Tithing As A Single Mom by Jennifer Maggio

Here we go! I thought, as I rolled my eyes, crossed my arms, and sat listening to the pastor one Sunday morning. He was preaching on the importance of the tithe. I can’t really tell you everything he said, because honestly, I tuned most of it out. You see, I had not been going to church for long. I had attended as a child, but fell away for some time, and was just now becoming acclimated to my new church…and now this! The pastor had nerve to speak on tithing.

I was a single mom. I had no money. “Someone needs to go ahead and give a good offering to buy this man a new truck, so we can move on to a better topic next week!” I thought to myself. I was bitter and angry for my own financial woes. I thought surely that was what this thing was all about – the pastor needing something new.

But as the next several weeks passed, his words wouldn’t leave my mind. The concept of the tithe was not new to me. I was raised in church and knew the Bible commanded giving a tenth of your increase back to the Lord, but seriously?! I was a single mom! I had no money! I was making only a few hundred dollars a month to raise my two children. The use of government assistance was the only way I even made ends meet. The tithe seemed so outlandish. Yet, I thought on it. I prayed about it. I argued with God about it. I knew God was prompting me to give. So I did. I wrote my first tithe check and put it in the offering plate as it passed through. Nothing miraculous happened that day or the next or many others to follow. I just kept giving. I actually felt good about it. I knew I was living in obedience to something God had prompted on my heart to do. And most importantly, I learned that my giving was flowing from the love I had for my Heavenly Father and not because He needed my money. I gave cheerfully, not because of what I expected in return or what I thought I deserved, but because of all He had done to save me.

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The more I gave, the more I was blessed. I was blessed in many ways, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. Over the next several years, I moved away from government assistance, had my broken heart healed through His grace, and made a decent living. All of those things, I believe, were blessings from my obedience to the tithe. Let me be careful, here. I am not suggesting that we tithe to be blessed – that God is somehow our magical genie that we rub and make demands. I am not even suggesting that if you do, God will deliver you to some financial dreams of yours.  I am simply saying that for whatever reason, unbeknownst to me, God chose to bless my financial obedience. There have been many years of ups and downs for me financially, since then, but one thing has remained — my desire to tithe and give offerings to bless others.

The same is true for you, single mom. You can tithe. In fact, I would assert to you that you cannot afford NOT to tithe. God’s command on our finances doesn’t have a caveat that reads “except if you are a single mom”. God says tithe. He says give 10% of your increase.  And although I came under criticism from some for tithing to the church while I was taking money from the government, I did it anyway. I would much rather be criticized by the world than to live in disobedience with my Savior.

This is not a condemnation to those who don’t tithe, but rather an encouragement to those who feared that they couldn’t. It is an encouragement that our God is faithful. He shows up in ways we can’t even imagine or ask for. And our willingness to give cheerfully to the body of Christ is about so much more than our own pocketbooks, but about seeing those come to know that God we do and in some way, just showing him that our whole hearts trust His plans of hope for us.

Jennifer Maggio

Jennifer Maggio is an award-winning author of several books and the founder of the global nonprofit, The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. She has been featured in countless media venues. For more information, visit http://www.thelifeofasinglemom.com.

 

 

2016-10-17T16:12:02+00:00 September 8th, 2014|the life of a single mom ministries|8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. C September 8, 2014 at 9:48 am - Reply

    I have been a single mom for 12 years. Six of those years I lived on food stamps and tithed. God always provided but I am still making $10k a year and struggling. Whether or not you meant it, you do believe your rise to the top was due to your obedience of tithing. While I am happy for you it becomes only more heartbreaking that God has not done the same for me and my two children.

    My experiences with the church have been filled with pain. I needed the church and they were not there except to ask for more from me than what I had to give. I gave with my time, my money,cooking for people, paying for childcare so i could attend the family group, bringing my kids friends so they can hear the gospel and in return I received a blank stare when I told them my needs: help moving to another apartment & someone to watch my youngest son on fri & sat night so I could work and I would still pay for childcare $10 hr which left me making $5 an hour.

    One family helped out in a church of 1200 people. I have attended over two years at this church and in the end after not attending for the past year I have heard from three people, one who will not speak to me because I told her I am too busy to be going to church. And its the truth. When I go they want me in childcare, help set up the lobby, help out with VBS, attend the family group and cook a side dish to bring and pay for childcare, visit the elderly: BE INVOLVED!

    Im a single mom who works full time, goes to school full time and takes care of my kids. My debt is heavy because we cannot get state support any longer, I make $33 over the cut off amount, so credit cards subsidize the difference.
    Its posts like these that make me question if God truly loves me. Not just by your rise to the top but the fact that your church was there for you & you came out of the pit you were in.

    I just wanted to say, the prosperity, happiness gospel, & “Gods got a great plan for your life” gospel need to be crushed. God works individually and sometimes He blesses people and sometimes He doesnt. You cannot tell the Christians in Iraq that God has a great plan, tithe what you have and you’ll be blessed, ect. So why in the US is it any different? When hardships befall us we need to turn to God but not live like the Pharisees who expect us to “show” God our trust or respect by doing. Our culture is based on working and it reflects in our theology. Not everyone is blessed. Not everyone gets out of the pit. 8 years I cried out to God and have been working my butt off to get us out of this poverty. Poverty where I couldn’t afford to go to the dentist and after signing up for Obama Care got dental insurance only to find out I have $7k worth of dental work to be done asap and my insurance doesn’t cover it.

    So from the other side, from the side who God does not prosper or give according to their efforts…
    Give to God what is from the heart, trust in Him, help those who need it most (not some big church building that costs thousands to operate) and remember the gospel isn’t about getting somewhere but about the destination and the sacrifice one man paid for it to happen.

    • TLSMSTAFF September 8, 2014 at 10:03 am - Reply

      Thanks so much for stopping by The Life of a Single Mom’s site and for your valuable feedback. We want to be clear that The Life of a Single Mom and our CEO did not write the tithing article to support that a single mom who tithes is guaranteed or deserves financial wealth or even that a single mom who doesn’t won’t somehow become financially secure. God’s ways are mysterious, including why we are all born into a thriving country, such as the U.S. while other brothers & sisters were born into poverty in third-world countries. The article is merely pointing single mothers towards obedience to Christ, not the prosperity gospel. Our CEO’s story is not one of forever financial wealth, quite the opposite. There have been many years of financial ups and downs, many of which she’s shared publicly, all-the-while continuing to tithe and give. This story is only a small snippet of what God chose to do in one single mom’s life when she trusted and gave. We agree that giving is with a cheerful heart, done so not for what you can get in return. We believe Jeremiah 29:11 to be a great indicator of God’s plans of hope for single mother’s lives, including the treasures of the fruits of the Spirit, the joy of intimacy with Him, and the promise of eternity with Him. We hope this clarifies. TLSM Staff.

    • Renee September 30, 2014 at 8:07 am - Reply

      I am truly sorry for your experience with the church that you have gone to. I just want to encourage you to keep your eyes on God. Blessings come in many forms. I truly feel that God has heard your cry and the cry of many others like you. I see him moving every day, sometimes in small ways, sometimes in large ways. I, as well, have had some of your experiences and I am not a single mom, just someone who loves her heavenly father. I suffered many heartaches through the church, but I have learned that we must forgive because they may not realize what they do or what they ask. If we don’t forgive others, God can not forgive us. Isn’t that what the Lord’s Prayer says? Please keep you eyes on God, he will bless you when you least expect it, and when he does, don’t forget to give Him your praise. May God Bless you.

  2. AmyBr September 18, 2014 at 6:10 am - Reply

    I just read this and had to comment. I have been a single mom for many years and very involved in church. For years I didn’t tithe but after studying the Word I realized tithe meant giving back to the church what God has blessed you with. If it’s not money it’s your time helping serve also. But I do tithe when I have the money to thank God for what He has given me. I am not making much money and my checks are not very big. But I give it to God because I am thankful for how He has brought me through the hard times. He never promised prosperity but He did promise unconditional love and to always be there offering open arms to run into. How can we not be thankful after feeling that???

  3. MFJ September 18, 2014 at 7:06 pm - Reply

    Oh, sweet C, I feel your pain. I spent so many years in my big church focused on the many that didn’t care, instead on the one person that did. The church is full of humans & they are busy in their own lives. But, when you appreciate that one soul that showed you the Love of God – then you realize, that’s all you needed. It may not be all you wanted or expected, but one person reflecting the Love of God is a Beautiful thing.
    God has not forgotten you. It took me Decades to learn that tithing wasn’t about the money, it’s about the trust. Trusting that God will make up the difference when I give til it hurts (ex: someone giving you dinner when you just didn’t know how you were going to feed your children one night).
    Tithing is trusting God. He wants you to know when you free fall into His arms He’s going to catch you.
    ‘Test me in this’, He said in Malachi 3:10, ‘then you will see that I will throw open the floodgates of heaven’. God said that! Not any human being 🙂

  4. Nec October 7, 2015 at 7:53 pm - Reply

    I’m reading your comments and I have something Id like to share with you.

    Matthew 25:29

    29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.

    It should be read as follows: For whoever has Gratitude will be given more and they will have abundance. Whoever does not have Gratitude, even what they have will be taken away from them.

    Suddenly this scripture makes sense eh? 😀 His plan for you involves you learning what this very scripture means and putting gratitude into your heart. For everything he has given you and will give you is a blessing. I tell you this because I too am a single mom and seen this scripture and gratitude bless my life over and over again everyday. I give thanks for everything, doesn’t matter how big or small and I keep receiving more, once I only needed one loaf of bread and god knew that and sent my neighbour with not one loaf but 4 to the door. 😀

    God Bless

    .

  5. Kara December 31, 2015 at 2:46 am - Reply

    I grew up in a pastor’s home and then I was a single mom for 18 years. I tithed and double tithed based on all of the things said above. I believed and taught, “You can’t afford NOT to tithe” and all of the other things said over and over. I was never blessed in any of the ways the tithers’ testimonies mentioned. Then I realized that I was carrying the heavy briefcase of religion and not the alive working of the Holy Spirit. In the New Testament we are given the Holy Spirit to guide us and teach us in all things. This trumps Malachi 3:10. Once I opened up my finances fully to the Lord he began a Husband relationship with me regarding “our” budget. He told me to do some crazy things! I was not a spender, but a hoarder. He had me “waste” my money on MYSELF sometimes. Crazy! It was so hard at first! But He wanted to be my Provider and he kept showing me how precious I was to Him. I would have tithed, or given 90% to a church if He led me but for some reason He never did. I stopped tithing, and double tithing to my church for the first time ever, since I was 5 and got my first dollar bill at Christmas. Suddenly the freedom and love I experienced from my Husband, Provider, Caregiver and Lover was extravagant. I didn’t have to work harder. He gave me a lot more sleep. A lot more fancy dinners out. And somehow we always had a roof over our heads and food to eat. One thing He never gave me was long-term security. He led me to trust every single day. Like manna. If I didn’t have enough income to pay all my monthly bills He would lead me which ones NOT to pay. He usually led me to pay what I owed just THAT day. Then the next day He would provide again. Days turned to weeks, months, years. We rarely had more than we needed daily, but I was now getting my nails done sometimes. He led me to give money away to other single moms. One of the things he told me to do with a $100 bill is too crazy to even share. And now here’s what I know for sure: Not only did He want to be my provider, but He wanted to use my financial need to knit the fabric of my relationship with Him. Every day I became closer to this God of the Universe who constantly showed me His extravagant love for me.

  6. Tsitsi January 19, 2016 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    Kara, thank you very much you just spoke to me. I earn $6000 per year. I am single with 4 children. Lately I stopped tithing cause I just couldn’t see or figure out how God could come thru when I needed the $20 or $50 now only to later realise that I wasted the $50 on the non important dues. Its about trust you say. I am going to tithe from now onwards

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