As churches come online this season, tithing has followed suit. Now, giving back to God can be done online with a couple of clicks.

But is the convenience actually helping us? Curious to know if it changed the attitudes with which we give our tithes, I spoke with three friends about tithing in the circuit breaker.

  • Samantha, a student struggling to adjust to digital tithing.
  • Gabriel, who misses the personal touch behind physical tithes.
  • Zicong, who recently left his job but kept his gratitude.

I walked away from our conversations with 3 lessons on tithing. I hope they get us thinking about what we give to the Lord, and how.


1. You will be tempted to withhold

As a university student, Samantha shared that she hadn’t been tithing during the circuit breaker. Before services went online, she would set aside cash in an envelope to drop inside her church’s tithing box. 

But now that tithing has taken the form of a cashless payment online, Samantha has found it difficult to adapt as someone who uses cash primarily.

“I don’t really have a habit of depositing my cash into the bank because my allowance is usually just enough to tide me through,” she explained. “As a result, I’m not used to e-payment transactions. For example, when I eat out, I would still pay in cash.

“Now that tithing is done online, it requires a bit more steps for me to tithe. It means I need to deposit my allowance into the bank so I can tithe online.” 

Samantha recognises that the tediousness she feels might really be an excuse to not tithe: “The cash I want to tithe is just sitting around in my room waiting to be tithed. 

“Tithing is something I struggle with. Deep down, I do feel tempted to keep the money.”

To avoid temptations, Samantha has set a goal to tithe her money immediately after receiving her pay and allowance. She also finds it helpful to have a friend she can be accountable to.

Samantha shares that she wants to begin tithing with the knowledge that everything comes from God in the first place: “His providence for me is 110%.

“Even after tithing I still live with 100%!”

2. You may end up going through the motions

After starting work, Gabriel decided to set up an automated monthly bank transfer to make sure he didn’t miss out on giving back to God.

But as the extended circuit breaker kicked in, Gabriel shared that he began to miss the church in all of its physical aspects: “With everything now livestreamed or done virtually in Zoom calls or Google Hangouts, I’ve come to miss physical things, like the actual church building for instance.”

In particular, he also came to miss the act of tithing physically: “I find it’s easy to lose that intentionality when you’re not physically present. When I think about tithing, I miss putting it into the bag personally. That still feels a lot more intentional to me.”

Gabriel came to realise that he couldn’t just set a recurring transfer and forget about it: “This period has made me realise that tithing is not about fulfilling a requirement or checking a box. That’s missing the point.

“I don’t think that pleases God. He doesn’t need our money. What is crucial, is bringing our tithes before Him as an act of worship.”

Whether tithing is done physically or digitally, Gabriel said he is looking forward to the next opportunity to give God his worship intentionally.

3. You will gain joy from giving

Zicong left his job as a career consultant a few weeks before the circuit breaker was implemented.

But despite his lack of income this season, Zicong has held on to a heart of thanksgiving and giving.

Zicong told me that ever since receiving his first pay cheque in National Service (NS), he decided in his heart that money would not have a hold over him.

From that point on, he made it a discipline to tithe: “I never saw my tithe as something that belonged to me. But to be able to not struggle with tithing – that didn’t come overnight.”

When he received his last pay cheque in March, Zicong confessed that, while it wasn’t actually a struggle to tithe, he couldn’t help but calculate how much he would have left after tithing and felt slightly worried for the future.

Thankfully, just before leaving his job, God had taught Zicong a precious lesson.

Zicong shared that he had blessed a cleaner in his office with NTUC vouchers last Christmas. Then, some time before he left the company, he happened to bump into her at work and told her in passing that he was going to leave his job soon.

A few hours later that day, he bumped into her again. To his surprise, she stopped him and passed him an angpao. 

“Her kindness really touched me,” said Zicong. “I’m sure the amount was more than she could afford to give but she gave out of the abundance of her heart. It was really like how the widow gave her two coins as an offering in Mark 12:41-44.

“This incident reminded me that not only does God provide, it is a joy and a blessing to give.”

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”  (2 Corinthians 9:7)

As we tithe, we may face temptation and the danger of falling into a routine. But God will give us joy as we obey Him and give cheerfully. 

And remember Jesus’ words in Luke 6:38: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

We can never outgive God. Instead, our part is to always bless Him and those around us as we await His return. 

  1. Which of the stories could you most relate to?
  2. What’s your biggest struggle when it comes to tithing? 
  3. What is one practical, baby step you can take in becoming a cheerful giver?