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Should I Tithe When I’m Retired?

What do tithing and generosity look like in retirement? How can you honor God with your finances in a new financial season?

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Retirement is an exciting season for lots of reasons! There’s finally time for all the household projects you’ve been wanting to tackle and trips you’ve wanted to take. You have more time freed up to spend with your loved ones – maybe even grandchildren. It’s a season with a new level of freedom, and chances are you’re more than ready for it! 

But preparation for retirement probably hasn’t been without its headaches and confusion. You probably felt like you were up to your eyeballs in paperwork and forms. And of course, the financial implications of retirement were probably at the top of your list of things to get squared away before punching your card for the last time. 

When it comes to your finances in retirement, answers around whether or not to continue (or start) tithing, and how much, are hard to find. When you’re on a fixed income, starting a budget is more important than ever – and as a follower of Christ, the question of tithing and generosity are likely to come up as you’re making decisions around money. 

Should I tithe when I’m retired? 

To answer this question, let’s take a step back and look at the bigger picture: why should we tithe at all? 

You might think the money you earn is solely yours, but in truth, it all belongs to God. He’s the ultimate owner and source of everything, including your ability to earn and save (Deuteronomy 8:17-18). The earth and everything in it are his (Psalm 24:1). He blesses us with skills and opportunities to produce and save wealth. However, money can quickly become an idol in our lives – something we cling to and trust for our wellbeing over God. 

The dangers of money 

Jesus explained to his followers that you can only serve one master, not two: “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money” (Luke 16:13).  

Money has the potential to become an idol, or a false god, in our lives. We cannot serve the one true living God and the false god of money at the same time. This is why Jesus taught about money and possessions- to protect our hearts from this false god.  

If we are to become more like Jesus, then we need to believe God’s word and learn to be givers. Our human nature wants to hang on to our money, but God wants us to be willing to give – not just when we’re part of the workforce and actively earning money, but even after retirement, too. That’s where tithing comes in! 

Tithing in retirement 

Tithing is a principle that has existed even before the Old Testament of the Bible was written. It is the act of giving the first 10% of your income back to God – typically through your church. There are three very important things to remember about tithing, regardless of your stage of life: 

1. The tithe is a spiritual act of faith. 

Tithing exists because God asks for – and deserves – our first and best in every area of life, including our finances. When we tithe, it’s our way of acknowledging that everything we have is given to us by God and ultimately belongs to him. It’s also an expression of gratitude and trust for how he has provided for us.  

2. Tithing isn’t meant to be legalistic. 

Because the tithe is a spiritual act first and foremost, there’s no place for legalism. God is more concerned about our motives behind tithing than the tithe itself. If your tithe comes from a place of obligation, or if you’re trying to figure out how to calculate the most accurate amount to tithe, your heart may not be in the right place. 

We should tithe because we want to, and because we’re glad to. It should be an act that comes from an overflow of faith, trust, gratitude, obedience, and reverence toward God (Deuteronomy 14:22-23). After all, he’s done so much for us and taken care of us in so many ways over the years! 

3. God owns everything. (And we mean everything!) 

We visited this verse earlier, but it bears repeating: The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it (Psalm 24:1). That includes our income, yes, but it also includes stocks, bonds, retirement accounts, Social Security, properties, and all other possessions God has entrusted to us. Even assets we have previously tithed on still belong to God. There is nothing “off-limits” to God. 

When we remember these three things, it becomes apparent that tithing in retirement is just as important as it is when we’re in the workforce. It’s not about returning 10% of our income to the local church – it's about remembering and honoring what God has given us in any form by giving it back to him. He uses what he gives us, and he expands our capacity to live generously! 

God’s not done with you! 

Retirement is not the end of your best years – it's just the beginning! Tithing, whether you’re continuing the practice or starting to make it a habit – is one way God can use you purposefully in this new season of life and draw you closer to him. 

As you prayerfully consider what tithing will look like for you in retirement, don’t forget to talk to God. Ask him what he might be ready to do in and through you, and how he might be waiting to expand your faith! 


LCBC stands for Lives Changed By Christ. We are one church in multiple locations across Pennsylvania. Find the location closest to you or join us for Church Online. We can’t wait to connect with you!

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