Around this time of year, you have likely noticed your pastor talking more about money and giving. Tis the season – stewardship season that is. While he or she is talking about giving 10% of your income, you think to yourself, “Holy cow! That is a house payment or a tuition payment. How can I ever afford that?” These are good questions because 10% of your money is a lot. This is what goes through my mind. I am not yet to a 10% tithe, but I am working on it. This is one of my financial goals in life.
Today, we will address some questions you may have about tithing and then give you some practical ways you can strive to reach that 10% tithe.
Tithing Questions and Answers
- Do I give 10% of my gross income or net income? This is one of the most common questions I hear about tithing. The answer is that you ultimately want to give 10% of your gross income. However, if you are just starting or are not close to the 10% goal yet, then aim for net income. Once you hit net income, then raise your sights to gross income.
- Should I take a tax break on my tithe? I looked to Dave Ramsey for advice on this question. The answer is yes. The bible encourages us to be good stewards of our money and to invest it wisely. As John Wesley says, “Earn all you can, give all you can, save all you can”
- Can I take a break from tithing? There are times when money is tight. You lost your job, your car needs an expensive repair, or your child just broke his leg. Life happens. Should you not pay your bills in order to tithe? The answer is no. Pay your bills first because the companies to which you pay your bills need that income to pay their employees. There are many people who believe (Rich Dad Poor Dad is one of them) that the more you give, the more you will receive. My advice is to get your affairs in order first and then give what remains. Note that your affairs do not include that new car and HBO package. I’m talking about food, clothing, and rent.
- Why do I need to fill out that pledge card? Why can’t I just drop money in the offering plate every week? I sit on the finance committee at my church. When it comes to money, we are very conservative. In about two months when all the pledge cards are in, we will total them up, add a certain percentage for money in the plate, and that is our top dollar budget. Churches ask you to pledge so they can plan their next year. Even if you are unsure, fill in the pledge card with the minimum amount you know you will give the following year.
- Can other charitable giving be counted toward my tithe? Yes. God wants the fortunate to help the less fortunate. Lucky for us, we live in a time where the church is not the only means to help the less fortunate. Make sure your charitable giving lines up with your values and then aim for giving away 10% of your income each year.
How Do I Reach A 10% Tithing Goal
The million dollar question is how do I reach a tithing goal? The first step in reaching any goal is to know where you want to go. In this case, you are trying to give a 10% tithe. Here are seven different ways you can reach a 10% tithing goal.
- Pay Your Church First – When it comes to saving and giving, paying yourself (or your church) first is always the best approach. If your church supports it, set up direct debit from your checking account. If they don’t support it, then set up a reoccurring online bill payment. Just put your name and your spouse’s name as the account number. Set up the payment to come out of your account the same day you get paid.
- Take Into Account All Giving – Tithing is more than giving money to your church. God wants us to help all people. In reaching your tithing goal, you should aim at giving away 10% of your income to various organizations. This includes everything from church, schools, family, friends, and the homeless man on the side of the road.
- 1% Yearly Increase – Most 401k accounts have an option that increase your contributions by 1% every year. My wife turned this on and is now up to 13% without even noticing the increase each year. When you receive your raise, increase your giving by 1 percentage point.
- Double Down – When you start out giving just a few dollars each week, this can be one of the easiest approaches to boost your giving. Each year, double the amount of money you give. If you gave $25 a week last year, give $50 a week this year.
- Bill Replacement – As you progress in life, you shed some of the early debt and bills you picked up along the way. You took that furniture deal where you paid no interest for 5 years. You finally paid off your car. Each time you shed one of these bills, redirect that money toward your tithing. The best way to do this is to set up a reoccurring bill payment that goes out the same day each month that your replaced bill was due.
- Over-Commit On The Unexpected – When you receive a large chunk of money, whether it is expected or unexpected, give more than 10%. Try giving 25% or even half. These chunks of money can include bonuses, tax refunds, or second jobs.
- Have a Little Faith – I remember when my wife and I were looking at our first house. I thought how can we afford this. It was such a big commitment. But we did. Next, our baby girl was on her way. I thought about the diapers, daycare, clothes and all the other expenses. “How can we afford this?” I thought. But we did . I’ve learned in life that when we take small, well thought-out, steps, our needs somehow get covered when we take leaps of faith. Tithing is no different.
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