There is no such thing as a dumb question. In fact, people who ask questions are usually the most inquisitive and intelligent ones because they refuse to remain ignorant. That’s a good thing. It’s important to know how much you need to tithe so that you’ll make sure you’re not robbing God and the people in your church who truly need it:
Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings. Malachi 3:8 (NIV)
If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you want to make an effort to allow God to truly lead your life in every aspect, including finances. I commend you for that, you’ll find that the more you give the more you actually receive in return, although the returns are not always money – but oftentimes far more valuable. But you’ll have to find out for yourself to truly understand what I mean here.
So how much should you tithe? Here’s a scripture to use as guidance:
Speak to the Levites and say to them: ‘When you receive from the Israelites the tithe I give you as your inheritance, you must present a tenth of that tithe as the Lord’s offering. Numbers 18:28 (NIV)
In other words, you should give 10% of any money/income that you receive. And although it’s not specific enough to say whether or not you should give 10% of your gross or your net earnings, I’d use this rule of thumb – which amount would you want God to bless? Keeping in mind that the more you give the more you will receive – would you want him to bless your full gross earnings or a smaller portion, which would be your net earnings? I’d go with the bigger amount, but truly that’s something you’ll need to work out between you and God.
Even if what you receive is not an earning, for example, say you receive $100 from a loved one as a birthday gift – you should include that in your tithe amount.
This is what I do:
Anytime time I receive money, before I even spend a dime, I count off 10% and put it away for Sunday. Since I have direct deposit for my paycheck, I write my check the Sunday immediately following payday so that it’s one of the first things to come out of the bank. That way I don’t have time to miss it.
As far as additional offerings are concerned, there is no specified amount (let me know if there’s something in the Bible I’ve overlooked). My rule of thumb is, whatever you can give joyfully and cheerfully will be pleasing to God.
When it comes to tithes and offerings, be sure you are giving in the right spirit. Don’t give and then expect to win the lottery or something crazy like that – your returns and rewards will come in God’s time. Also, don’t give and then brag about it to others – if you do that the only reward you will get is a shallow “oh, yeah, that’s great…” from the person you bragged to. The amount of your tithes and your offering and how often you pay them should remain between you and God (and confidentially with the treasurers in your church where applicable).
Some churches like to announce these amounts or have members line up according to how much you’re paying – I don’t know if I’d be comfortable with that, but as long as you’re okay with it, I guess it’s fine. Just make sure you search your heart so that you aren’t giving solely because you want recognition or you may forfeit your blessings.
Remember that an offering, can also be an offering of your time or service – sometimes those are the most valuable to God.
Are you still struggling with tithing? You don’t have to answer that here – but I want you to really examine what it is that’s keeping you from it? Is it because you like to enjoy too many luxuries? You think you have too many bills? You don’t trust your church? What ever it is, I want you to think about it and be honest with yourself – and then close your eyes and pray this prayer:
Lord, I want to do as you ask. I want to be right, but I need help sorting through the issues of life that keep me from fully trusting you. Please help and deliver me from my disbelief and doubt. Open my eyes so that I may see more clearly your reasons and purposes for tithes. Then open my heart so that I can give freely and bless others as you intend. I ask this in your name, Jesus. Amen.
If you would like further consider the purpose of tithes and why you should do it, read:
If you enjoyed reading this, you might also enjoy these past Finance Friday posts: