This past January I was blessed to get married to the love of my life. We had a beautiful Mass and reception in Phoenix, Arizona with our family and friends. Two days later we headed to Costa Rica for an amazing honeymoon where we stayed at a breath-taking resort and experienced plenty of exciting adventures as we began our life together.
When we got home, we began to organize our two lives into one. We got everything ready to change my wife’s last name, sorted out closet space (you can guess who lost that battle), and combined our finances. Yep. Hold on to your hats. We got to do that exciting task that everyone knows and loves: budgeting! (I’m sure you can barely contain yourself).
As we sat down to write out our first budget, we ran into a problem right away: How much should we tithe? We knew that we were called to give 10%, but our question was: Is that before or after taxes? After some dialogue, we decided that God deserved our money first – before the government, before our savings account and before anything else we needed. While this would mean we would be stretched a little bit more, we knew we needed to trust Him with all aspects of our marriage, including our finances.
Having been in ministry for over ten years, I know that youth ministers don’t make a lot of money. In fact I made every excuse I could think of not to give the church my money:
“I don’t need to give money. I already give so much of my time.”
“I never ask to get reimbursed for gas mileage when I drive to an event.”
“If I give my money I might not be able to support myself, and then I’ll have to find another job
Eventually it was gut-check time. While giving time and talent is great, that’s only 2/3 of what I’m called to do, and I’m either going to be 100% Catholic or not at all. There are no fractions when it comes to living out the Catholic faith, so I began to offer up my treasure as well. And now, I can safely say that my wife and I do the same.
I know this is not an easy topic for those of us in ministry. As we struggle with the call to give versus the desire to put food on the table for our families, we must remember that it’s all in God’s hands. We are called to trust, and that includes our finances, however big or small they may be. After all, isn’t that what the poor widow shows us (Luke 21:1-4)?
As one year winds down and a new one lies around the corner, take some time to pray about your tithing. Remember the words of Malachi 3:10,
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse. That there may be food in my house, and try me in this, says the Lord of hosts: Shall I not open for you the floodgates of heaven, to pour down blessing upon you without measure?”
God’s blessing awaits, and I guarantee you this: He will take you on an adventure the likes of which you could never imagine.
Question: What fun giving stories have you experienced as you tithe to different places?