I had just signed up to become a financial coach for serving in church ministry because of my passion to help people manage money wisely and learn more about what it means to steward God’s resources.
I’ve always had a passion for personal finance. I’ve read the books, magazines and created my fair share of spreadsheets.
However, no longer was I managing my resources for my purposes. I was managing them for God and His purposes. I was ready to help others learn this perspective and equip them with the tools to do so.
The chapter we were studying was about giving. For many reasons, my wife and I weren’t stretching our giving each month. I was convicted. We weren’t trusting God with our “first fruits” which are provided by Him and belong to Him anyway.
But where and how to start giving more? We made the decision to tithe, which we believe is a great place to start as a Christian trusting and putting faith into God as our provider and the owner of all things.
Almost ten years later, we haven’t looked back and continue to be amazed as God continues meeting our needs. We tithe because it keeps God in first place and is a way for us to worship Him with our resources.
Do you and your spouse feel called to give more generously in your marriage? Let’s look at some ideas to help you plan and get started, including tithing.
1. Start with a Tithe
As I mentioned, tithing is a great place to start. Try giving 10% of your income for two or three months. Test God in this, and see if you will not be blessed in some way. Very few people who take this step in faith turn back.
Keep in mind, giving is a matter of the heart (not a rule), but it’s still helpful to plan for it. Start with your budget. Identify how much you’re going to give and take it off the top each month. Budget your savings next and then your expenses.
Some people give or tithe with cash or checks. You can certainly automate this giving, as you may do with your bills, since most churches now offer this features on their own websites. We’ve also used an app called Pushpay where you can give from your phone or schedule a recurring payment.
2. Support the Less Fortunate
Our local church is always providing opportunities to serve back in the community. We’ve served in homeless ministry, school restoration projects and packaging foods and goods for those less fortunate, both locally and abroad. This is easy to do but often overlooked.
3. Collect Items for Donation
Consider organizing a party for adults, children, or both in which everyone brings a gift—supplies, blankets or even toys. Package up the gifts and take them to a local shelter for the homeless.
4. Go on a Mission trip
Obviously, you’ll want to pray about doing so, but sometimes it doesn’t have to be long-distance journey or as big of an adventure as you might think. Neighboring countries, such as Mexico, have church needs too. Our church takes a one- to two-day bus trip to Mexico for projects to serve and build.
5. Surprise Gifts
Another exciting way to give is to randomly pay for others’ meals or coffee or even handing out gift cards. This often happens in your neighborhood Starbucks—people in the drive-through pay for the people behind them, and it goes on and on. It’s amazing and so simple to do. I also know one couple who secretly pays for someone’s dinner each month as they go out on a date night themselves.
Giving can bring your marriage closer together and creates so much joy for the recipient and givers. I’ve attended Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University. Dave shares that money starts stinking when it is clinched with a tight fist; however, with an open hand, you can spread and receive joy while celebrating all you’ve been provided yourself.