

By the way Anonymous I think even if you don't belive in tithing giving away the first part of your income to some charity or need is a good practice for anyone. I still think it will be good for you and your finances.

Whitney said...

I agree with anon in that I don't believe in tithing, but it is amazing that you make due on your salary with a mortgage and two kids! You are in NJ, correct? I am from there and I know the high taxes are killer.

Becky R said...

Yes, we live in NJ. My taxes are $4,800 a year, so I budget $400 a month. My home insurance is $1,100 a year (because I am near the water), so I budget $100 a month. My sewer is $125 a quarter. Plus all the regular utilities (gas, water, electric, phone, internet) and my mortagage.
The bills are high, but I believe if God wants me here, He will make a way (and He has so far.)

Anonymous said...

I'm not against giving money to charities and such, I actually think it's a wonderful thing to give to causes you believe in. What I'm against, is being OBLIGATED to give, which is just one of the many reasons I'm so opposed to tithing. If I feel the desire (and have extra money to give) I will. But I absolutely do not think that I should have to give away money. It completely takes away from the good nature and intent of giving. I do not think that you should ever resent the act of charity.

Becky R said...

It is absloutely in my heart to give. Not only do I not feel obligated to do so I want to give and do more.
I feels so blessed and want to share that.
Also believing it is all God's money anyway and I am just a manager of it makes me want to do right by God even more. Not because I have to, but because I want to.
I do not resent any of God's money that I give.

HS @ Our Debt Blog said...


I don't go to a church so I can't tithe... I grew up catholic but since I support birth control and abortion I can't really give them any $$ lol

10% is a lot! I don't know you do it, but like other readers I respect you.

I can't believe your taxes are 4800a year! OMG! We pay about the same as you, our house is 2400 sq in TX and we also don't have state income tax.

I hope Texas will stay a conservative state! we don't like Obama LOL

Jeannette said...

Anonymous, judging really? whenever judging is in a sentence it spells judge....
NOt sure what your point is, marketing a retirement plan perhaps?
What on earth are you basing your information on, wall street, your 401K which can wiped out faster than a hiccup...I would rather my family and I base our future on faith than any retirement plan could possibly offer
Becky has managed to live comfortably without debt for over 5 years.. can you say that?--and she will be provided for in her retirement
Tithing is not forced, you do not get a bill you are asked to provide a certain portion of Gods money to him. It's your choice if you choose to or not choose to... WE are not judging you at all!

Jeannette said...

PS<< love you Becky but that really irked me
I am not judging REALLY
okay calm, breathe

Whitney said...

$4800 is so high compared to GA! We pay $1600 but we own a townhouse so not much land. If you live by the ocean, I am jealous! We live about a mile from a beautiful lake but it's not the same. I miss the Jersey shore more than any other place.

Anonymous said...


Okay. I do not care AT ALL whether or Becky, (or anybody else) chooses to do with her money. And no, I am not a sales rep for a retirement plan, I just think they're VERY important. I was simply asking a question, and I thought I was polite and respectful. No, I do not think I was being rude, or judgmental, but if that's how you interpreted it, I apologize.

My biggest argument against tithing is people who blindly give their money to the church, and end up on welfare in their golden years as a direct result. It happens a LOT. I'm not saying this will happen to Becky. I was just asking a simple question. Perhaps it was none of my business, but since she posts about her finances in detail pretty often, I didn't think it was out of line. And again, I don't care if you do believe in tithing. My mom tithes, and I have no problem with that, it's not my place to judge.

And yes, I am debt free, thank you. I was blessed with parents who could pay for college and graduate school out of pocket, and I worked HARD to be able to pay for a car in cash, and have built up a lovely life for myself. And I am diligently saving for retirement. Yes, I know it could be wiped out in a stock market crash, but I rather enjoy planning ahead so that I don't have to work until I'm 80 like my grandparents did. Because let's face it, the chances of my money being completely wiped out are a lot less than hoping that by tithing you'll automatically be taken care of financially. I only hope that you and Becky can enjoy retirement comfortably, and if that means having faith that you will be okay, then so be it.

Anonymous said...

Accept Jesus as your Saviour and many blessings will come after.

Anonymous said...

HS, I'm not yet attending a church on a regular basis, so currently have no church home, but i do give a portion of my income where i feel led to give it. I think God honors that, and He leads me where to give it.

I have never been a Catholic, and wouldn't be a good one for many reasons, the two you listed and much more. I consider myself a christian but i'm not always drawn to attending a house of worship.

I remember feeling the way Anonymous has, that if i'm just ekeing out a living, how can i possibly give away money and have enough, when i have just barely enough as is? And, who will take care of me in the future if i don't take care of myself with some sort of retirement plan?

It's very logical, that point of view, and one i held also. My grandmother, who raised her family during the Depression, spoke often about her MIL who was a tither. FIL was infirm (coal miner's disease, AKA Black Lung), so he couldn't work much, and she was a day nurse. Had 13 children and 9 lived to adulthood.

My great-grandmother would come home from work with her day's pay, take her envelopes from where she kept them and distribute the $ as needed. The first 10% always went in God's envelope. She would say, "that's God's," and if she dropped in an extra nickel, she'd say, "And that's from me."

I listened and wondered how this amazing woman could feed and clothe 13 kids, tend to an ailing husband, run a household, bake bread 3 times a week, and iron mountains of laundry on Tuesdays (because as everyone knows, Monday was Wash Day).

My grandmother was a believer in actions speaking louder than words. In my family, religion was always a private matter, and you could discuss it, but no one wanted to be preached at.

When i set up in my first apartment, i decided to try my great-grandmother's system. My gram had done the same for years, and although she was never rich, she had all her needs met and was content with what she had. One of the most contented people i've ever met.

Now, this flew in the face of every logical bone in my body. But i set up my budget, and had an envelope marked God's. It's the first one that got fed when i came home from work (I was a tipped employee then, so 98% of my income was cash).

It was amazing. I always had enough. I sometimes had more than enough.

My logical self still is amazed 28 years later at how it works, but it's not just logic and physical. It's a metaphysical principle working in a flesh and blood world.


HS @ Our Debt Blog said...

Megan I read your comments, good points...

Becky R said...

I think God calls us to tithe but also He gave us a brain and wants us to save as well. He can and will provide supernaturally for people in retirement (as He has done so many times for me in my life now.) But I believe we need to be saving too. I fully intend to focus on a career and saving once my boys are grown. Plus I have my home which will be paid off before I retire, so that is something.

I love discussing finances and do not mind questions.
But most of what I do is with God's leading and sometimes that doesn't make logical sense. But for my life it works.

We don't technically live near the ocean, but the bay. But the view of New York City is really nice. Plus the kids like to play on the sand. For swimming we have to drive, but the insurance company still charges us more because we are one mile within water.

Thanks for all your comments.

Whitney said...


I know this post is over already, lol, but I've been thinking about it a lot. Have you considered opening a Roth IRA even though you can't afford to contribute too much? Even something like $10/month would be something, plus if you had it already opened you could shove any extra cash in there if you feel like it. Also, you can withdraw any money you invest in a Roth at any time without penalty, so it can be used like an extension of an emergency fund. Although I don't think you can touch the interest you make without a penalty.

Forgive me if you've already considered this and decided against it! But I know compound interest works wonders and you're young enough so I thought I might as well say something. :-)

Becky R said...

That is a great idea. I can do $10 a month at least. How do I go about that? Thanks!

Whitney said...


We have an IRA (with hardly anything in it unfortunately lol) through ShareBuilder because we keep our savings in divided sub-accounts at ING Direct. We only originally opened it because there was a $50 bonus through ING. Here is the link to ING:

If you click "open an account" there is information on opening an IRA under the "retirement" heading.

We didn't have to invest a set amount just to open it, which is good for us. There are a ton of other options though. I think you can open a Roth at just about any bank.

Thanks for the comment on my blog. I am also so glad I'm out of that depression! Hopefully the new blog will help keep me motivated on the losing weight front.