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I’m going to be completely honest with you from the start – I’m not a financial expert or budget guru. Yes, I’m super practical and I find it fun and challenging to find ways to optimize our lives in different ways – things I plan on sharing with you in future blog posts – but a master-of-all-things-money, I am not.
However, finances and budgeting are extremely important areas of consideration for us, as I’m sure they are for you. This year alone, we’re planning for the additional costs of FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer), a fifth child and all related expenditures, this blog, and several large home repairs, among many other things. Plus, we also have to consider the possibility that unforeseen circumstances will arise. As our family continues to grow, we’re finding we have to become more and more strategic and intentional with our dollars.
We just completed a sermon series at our church related to tithing and finances (link below). As I was brainstorming different ideas for my first financial/budget post, it became obvious to me that I needed to start off talking with you about God and His specific instructions and promises surrounding this topic. If you aren’t a Christian, this one might be a little tough for you because it really applies to believers of the Christian faith. However, I would encourage you to read on! If it sparks any questions about your faith or Christianity in general, you’re always welcome to contact me. If you’re a Christian, this one still might be a little tough for you. But hear me out…
What Scripture Says
The topic of money is mentioned frequently in the Bible. From the Old Testament to the New Testament, from instructions from the prophets of old to parables from the mouth of Jesus, it’s unmistakable that the Lord is clearly concerned about your financial health and cares about helping you manage your resources well. There’s plenty of information and guidance about how to view money, use it appropriately, and steward it wisely in your life.
But did you know there is also a clear directive and resulting promise given to us from God that directly relates to your finances?
This directive and promise revolves around the concept and practice of tithing. Tithing is presented in both the Old and New Testaments as being part of the Old Covenant between God and the Israelites, His chosen people. Today, we’re in the New Covenant given by Jesus, but the act of tithing still remains. It’s carried out by many believers as an act of obedience, faith, trust, and reverence for God, who is the One responsible for imparting all blessings on us in the first place – including the blessings of jobs, income, assets, etc. From all that He gives to us, we bring one-tenth (“tithe”) back to Him before we spend a dime elsewhere. Our tithe is our first “fruits” of labor, our very best. We trust that He will bless the remaining ninety percent to meet our needs in ways we can’t imagine 1.
In the Old Testament, tithing was a requirement and an essential part of the covenant between God and His chosen people 2. Although there seems to be differing schools of thought about whether or not New Testament believers are required to tithe, there’s an abundance of support in the Christian community that if you choose to tithe, the Lord is faithful to keep His promise.
So why am I bringing this to your attention?
Because, for some of you, financial fear is the number one reason you’re hesitant to use your frozen embryos.
For everyone else, if it isn’t your top concern, it’s still high up there on the list.
Maybe you’re in debt or you’re living paycheck to paycheck. Maybe you just lost your job. Perhaps you can afford the FET process but worry about all the costs associated with bringing home another child. Perhaps you need a surrogate to have another baby. Maybe you’re thinking really far ahead, towards bigger cars, larger houses, hungry strapping teenage boys, prom dresses, college tuition, weddings, and rehearsal dinners.
I know it’s all very overwhelming.
For those of you that are still considering more children, it breaks my heart that financial fear might be keeping you from realizing God’s best for you and walking out His plan as it relates to your family and embryos.
An Invitation From God
God is very clear in the Bible that we are not to test Him in any way, except one – with our tithes and offerings. It’s the only time we as believers are given this invitation. The command and the promise are found in the Old Testament in the Book of Malachi:
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe”, says the Lord Almighty (Mal. 3.10-11) 3.
For context, in this passage from the Old Testament, God is speaking to His people – those that follow Him and believe in Him – the Israelites. The Israelites were withholding their tithes and offerings from the Lord after the harvest, breaking covenant with Him. God is demanding they keep their obligation of tithing, to give back to the Lord what is rightfully His, but at the same time He is encouraging them to trust Him, to believe He is faithful to pour out blessings on them and care for their every need, as He promised them years before.
So, what does this mean for us?
Although it appears tithing may no longer be required since Jesus fulfilled the Old Covenant given in the Old Testament, God still invites those who believe in Him to tithe and watch for His faithful response. There are countless stories of God showing up and showing off in this area.
Our family chose to start tithing several years ago out of love and reverence for God – we simply felt called by the Spirit to walk deeper with the Lord and surrender ourselves in this area – and we’ve seen God move in amazing ways in our lives as a result, meeting our financial, relational, spiritual, and emotional needs as we walk out life with Him. He has ordered circumstances around us that have been nothing short of miraculous.
In the process, we’ve gained something priceless in our journey with our family and frozen embryos – financial peace.
It has made all the difference for us.
I believe it can make all the difference for you.
This doesn’t mean that God has showered us with millions of dollars or given us more material possessions than we know what to do with – rather, it means He has come beside us and provided for us all along the way, demonstrating that He is faithful and trustworthy and will give us what we need to carry out His will in our lives. Blessings have come in the form of money, yes, such as through job promotions, but the blessings also have included new relationships, business connections, support systems, guidance on important decisions, as well as increased patience, trust, encouragement, empowerment, self-control, wisdom, and humility.
Blessings have even come disguised in painful ways, like leaving a job, saying goodbye to dear friends, or understanding that God is saying “no”. There’s not an area of our lives that have not been affected in some way. We give joyfully, our hearts bursting with thanks and praise to God for His provision. The best part is the peace we’ve experienced, knowing that however large God desires our family to be, He will provide a way for us to grow without our lives falling apart, even if we have no idea how it will happen.
But, in the beginning, when we took that first step and signed that first check, it was a GIANT leap of faith. It wasn’t easy and was done completely out of trust, obedience, and our love for God. I realize this might be where you are. Or maybe you’re at the beginning of your faith journey and tithing is nowhere on your radar. Or, perhaps you’re walking deeply with God, trusting Him in every area of your life except this one.
Friends, if you haven’t considered tithing before as part of your journey with Christ, but you feel a nudge from the Spirit in this area, I encourage you to step out in faith. God wants to give His best to you but He wants to know that He is above all else in your life, including the love of money 4. It demonstrates to Him that nothing comes before Him. It demonstrates that you trust Him to care for you in all things.
If parting with your money is particularly hard for you, He may be waiting for a demonstration of faith such as this to open up the floodgates on your life. Below, we’ve put together some guidelines for you to give you confidence in this area and empower you to get started.
1) Examine the posture of your heart.
Are you truly ready to start tithing? You must start with your heart.
Tithing indicates spiritual maturity and should come from a place of reverence, love, trust, faith, respect, obedience, and surrender to God. Those that are invited to test God in this way already have faith in Him, accept His Word as truth, and are aligning their lives with Him (like the Israelites).
If this is not you, that’s ok!
But don’t attempt to tithe with a heart of doubt or unbelief towards God, trying to “get something” from Him. Instead of believing Him because you have faith in Him, you’ll wind up only believing Him if He follows through according to your own expectations. This is testing Him in an unacceptable way, which we are commanded not to do 5. Instead, if you aren’t there yet, pray and ask God to reveal Himself to you and open your heart to His ways. In time, you may desire to start tithing as you cultivate a deeper relationship with Him.
2) Find support and encouragement from others that have gone before you.
We know it can be scary to give back money that you’re used to having or have come to depend on. We’ve been there – and so have many others. Surround yourself with people who can be an example for you and allow them to witness to you and tell you their personal stories of God’s faithfulness in their lives. It will build your confidence in God’s promises and help give you the strength you need to take the first step and consistently maintain tithing as part of your spiritual lifestyle.
3) Start, even if it’s small. Trust that God will provide for you.
If you’re ready to give back to the Lord, pray and ask God where He would like you to start. Then be obedient to it, viewing it as an act of love towards God (because it is!). Bring it to Him, have faith, and trust in His provision. We started small, somewhere around 1-2% of our income, believing God at His Word. We noticed immediately that our needs continued to be met with ease. If you need to, take a look at your spending and shuffle some funds around in order to tithe consistently and faithfully as you get used to this spiritual practice.
4) What you choose to give, give joyfully.
Tithing to the Lord is a privilege and an honor, and act to be entered into with love and cheerfulness. Whatever you end up giving, give it with joy in your heart 6. At first it may feel like an enormous sacrifice, but you’ll soon find that your hesitation to tithe will turn into desire and even delight as you experience God’s faithfulness, blessings, and provision. When it comes from the right place, tithing should not feel like a burden or a mandate that you dread.
5) Work your way up.
Over time, as you witness the Lord moving in your life, you’ll likely feel a leading from the Spirit to increase your tithe. Again, be obedient to His call. When this happens, expect that it will require another leap of faith as you increase your giving. It may cause a little discomfort and stretch you a bit. But remain steadfast, trust in the Lord, and believe Him at His Word. He will continue to sustain you through various channels. We’ve felt this several times over the course of the years as we’ve slowly worked our way up to a full 10% tithe, sometimes even being prompted to give elsewhere in a separate offering. As we have surrendered to God’s leading, He has carried us through, as promised.
6) If needed, take a class.
Consider taking a biblically-sound financial class through your church or another local church to help you learn how to tithe, manage money, and resolve greater issues, such as getting out of debt. Our home church, North Metro Church in Marietta, GA, offers a class twice a year called Financial Peace University based on principles developed by Dave Ramsey. Although we haven’t taken this course personally, we have several friends who have and they all have called it life changing.
7) Learn more from the Word of God.
If there’s one thing I know for sure, there’s enough information, truth, and revelation contained in the Bible to keep me busy for a lifetime. There”s so much to learn about and managing your finances is only one of them. I’ve only touched on the tip of the iceberg in this post. If you’re interested in diving deeper into this topic, I highly, highly suggest watching this 3-part series entitled “100” on tithing, saving, and spending from our lead pastor, Rob McDowell. It’s a game changer and absolutely fantastic.
Friends, I’m not sure where this hits your heart today. I know finances can be hard, especially if you’re continuing to pay storage fees or considering expanding your family through the use of your embryos. We understand completely because we’re walking the same road as you. You aren’t alone in your battle. My hope is that you have learned something new today and will consider taking God up on His Word. My deepest desire is that you come to know the Lord ever more intimately as you watch Him move mightily in your lives and give you His best. Remember, nothing is too great for Our Mighty God 7.
I pray financial peace over you and your families.
P.S. If you need support or guidance as you consider your choices with your embryos, please join our private FB community, Leftover Frozen Embryos Support Group. Here, we talk in real time with other parents about the difficulties of living life with leftover frozen embryos and the options we have moving forward. You can also join our email list to receive support, encouragement, and updates on new content and our personal journey.
- See Malachi 3:10-11.
- See Leviticus 27:30-34; Deuteronomy 12:5-6, 14:22, 14:28-29; 2 Chronicles 31:4-5; Nehemiah 10:35-37; Proverbs 3:9-10; Malachi 3:8-12.
- The Bible. New International Version. Bible Gateway/Biblica, 2011. BibleGateway.com, www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=malachi+3%3A10-11&version=NIV. Accessed 19 Feb. 2019.
- See Matthew 6:24.
- See Deuteronomy 6:16; Luke 4: 9-12.
- See 2 Corinthians 9:6-7.
- See Genesis 18:14; Jeremiah 32:17, 27; Psalm 147:5; Matthew 19:26; Mark 10:27; Luke 1:37; Ephesians 1:19, 3:20-21; Philippians 4:19.