I had the pleasure of meeting Ivan Muzychenko, a Russian emigrant, when he did tile work for us in our home. And since “frugality” is the second name in “The Frugal Catholic,” I kept asking him questions. He shared how learning to budget and tithe saved his family’s finances. Likewise, you will benefit both spiritually and financially from tithing, just as Ivan has. Why not? You truly have nothing to lose.
Ivan, where did you immigrate from, and when and why? Also, how long have you been an American?
My family immigrated from Russia in June of 1991, where we were persecuted for our faith. My parents sold everything and gave proceeds away to the church, knowing that God would provide. God did provide in many miraculous ways. We got our citizenship in 1999.
2. What was your first impression of America? Has that impression changed over the years?
In Russia, we lived a basic life. Coming to America, we noticed how goods were readily available. If you wanted something, you go to the store and get it. People were amiable and polite, looking out for one another. I can’t say that impression has changed.
3. Do you have a family? If so, what are the ages of each member?
I grew up in a large family of 13 children. My wife of 13 years and I have 2 children, Jacob, 12, and Hannah, 9.
4. What do you do for work, Ivan, and what church denomination do you attend?
I am a tile contractor. We go to a Baptist Church.
5. How did you discover the importance of tithing 10%?
Growing up in a Christian home, I knew about giving to God. It wasn’t till about 3 years ago that my wife and I started to get serious about tithing. We took a financial class at church to get educated on what God says about money. Through that, we were convicted to trust God more than ever. Malachi 3:10 says, “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” My wife and I decided to put that to the test.
6. Do you tithe 10%? Why or why not?
We tithe 10% to our church and have been increasing the dollar amount of our tithe each year due to the blessings God has given us. Understanding that the money we receive is a gift from God, we trust that He provides and has our lives planned out. James 1:17 says, “Every good and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” We also give beyond that 10% to other ministries and missions. We believe that giving of time and gifts of service is also important. God provides us with opportunities to regularly serve at our local church and take mission trips.
7. Does your wife work outside of the home, or are you living on one salary? Yours? My wife is a homemaker. God blesses us enough through one salary that she doesn’t need to work.
8. What have you seen tithing do for your finances and your family?
Tithing developed a trust between my Heavenly Father and me. Knowing without doubting that He is in control. That He is using my gifts and talents to provide for my family. So I do my part, and He does His.
9. Do you have any further thoughts to share about living frugally or tithing?
Being frugal for us is a process; it’s difficult to change a lifestyle over a short period of time. We don’t save or put away for retirement as much as we would like. Our budget is all over the place because, being a contractor, monthly income varies. Tithing has released me from being responsible for my family financially; it’s in God’s hands. As long as I am obedient to Him, He does the rest. One less thing to worry about, and that’s huge for us. Ultimately knowing that our goal is to store up treasure in heaven where we will spend eternity with King Jesus.
Thank you, Martha, for giving me this opportunity to share with you my experience and the testimony of God’s faithfulness.
(from TFC–also check out the excellent article listed below)
Martha Wild King, M. Ed., Author
The Frugal Catholic: Learn to live on less to give and save more.