Giving Beyond a Tithe
If college students are assumed to be broke, how do we reconcile that assumption with the fact that Christians are also encouraged to tithe? On our Christian campus, even we can forget the basic principle that God owns it all. Psalms 24:1 says, “The earth is the Lord ’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him.” Since God owns everything, we should use the money and resources that we have been granted with good stewardship principles in mind. These principles encourage us to begin our habits by giving back to God with a tithe. The act of giving money back to God can take the form of donating to your local church or charity through which you see God’s power move. Tithing is a way to acknowledge the good things that God has provided us and to release the control over our money through the action of giving. Luke 16:10 says, “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.” As college students, if we practice tithing when we have a little income, the habit will come more easily when we earn a larger income.
So how do we change the assumption that Christian college students are too broke to tithe? The principle that God owns everything implies that we own nothing. Therefore, the extra money we spent on groceries, coffee, fast food, or other college treats could have gone towards a tithe of our resources. However, if one does not have an income or is paying off pressing debts, there are more ways to give back and honor God than through a monetary tithe. If you still want to support your community or local church in a way that represents a tithe but cannot afford to give a percentage of your income, here are some options to still live in a giving spirit.
1. Volunteer your time. Tithing your time to honor God reflects a heart open to living out the words of Jesus.
2. Say “yes” when asked if you want to donate to a cause while checking out at a store. This small act can add up over time and is a simple way to remember God owns everything.
3. Use coupons and sales if you decide to donate an item to a collection drive. By using coupons, you can make your money stretch further to increase the benefit.
4. Clean out your closet and donate things that do not fit anymore or that you no longer wear. When you donate resources, you turn the money already spent into an offering for another person.
5. Gather spare change that is lying around and donate it to a church or charity. Even if you cannot afford to give much, be sure to give what you do have with a joyful heart.
When we give all that we can, we reflect the spirit of the poor widow in Mark 12:41-44; “Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins. Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.”” When we begin to understand that our resources are not our own, we can live in freedom to spend wisely, save efficiently, and give generously.
Source: Paskill, Ashley. 5 Simple Ways to Give Back When You’re on a College Budget. 11 Jan. 2016, https://www.fastweb.com/student-life/articles/five-simple-ways-to-give-back-when-youre-on-a-college-budget. Accessed 26 Aug. 2020.