Recently, I received a question regarding tithing, or giving, on student loans.
Admittedly, I loved the heart behind the question. This person wanted to financially participate in God’s Kingdom-advancing mission, but their only source of money was student loans.
So what should they do?
Here are a few of the principles to consider when wondering whether or not to tithe on student loans:
- God tell us to give. Throughout Scripture, God tells us that we are to be a generous people. How we use our money is a reflection of our heart. We are told in Matthew 6:21 to “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
- God tells us to give our first and best. Giving is not supposed to be an afterthought. It’s supposed to be a priority. Proverbs 3:9 says, “Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the first produce of your entire harvest.”
- Giving is based on the amount God has given us. We frequently see the Bible pointing us toward proportional, or percentage-based, giving. Those who have more, give more. Those who have less, give less. This leads us to ask the question, “Who actually owns the student loan?”
- Money from a student loan is not the student’s money. It is the lender’s money. More than likely it is either the government’s or the bank’s money. So it is not expected that one should tithe, or proportionally give, off the loan amount. It is the same reason why we don’t tithe on our mortgage or car loan? A student loan falls into this category. So what does this mean for students?
- Students should take out as little debt as possible, and pay it off quickly as possible. Debt is a generosity killer. It should be the goal of the student to avoid student loans. And if they do have loans, pay them off quickly.
- Students should give from any earned income, even while debt exists. If a student does earn income, they should make it a priority to give based on the money they earned. Even when money is tight, the Bible does not provide an exclusion clause for giving. Students are to still trust God with your “first produce” and see what He does.
So, in case you missed it, the short answer is no, you are not expected to tithe on student loans.
Then what should someone in this situation do?
Give when income is earned, and learn to live generously in other areas.
To get you started, below for a few suggestions on how to be generous without using any money.