Julia says: My husband, Ben, comes from a very strict Protestant family who follow the words of the Bible closely. Ben is a kind, loving husband to me and excellent father to our four children. I am a Catholic and our 10 years of “mixed marriage” have been wonderful. Ben has no problem with us raising our children in the Catholic faith and even goes to church with us on Sunday. Ben thinks that he will convert to Catholicism someday, but is just not ready yet.
Our problem is that Ben was raised believing, as the Bible says (Deuteronomy 14:22) that we are to set aside a tenth of what we earn and give it back to the Lord.
So far, this has not been a difficulty for us, but as our children have become more numerous and the cost of everything seems to be going up all the time, our budget is really being squeezed and 10 percent of what Ben earns going to the church is really a big part of our total income (I am a stay-at-home mom at Ben’s request).
I have suggested to Ben that we reduce our donation to the parish, but he will not hear of it.
Ben says: “All tithes of the land, whether in grain from the fields or in fruit from the trees, belong to the Lord, as sacred to him (Leviticus 27:30).” I have tithed all of my life, and I will not turn my back on his command.
I know that things are getting a little tight financially and Julia, some days, is struggling to make ends meet. If we need to cut back on some of our spending (vacations, new clothes, trips to ball games, etc.) that is what we will do, “… so that the Lord, your God, may bless you in all that you undertake” (Deuteronomy 14:28).
What do they do?
When a husband and wife disagree on “tithing” or on how much to give to their parish church and other ministries, conflict can arise.
It is important to understand that Christians under the New Covenant are under no obligation to tithe 10 percent of their income. God instituted tithing to Israel in the Old Testament economy.
Today, our contributions to our parish are a love offering we give to God in thanksgiving for the blessings that we receive as his children. Our offerings are a way to support God’s work in our local churches as well as missionary endeavors.
Ben and Julia need to sit down in prayer, asking the Lord to give them guidance in their decision-making of their income. Compromise by both Ben and Julia on this issue seems possible and achievable.
Both are correct in their suggestions to reduce their contribution and also to look at areas of spending that can be reduced without seriously impinging on the quality of life for Ben and Julia and their children.
“Consider this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work. (2 Corinthians 9: 6-8).
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