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Tithing

In last week’s post, we discussed my reasoning and logic behind tithing undergirded by scripture. I also pointed out the importance of viewing the act of tithing as giving of our ‘first fruits’ as opposed to our leftovers as some kind of ‘tip’ for God. All of this rests on a firm foundation of stewardship.

Let us continue on this journey together.

“One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” (Proverbs 11:24-25)

What should I tithe?
I tithe from my income. A portion of my income has taxes, social security, etc withheld. The rest is 1099 income. Personally, I keep it simple as possible. I just take a minimum 10% from the total I receive every pay period or when a commission is deposited. I don’t try to do a bunch of calculations regarding taxes and withholding. I don’t have time for that and I believe that it diminishes the spirit of the tithe. In any event, my total giving is reported to the IRS when I pay taxes anyway. God knows my heart and if I make a mistake, He is pleased with my obedience not my exact calculations. However, that does not give me license to be slopping in my calculations. God knows whether I’m just ‘checking a box’ or if I am acting out of joy, obedience and gratitude.

Where should I send my tithe?
Personally, I tithe to my home church, a handful of ministries and missionaries who are directly involved in sharing Gospel and edifying believers. While there are numerous charitable organizations who are worthy of financial support, I do not believe my tithe is meant for these. I prioritize my tithing first before providing support to organizations outside the Body of Christ. I will address giving ‘over and above’ the tithe later. If you don’t have a home church to which to tithe, I recommend finding a solid Bible-based church to call home and get connected. Until then, ask yourself where you are getting your spiritual nourishment. Maybe you listen to a ministry on the radio or podcast? Then, start there.

Should I tithe on business income?
While some may disagree, I believe that this comes down to personal preference. Deuteronomy 14:22 instructs “set aside a tenth (tithe) of all that your fields produce”. Some translations inject the word ‘increase’. I am not a Biblical scholar. That said, I believe that I must tithe from my personal income first. Then, I look at my business income. If we’ve had an ‘increase’ I will tithe on that amount. Again, this is a heart issue. Let’s not get bogged down in the calculations and diminish the spirit of what we are doing here. I know business owners who tithe on their business income and some who do not. One is not better than the other in the eyes of our Lord.

Remember, I must understand my position in the economy of God. None of what I have belongs to me anyway. So, I must honor God with ALL of it!

Let’s stop there for now. Next time we’ll deal with the offering plate at church on Sunday (I promise). We’ll also touch on giving ‘over and above’ the tithe and the spirit of generosity. If you have not read ‘Tipping God’ part one, I encourage you to do so. It will make things a bit more coherent for you… I hope 🙂
Tithing Part 1
Tithing Part 3