By Dr. Roger Barrier, Crosswalk.com
I am a Christian married to a Christian. I make significantly more money than my husband. I want to be able to tithe on the money I make and he doesn't want me to. We have plenty of money and no financial burdens or debt. Should I be submissive to my husband on this issue or insist on being able to tithe on the money I make? I would actually like to give more than just a tithe, but 10 percent to me seems like a compromise. You can reword this question as you wish, but I would value your opinion. I would not like my name to be used to protect my husband.
Dear Name Withheld,
In your case, I would not make it a big issue. Yielding to him now is the best way to open the door for tithing later.
Jesus taught that tithing is the natural outcome of a heart of love and obedience to God (Luke 11:42). Your husband is acting like an unbeliever in this area and must be treated as such.
Peter advised wives whose husbands were not Christians to win them to Christ by their sacrificial, loving behavior. He went on to say that wives must refrain from nagging and attempting to convince their husbands with rational arguments.
Peter wrote: "Wives, in the same way, submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives" (1 Peter 3:1).
Your husband is behaving like he doesn't "believe the word" and is acting like a non-believer! So, we follow Peter's advice.
Find the Root of the Issue
Winning him over "without words" in no way precludes a talk as to why he's reluctant to tithe. At the right time, and in the right way, it's OK to explore with him why he refuses to tithe -- or to allow you to tithe.
He obviously has issues that are worth exploring. Is he angry with God? Is he blaming God for some past hurt or suffering? Does he think that withholding a tithe makes it even? Does he resent the fact that you make more money? Is he, in a twisted way, building up his ego in trying to "control" the family's finances? Does he think that your church doesn't need it? Or, doesn't deserve it? Could he be addicted to spending and buying? Does lack of faith frighten him into believing that God may not provide if you get into financial trouble? Is he bowing down to the god of materialism? (Matthew 6:21)
A frank discussion like this is not designed to get him to tithe as much as it is for him to deal with any internal issues that preclude his giving to the Lord. This is not a time for judgment. It is more a time of exploration and perhaps some comfort for the suspected hurts behind his behavior.
Pray for a Change of Heart
Then, at the right time, I would let him know that you are going to follow 1 Peter 3:1 and submit to his leadership and that you will keep quiet about the tithing issue. Solomon calls this "heaping burning coals on his head (Proverbs 25:22). Peter probably had this verse in mind as he dispensed advice on this subject.
Tell him that if he ever decides to let you tithe you'll be pleased and grateful. However, until that time you intend to pray for a change in his heart -- and that you will never mention it again.
You don't have to worry that Jesus is disappointed in you for not tithing. He understands. You're in the same position as David when he wanted to build the Temple and God told him "No!"
David was heartbroken. But, then God said to David, "You did well to have it in your heart. I'll give you credit for building it even though you don't."
I believe that God is saying much the same thing to you: "I'll still give you credit for it because I know that you have it in your heart."
So, Name Withheld, I hope that this helps you. I hope it also helps many Christian women (and men) who are laboring under the same handicap.
God bless you for your generous and loving heart.
Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Ridofranz
Dr. Roger Barrier recently retired as senior teaching pastor from Casas Church in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to being an author and sought-after conference speaker, Roger has mentored or taught thousands of pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders worldwide. Casas Church, where Roger served throughout his thirty-five-year career, is a megachurch known for a well-integrated, multi-generational ministry. The value of including new generations is deeply ingrained throughout Casas to help the church move strongly right through the twenty-first century and beyond. Dr. Barrier holds degrees from Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Golden Gate Seminary in Greek, religion, theology, and pastoral care. His popular book, Listening to the Voice of God, published by Bethany House, is in its second printing and is available in Thai and Portuguese. His latest work is Got Guts? Get Godly! Pray the Prayer God Guarantees to Answer, from Xulon Press. Roger can be found blogging at Preach It, Teach It, the pastoral teaching site founded with his wife, Dr. Julie Barrier.
Publication date: April 17, 2012
Editor's Note: This Ask Roger article features insights from Roger's daughter, Brie Barrier Wetherbee, a sought-after Bible teacher and conference speaker, author, analyst, and Christian theologian.
Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at [email protected].