Broke college kids wonder: to tithe or not to tithe?


The typical college meal consists of Ramen noodles or Hamburger Helper, because both can be found at grocery stores for around one dollar. For four years, college students scrape by trying to make every dollar count. Parents who were uncool and embarrassing in high school are now gladly accepted and welcomed, because they bring the promise of a free meal. In a time of life where money is tight, is it really the best idea to be giving it away? The church calls us to tithe and give, but should exceptions be made for this crowd?

Growing up, my parents encouraged me to give money to the church that we attended. However, they never forced me to give. I gave sometimes but usually spent the money shopping or eating out with friends.

Christians are asked to give 10 percent of their incomes to the church. Does this include 'poor' college students?

Heading off to college, I had no intention of tithing. However, when I found a church where I could worship God and be challenged and trained by the sermons, I slowly changed my mind. One Sunday the preacher helped me realize that what one does with a little money, one will likely do with a lot of money. If I was not going to start being generous and giving with my money in college, then when was I going to start? When I graduated and first got a job? I would probably have even less money then. When would I ever have enough money to comfortably give? When I realized that there was no definite answer to that question, I decided that as much as I did not want to I should start giving to the church.

That Sunday I decided to give ten dollars to the church offering. It was hard to give away the money that I had wanted to use to go out to eat or do something fun with my friends. However, I was glad that I gave it. That same afternoon I received a card from my grandma that had exactly ten dollars in it. I could not believe how God showed me exactly how he will provide for me if I am faithful and obedient to Him.

As a Christian I believe that everything on earth belongs to God, so tithing is simply a way of giving back what is already His. Matthew 6:19-21 reminds us that Earthly treasures do not last, so there is no point in storing up treasures on Earth. Instead we should give our money and time to God. When we trust Him with our earthly possessions we are giving Him control of our lives. It is important for college students and all people to invest in others. When people spend time helping others, they often find that they themselves have been refreshed and uplifted. There is not going to be a point in life where it will be easier to sacrifice your money. Generous and giving habits should be cultivated now.