Getting back to answering your questions here.
So many of you asked me about how we budget for a large family. I know, these days it is one of the hardest things to do. It’s tough trying to stretch our money. Anthony and I have been married for fifteen years. We have always been a one-income family. For the first ten years of our married life we were missionary family–trusting the Lord for each and every dollar we needed.
Today I can declare with all my heart that God has been faithful to take care of our family. He has never, ever, not once, let us down. We have never gone without and our children have always had food in their stomachs and more than they could ever want or need.
God has been good to our family.
I will definitely share one of these days on how we make our money stretch. But tonight I thought I would share three principles with you all which are non-negotiable for the Salems. They are the benchmarks of our budgeting.
Again, this is what we do for OUR family. I know that every family does things differently. But this is what is important to US.
By just reading that one little word, I’m guessing that half the people who started reading this post clicked the X at the top of this page when they read tithe. “Not that again,” some may think. I know how it goes. Not many people want to talk or are willing to talk about tithing. But for our family, it is a huge part of what we believe. The Bible says it, we believe it!
Giving ten percent of our first fruits (not scrounging for the morsels we have remaining after everything has been paid) is a biblical mandate that threads through the Old Testament and through the cross of Jesus into our lives. Not all people, including pastors and church boards, believe as we do about tithing. We’ve heard a lot of Christians, even friends of ours, say that tithing is an Old Testament principle, that it’s better to just give what the Lord has placed on your heart. We’ve found it’s usually these people who end up giving hardly anything at all to the Lord.
From what we read in the Bible, the tithe went to the Levites, those who did not receive an inheritance of land as the tribes did in the Old Testament. The Levites cared for the temple. They were the ones doing the Lord’s work directly.
Similarly, we believe that the tithe goes to PEOPLE who do the work of the ministry. Not to pay bills. Not to go toward building funds. Not to buy a church bus. Not to pay our children’s Christian school fees. It goes to those in our “storehouse” who are doing our Lord’s work. Anything above and beyond this is what we call offerings.
I know it’s very painful for people to give like this. But if it’s painful, then it’s not done with a cheerful heart anyway and probably shouldn’t be given. God looks at the heart as we look at our finances. What helped us keep a pure heart is to remind ourselves that the tithe is NOT OUR MONEY ANYWAY!
Knowing that it belongs to God, we are able to say, “Here, Lord. We give it to you with pleasure!”
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” Malachi 3:10
3.) Live Debt Free