As some of you have mentioned, I too have been through Dave Ramsey’s FPU classes and my wife and I tithe regularly. I’m looking to have some minor surgery but will be off work a few months only receiving some short term disability benefits.
I have no problem tithing from my gross income but how is this seen? For that matter, what about tax returns? Any honest advice is welcomed.
Luke this subject usually opens up an emotional hornets nest with some readers so before I answer your question let me just say one thing (ok maybe a few things) :).
Often people stew and worry about their tithe, asking things like “How much do I give?”, “Am I giving too much?”, “Should I even give?”, “What do I give?” The bottom line is that the main reason we should give is because we love God so much and one way we show that love is by giving to Him, helping with His ministry and helping others.
Sadly to say, sometimes we give because we are afraid God won’t bless us if we don’t or because we see others tithing and being blessed and we want that too. In this case we need to ask the question, “Are we willing to give even if we never receive a blessing but just because we love Him?”
One reason I think God asks us to tithe is because a person tends to put his money where his heart is. That’s what it boils down to. The goal for every Christian should be to get to the point of giving with so much love and generosity that not only do you not worry whether you are giving too much but you can hardly control yourself from giving more. Most of us have a long way to go to get to that point.
Now to answer your question.
Your gross income is all the money you earned before anything gets taken out. In the Bible, God asks us to give a tithe (tenth) of everything you earn.
Your net is just what is left after your company takes out some monthly “payroll deductions” like taxes, social security, medical insurance, savings, etc. In the Bible, God asks us to tithe off of the top of what we earn. If you are tithing off of your net income, you are giving your tithe off of your income after you have paid some “bills” first.
Here’s an example of tithing off of the gross – These are just random numbers used for my example:
You get paid $100 for yard work. We are asked to tithe off the top of that, so let’s break it down:
$10 – tithe
$10 – taxes
$5 – social security
$5 – medical
$10 – savings.
You now have $60 left to spend.
Here is an example of tithing on net
You have the same $100
$10 – taxes
$5 – social security
$5 – medical
$10 – savings
$7 – tithe
See the difference?
If you have already tithed on your gross, then you have tithed on your tax return money. It is pretty easy to figure if you give 10% on any income. If you have already tithed on that income, you don’t have to do it again.
There are 3 ways the Bible teaches about giving
1. Tithe -10% of everything you earn. I round it up and give more because sometimes I receive a box of tomatoes from a neighbor or sacks of groceries as a thank you for something I did so that way all my income is covered.
2. Giving – This is giving above your tithe just in gratefulness to God for something like a successful surgery, finding a good job, seeing a special need or just because. Keep in mind that giving shouldn’t be out of a sense of “payment” but gratefulness.
3. Alms – This is giving above the tithe and giving to the poor or needy. Often, people like to substitute this for their tithe because it isn’t quite as hard to give someone a shirt we don’t like or want anymore as it is to give our hard earned cash.
Tithing is a command. The other two are choices. The interesting thing is that the closer we draw to God, the easier and more natural all of these become. When I see my grandkids, no one has to tell me to run and give them a huge hug and pull out some candy to give to them. I don’t count and make sure I only gave them one of my ten candies and not two. Why? Because I love them and can’t give them enough.
Besides, we don’t want God counting and being careful that He is only giving us the exact (minimum) amount of blessings we deserve. Thank goodness He loves me so much that He gives me way more than I deserve, and He doesn’t hesitate in giving that.
Develop your relationship with God above all else. When you do that, the Holy Spirit will give you nudges or send someone your way to let you know if you need to do something more or less. In some ways, it is like with other relationships– The closer you draw to someone and the more you are around them, the more you get to know their needs and their wants and you don’t have to work at it that much.
For example, I know my daughter loves gnomes and my son is crazy about Superman. I don’t have to think about what they would want me to give them these things. I also have a cousin who lives across the country that I haven’t seen in years and years and I would have no clue about what to give him.
I hope this helped to clear up things a little for you.
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