What Does God Command?
To ask the question "Can a woman tithe?" is to suggest that God commands people to do something they cannot do. The command is very definite in God's Word: "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse . . ." That "ye" means all of God's people. If women are among God's people, they are included in this command. Our loving God would not give a command which could not be obeyed.
With this command of God's is his promise ". . . and prove me now herewith . . . if I will not open you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." As the command applies, so the promise applies to each woman of the twentieth century just as definitely as to a woman more than two thousand years ago.
A woman must have faith to know that honest stewardship will be rewarded with more than we can ask or think" in both spiritual and temporal blessings. At the same time, she must know that she has robbed God if she does not account for that which passes through her hands.
Every Christian woman who has tithed in the right spirit has known the twofold satisfaction of God's approval and the joy of giving to his work in the world.
What Does Experience Prove
Every woman can tithe—the experience of countless women proves this. The simple question is whether she honestly wants to or not. Let us see what women in various positions can do about tithing.
The woman with property in her own name, or with a settled income, does not need to be told how to tithe—the first tenth of all that comes into her possession as income belongs to the Giver of all her wealth, be it much or little.
The woman who works for a salary or any stated amount knows that the first tenth of that salary or remuneration is the Lord's.
The woman who receives a yearly, monthly or weekly allowance has no honest difficulty in knowing that her Christian duty is to lay aside that first tenth before she touches one penny for herself, her household or her family.
Then, there are numbers of woman who do not have any property or income of their own, but who do very largely determine how the family income, the husband's salary, is to be used. Women are, for the most part, the buyers, the spenders. Most of the shoppers in the stores are women. Some women offer the excuse—"I have no income of my own and my husband does not believe in tithing." Perhaps the husband does not, or perhaps he does believe in it, but dares not advocate or practice it because the installments on radio, furniture, refrigerator, and the current bills consume all and sometimes even more than the income.
Early one Monday morning a young married man went to his pastor and said: "I believe every word you said yesterday, and I'd like to sign up to tithe but, if I do, we'll have to cut down on our living expenses and that would make it hard on my wife. I don't know how she'd take it." That is just the point. If the wife really wants to tithe, she can prove to her husband that she is willing to make any sacrifice necessary in order to tithe. She can show that she wants to "give" first and "live" on what is left.
Occasionally there is a husband who is opposed to, or even forbids, his wife's tithing. The chances are that even if at first he is really opposed to the plan, he will yield to his wife's wishes and permit her to tithe. In many instances, he will become a tither himself. "Prayer changes things." Is it not the solemn truth that God will hold us responsible for what we could have done?
It should be recognized that this income or salary of the husband is the result of partnership, and a worthy wife certainly deserves to be considered a fifty-fifty partner. Therefore, the wife is entitled to the joy of giving her share of the portion that is to be set aside for the Lord's work.
The woman who does not come under any of the above classes is the woman who has the greatest difficulty. Sometimes there is a Christian woman who has no property, no salary, no allowance—but has to buy all she gets without cash. She has all bills sent to the head of the house and rarely has a dollar of her own. Just here is a crucial point. No woman is required to tithe what she does not have—that is certain, but it is equally certain that she is required to tithe that occasional dollar or even less that does come into her hands, no matter for what purpose it comes.
These dollars may come intermittently—then her tithe will have to come in the same way; it is not required of her that she lay aside the same amount for her tithe every week, if she receives a different amount every week. Some weeks she may not have anything, then she has nothing to tithe; another week she may have ten dollars or five—then she tithes that amount. Do not be discouraged if the tithe is small. God only asks an honest accounting.
Many farmers' wives think they have nothing to tithe because they do not handle any money. When the law of the tithe was written into the Mosaic Code, nothing was said about "money." In Leviticus we hear God saying: "The land is mine." "And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is Jehovah's: it is holy unto Jehovah. . . . And all the tithe of the herd or the flock . . . the tenth shall be holy unto Jehovah" (Leviticus 25:23; 27:30-32. A.R.V.).
One ear of corn, one stalk of cotton in every ten, . . . one chicken in every ten is "holy unto Jehovah." How it would swell the Lord's treasury if such tithes were paid in!
Perhaps these farmers' wives have read tracts and leaflets telling them to tithe the eggs, chickens, potatoes, beans, canned fruits and vegetables. Just as many times they have dismissed the idea with "Oh, that would not be worthwhile; I don't know how to do it." But do try it. Try it; test God and prove Malachi 3:10.
In some communities, upon a certain day each week, the women bring to a central place their tithe for the week—chickens, eggs, butter, vegetables, fruits, canned goods. Then one of the women (or, sometimes a "brother" who has become interested) takes the produce to town and sells it. Women have been greatly surprised and delighted at the amount they have been able to pay into the Lord's treasury by means of this practical plan.
Your Tithe May Be Large or Small
Do not be discouraged if your tenth is not as large as that of your friend or the person you read of who can give hundreds. God does not expect you to give another's hundreds. God does not expect you to give another's dollars but your own cents. It is not the amount but the proportion that counts with God. The touch of the all-powerful God upon a little can make it do much. Our Lord once used a little lad's lunch to feed thousands.
A woman handed to her pastor a dollar that represented real sacrifice. She apologized because it was only a dollar. Her pastor reminded her that one dollar put at compound interest would, in two hundred and forty years, amount to two million dollars. Then he said: "If in the business world a dollar can be multiplied like that, what do you think God can and will do with a dollar invested in his kingdom work?"
But there is a danger here. Just because God can mightily enlarge and bless the small tithe, given in love and sacrifice, let no one delude herself into believing that her one dollar is pleasing to God when it should be ten, a hundred, or even a thousand dollars. Fractions of the tithe and unworthy gifts are still, in his sight, "blemished offerings" (see Malachi 1:13).
Overcome Obstacles, Don't Find Excuses
One might quote other passages of Scripture that have been written, spoken, and sung countless times, but this heart-to-heart talk is only intended to bring straight home to the heart of every God-fearing, God-honoring woman the bare fact that, if she wants to give her God the tenth of her substance, she assuredly can. She must be filled with eager determination to find a way to overcome every obstacle, rather than busy herself seeking excuses for not doing so.
There are no real reasons why a woman cannot tithe. When a woman gets into the habit of immediately putting aside that first tenth as soon as any amount comes into her hands, she will have solved the tithing problem. . . .
Honesty Is What Counts
Get away from the idea that the amount must be large or it is not worth tithing. It is the absolute honesty of the accountant, the love that goes with it and the joy of such service, that win Christ's praise and the serene content of knowing that we are obedient and faithful stewards.
Let a woman try tithing, try it honestly before God; try him and see what blessings he will pour out to her—peace, joy and love. One can never know these while living in disobedience, indifferent to this fundamental law of God.
The question is not "Can a woman tithe?" but "Can a woman who claims to love God fail to tithe?" "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me" (John 14:21).