Joyful, Sacrificial Tithing

By glblguy

Stained glass
Photo by: gadl

The following is a guest post by Kevin of No Debt, a blog about living a debt-free life. He hates debt, but isn’t afraid of credit cards. You can learn more about him over at his blog. If you enjoyed this article, you can subscribe to his blog via RSS.

If you’re reading Gather Little by Little, odds are that you may come from the Christian perspective like Gather Little by Little. This is a personal finance blog, so I have a question for the readers: Do you tithe?

We tithe 10% of all of our job related income. We do this out of honor to God. There is a great debate in the Christian world about whether or not you must tithe 10% of your income (tithe means tenth, by the way). Some argue that the Law of Moses is no longer in effect after Jesus, and thus tithing is not required. Some argue that you should give out of joy. Some preachers even tell their congregations that if you don’t tithe you won’t be blessed by God. (Which for the record, I completely disagree with…)

Personally, we give 10% because we want to. Contributing to our church is very important to us — we love attending, we love the mission. I do have to admit, from a secular point of view it doesn’t seem logical. We could double our extra mortgage payments if we applied the 10% we tithe. Instead of paying off our 2nd mortgage in 4.5 years, we would pay it off in 2.5 years. As nice as that would be, we choose to tithe. To us that isn’t as important as honoring God and supporting our church’s mission. It really is a sacrifice for us.

I would encourage secular folks to see tithing to church as they might contribute to a non-profit organization. Why do you support the arts, or cancer research? I’d guess the reasoning is similar: you want to support the mission of the organization.

Do you tithe? If so, why?

Want to read more from Kevin? Check out these posts: Dumb Money: The Gym, Protect Yourself: Buy a Shredder, Mistakes: Procrastination

21 Responses (including trackbacks) to “Joyful, Sacrificial Tithing”

  1. plonkee @ the religious atheist Says:

    Excellent. That is exactly how I see tithing – supporting a cause that you believe in. Now if you’d only like to support my cause (overseas development) with your 10%… ;)

  2. Becky@FamilyandFinances Says:

    We’re working on a full (gross paycheck) tithe. We currently do that on my paycheck, but not yet on the husband’s (we do give from his, just not the full 10% yet).
    I give as a way to show my love and honor to God, not because I have to, but because I want to. :)

  3. kim Says:

    I think if you actively participate in a church and use their facilities then you should tithe and support their bills and ministry programs.

  4. shaleh8 Says:

    I am a living testimony of tithing. I am a Christian, saved by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and I truly believe in tithing, because GOD IS FAITHFUL to what He says in His Word. The promises of God are YES and AMEN to all who have given their lives to Him. I want the windows of Heaven to stay open over my life(read Malachi 3:8-12 for verification) for just standing on the Word Of God. My number one goal is to pay tithes from every paycheck in 2008, and I’m doing this by faith, through faith, in faith because I have a relationship with God, not out of performance based christianity, but God has proven Himself many times and He gets all the glory, honor and praise for all the things He has done and will continue to do in my life.

  5. Stephen Davis Says:

    It is my concern that the Old Testament has hard-wired the money to the lake of fire. Are tithe collectors destined for hell? If you match the law of the tithe for exchanging the tithe for money (Deut 14:25) to the parable of Jesus for the tares that are bound and thrown into the fire, you have a case for forsaking the monetary tithe like the proverbial ‘hot rock’. If God separates the tithe from money in His mind. You should get used to separating it in your mind also.

    Isaiah 33:15 says to despise the gain of oppressions. Is this the monetary tithe? It is spelled like the tithe…maaser to maashaqqah. How many seminaries or pastors teach that you should despise gain of any kind. This is pointing to tithe collecting and not to bank robbery.

    Malachi 3 has those who take profit (betsa, gain) and rely on presumption to get that gain, as going to the fire..”all the proud (Hebrew is presumption) shall be stubble (tares) and the day that cometh shall burn them up..”

  6. Tiffany Says:

    I enjoy your blog and have visited ever since I saw we both have children with Type 1 diabetes. Our daughter was diagnosed in November of 2006. Yes we tithe. We always have because the Bible says to, but after our daughter survived from a 5% chance of living it became very real to us that everything is our Lord’s anyway, so 10% doesn’t seem like all that much in light of all the blessings we have been given. We also give to charity on top of that when our heart leads us to do so. (like Juvenile diabetes research foundation) We live frugally, work hard, and avoid debt and giving is a spending priority to us. I will continue to pray for your family.

  7. glblguy Says:

    Wow Tiffany, your daughter was diagnosed at the same time our son was, November. 5% chance? Did you notice it late? We sure did, missed all the signs…we felt so bad, as after we realized it was so obvious.

    Plan to publish an article during Diabetes awareness week this year so people will know what to watch for. It was really scary.

    Hope your daughter (and you guys) are doing well with it. Our son is doing real well with it. He gets frustrated and a little down sometimes, but overall he has been so strong. I have a great deal of respect for him.

    Thank you for your prayers, and I’ll pray for you and yours. Now off to visit your blog :-)

  8. Sheryl Says:

    We had a similar discussion about tithing at work. 10% of gross or net? What about the times when you can’t? In the past, I tithed 10% of my paycheck, but I felt like church became just another bill. I didn’t want to feel that way about God. I talked to my preacher and preacher’s past and decided the best person to talk to was God. I still tithe, but just a little different…from my heart. I don’t really know if it’s 10% or not, because when it comes time to tithe, I stop, I pray, then I know.

    I do know that it comes back to you when you need it the most. There have been times when I tithed more than 10%, because I could, and times that were less, because I couldn’t. During those times, there were several occasions that I was hungry and thought “I will just grab something off the dollar menu and drink water” and I would have exactly that amount of change in my purse.

    My suggestion would be pray first and tithe from the heart.


  9. glblguy Says:

    @Sheryl – That is a hotly debated topic. I read quote that Larry Burkett quoted in one of his books “That depends on if you want a net or gross blessing” :-)

    Seriously, I believe it is what you are comfortable with. 10% is a guideline, and if you are ok with the amount you are giving, that is what’s important. God wants us to be a cheerful giver.

    Your suggestion of tithing from the heart is dead on. Remember the old lady who gave a single coin, and Jesus praised her for giving more than any of the others because she gave all that she had.

  10. Peter Says:

    Thanks for the post – this is a subject I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.

    I’ve got a 3 part series going on over at my blog about tithing right now -and whether or not it is a biblical mandate. part 1 and 2 are live, as well as a guest post about tithing.

    I tend to lean towards the thought that it is not a biblical mandate to give 10%, but that we are still supposed to give with a joyful heart, and that by our fruits we’ll be known as followers of Christ. So I still think that we need to give what we can. Often that will be even more than 10%. I’ll try to clarify this a bit more in my conclusion to the series..

  11. Jeremy Says:

    I absolutely believe in contributing from my income. However, I believe tithe is somewhat of a misnomer. If you really look at tithing, they gave a tenth of everything! Mustard seeds, oil, etc. So if we were to truly tithe, we’d need to give 10% of all we own, or at least it’s value. I don’t believe that God asked us to give to be a burden, but to keep us thinking about where it all comes from, and to benefit the Church.

    We are supposed to give from the heart, not from out excess. I believe that it should be a sacrifice to give, not pain, but we should feel it. So my wife and I have agreed on an amount that we certainly feel, but that we can always give joyfully.

    Just my 2 cents….

  12. Cat Says:

    I’m a Catholic and I give 10% of my income but just not to the church. Some of the causes I give to include The School of St Jude, a free school in Tanzania for extremely poor children; a secular organisation supporting homeless people under 25 in my home city; different causes that people do like Movember for prostate cancer or Shave for a Cure for lukeimia; I sponsor a child through World Vision; an environmental organisation and Callan Services for Persons with Diabilities in PNG (a Catholic organisation).

    I list the names not to brag but to show how I give to organisations that work in fields I am passionate about helping like international aid, homelessness, education, cancer.

    I do try to find Catholic organisations first but if I feel another denomination or non-secular organisation does the job better than my money goes to them.

  13. Cat Says:

    Oh to answer Sheryl – I give 10% of my net main income and I also volunteer a lot of my time so for me personally, I feel that covers the gross amount and any supplementary income (occasional babysitting and Army Reserves which is like the American National Guard).

    Having said that, I’ll probably donate 10% of my next tax return as well.

  14. This Mom Says:

    When we first started the Dave Ramsey plan in January 2006, we immediately began tithing the first of February to our church. We gave 10% of our net income… I know there’s an argument about net vs. gross and which one is correct, but we just give off the net income.

    Since then, we moved to a smaller town and subsequently left that church in May 2007. We have not found a new church we like yet, and so we havbe not been tithing either.

    As soon as we find a church we like and enjoy attending, we plan on resuming the tithing. Not sure where to give my tithe to in the meantime!

  15. mattW Says:

    Tithing was definitely established in the Old Testament and I don’t think anywhere in the New testament it is suggested that it is overturned. In Luke 11:42 Jesus says “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and herbs of all kinds, and neglect justice and the love of God; it is these you ought to have practised, without neglecting the others.” I think the ‘these things you ought to have practised’ makes it pretty clear that Jesus thinks they should have tithed. Considering Matt 5:20 suggests we are to exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees, and Jesus expected them to tithe then our choice is clear. If it is not 10% then the only other New Testament examples of giving are off 100% eg. the widow and the early church members in Acts.

    I don’t think there is anything from the OT that just ‘ended’ in the NT, if anything the requirements were increased but with the empowering of the Holy spirit. Examples of this are OT sacrificing animals vs. NT sacrificing Jesus himself; OT do not murder vs. NT do not murder or hate, OT teach the law to your children vs NT make disciples of all nations. The NT is characterised by above and beyond what the OT required not because we have to but because of our thanksgiving for our undeserved reconciliation with God. If the Pharisees could give God 10% in the blind hope of God’s mercy, how much easier is it for us to give that and more with such an assurance of the mercy of God in the cross. I wouldn’t say we have to give because we don’t have to do anything under grace. But knowing what Jesus has done and the OT mandate I can’t not give!

    I don’t buy the financial give and you shall receive interpretation, that implies that you can earn blessing or that we actually deserve something out of our own efforts which doesn’t fit with the Gospel imo. I think we received more than enough in Christ for us to give without expecting anything in return.

    Sorry for the rant but I honestly don’t see where the controversy lies. We can never use grace as an excuse to avoid righteousness.

  16. Gina Says:

    I struggled w/this like Sheryl. And I agree w/her 2nd paragraph – I’ve had that kind of experience A LOT.

    We tithe a set amount each month (for easier budgeting) and give offerings (church children’s home, homeless offering, mother’s day offering, father’s day offering, etc) when we have a little extra. Any bonus, tax refund, or money that comes in that we didn’t expect we IMMEDIATELY give 10% of the gross amount to the church and put the rest toward our debt. I participate on church committees so I see exactly where our tithe is used. When you are in a good church and “see” how God uses you and the members to help His people it is easier. Once we are out of debt we will increase it.

  17. Make Friends, Earn Money Says:

    I fully believe in tithing and i think that God makes the other 90% go further. It’s amazing just how bills and other things get paid just as well when we tithe despite having less available financially. I think it is a complete joy to tithe.

  18. linda Says:

    We know that tithing (which was never money) was under the Law, and because of the Cross, we are not under the bondage of the Law, and can not single out one practice and make it a law today.

    Some say that, because Abraham gave ten percent of his spoil to Melchizedek, we are obligated to pay ten percent of our salary, income, etc to the local church or somewhere, although I could not find one place from Genesis to Revelations where workers (merchants, carvers of timber, cutters of stone, craftsmen, fishermen, tent makers, smiths, etc.) were told, asked or even volunteered to give ten percent of their money earned to anyone: or where anyone else made a practice of giving ten percent of their spoil to a High Priest.

    Tithing is a very good way to finance the church. If your church demands you to give ten percent of your income, are they willing to take care of the poor, the fatherless children and widows indeed? Are do they also want ten percent of their assistance from the government, social security, etc.?

    I have given tithes for over forty years, but I do know that the Bible does not obligate me to pay tithes to anyone, and that Jesus became a curse for us, therefore people who do not pay tithes are not under a curse. You volunteer to give tithes, you don’t pay it.

    It is a lack of faith to demand people to pay something because you do not feel that you will get as much money from them if you do not put them under bondage.

    Will someone have to give an account to our Lord for leading His sheep into the confusion that I see among the saints of God?

  19. Glulgarkkig Says:

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  20. Lisa Says:

    I am struggling with the tithe issue. Several years ago, I went back to school to change careers. I attended school during the week and went to work on the weekend. I was not attending my church regularly and had taken about 40% paycuts prior to going back to school and an additional 30% while in school. It was stressful, to say the least. A friend came to stay with me who needed to look for a job. She had been an active member of my church, but had left when she lost her job and returned to her home with her family. I asked her if she had been to our church to ask for help until she could get on her feet. She said she had, twice, and each time was given counseling and turned away.

    I began to think back on all my years of tithing and offering and how many times the church had failed to come through when I needed them. I’m not talking about individuals, but the pastors and church leaders who were never concerned during a crisis. I decided at that time to give my tithe to elderly family members since the “church” was not being the “storehouse” for them nor should it because it’s my responsibility to care for widows and orphans if they are in my own family.

    I am now in a different church which is closer to my home and the pastors there have full knowledge of who is tithing and who is not. They regularly send out letters and envelopes showing your giving report and the needs of the church. I have felt judged from them yet feel I am doing what God would want me to do for my family. I am considering changing churches because of all of this. I have been made to feel guilty, a “robber” of God who won’t receive His full blessings.