How to Tithe
We have received many questions regarding how to tithe from people just like you! Am I supposed to tithe off my gross or net income? Should I tithe if I am in debt? What if my spouse doesn’t want to tithe? These are three of the most frequently asked questions regarding how to tithe, and here are some answers!
“Do I tithe off the gross or the net?”
We can split hairs on should we tithe off the gross, or tithe off the net, but do you want gross blessings or net blessings? That’s a bit tongue in cheek, but the point is that tithing is not a requirement of the Old Covenant law anymore. When we ask this type of question it is usually because we truly want to receive blessing from God in our finances. However, this question is many times rooted in a fear that as believers we should not have. We think, “Maybe I’m tithing wrong, and that’s why it hasn’t been working for me. I want to make sure I am doing this exactly right, so God will provide for me!”
But, you are already blessed! Everything that was needed to provide for your needs was accomplished at the cross. If you are concerned with tithing exactly the right dollar amount, then your focus is on the wrong thing. When giving to God, it is an act of love and thanksgiving to Him for all He has done. Also, it is an act of faith where you say, “Lord, I know that You are my provider, not my paycheck!” The act of faith of tithing opens the door of your heart to receive provision and increase from the Lord.
Don’t get caught up in whether to give off your gross or net income. Give as you purpose in your own heart, not because you feel obligated. “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7).
“Should I tithe if I’m in debt?”
How to tithe when you are in debt: Whatever financial situation you are in, you should still tithe! As money comes in to you, take 10% of it and give. Because tithing is a spiritual principle, the 90% will do a lot better when you tithe than the 100% would do without tithing.
Some people will use a credit card to give, and that shouldn’t happen. This isn’t referring to using a card out of convenience that gets paid off every month. This is referring to giving which causes you to go deeper into debt. But if you make $1000 per month, then the priority is to give $100 of that to the church. That money is in hand, so there should be no reason to go into debt in order to tithe.
Proverbs 11:24 says, “There is one who scatters, yet increases more; And there is one who withholds more than is right, But it leads to poverty.” When it comes to offerings, however, until you get out of debt, focus on paying off your debt. If you are in debt, especially consumer debt like credit cards or high-interest loans, get out of those quickly. Consumer debt grows bigger and bigger if you don’t get rid of it. Ultimately, you will be able to give more once you are out of debt. (Unless God tells you differently! This is a general principle, but the Lord can lead you to give extra out of what you have with a specific purpose. So, if God gives you a word to do that, then do it!)
“What if my spouse is unbelieving or doesn’t believe in tithing?”
Financial difficulties is one of the leading causes of divorce in the USA. So, if your family is struggling financially, God doesn’t want this to become a rift in your marriage or a source of contention. The devil just wants to get into your marriage and cause disunity and strife. But when we love others and put them first, love never fails! The issue of tithing is not a big enough issue to rip a marriage apart. Yes, it is a spiritual principle that will benefit you, however, the grace of God is bigger. Do not allow the enemy to deceive you into thinking the Lord cannot take care of your family financially simply because your spouse is not in agreement with you regarding the tithe.
How to Tithe with an Unbelieving Spouse
How to tithe with your spouse: work with him or her, rather than against them, even if you do not agree on giving tithes and offerings. You can be loving and honorable to your spouse while still honoring the Lord. However, you can’t take their money and tithe for them, against their will. The bigger issue is getting into unity regarding your priorities as a couple. Sit down with your spouse and lay out the priorities that you have as a family.
Within that budget, agree to an amount of money to give to each of you that can be used at your personal discretion, for whatever you choose. This could just be 2% of your overall budget, a certain dollar amount per check, or anything else that you can agree on. The point is, whether it is the husband or the wife, you are “allowed” to spend that money on anything you want!
Then, from that portion that is yours, you can give it to the church, you can tithe off of it, or whatever you determine. That way, you can come to a place where you are honorable to your spouse and to God. Remember, it’s not about the amount with God! He’s not keeping a tally of how much money you have given. It’s okay if you just tithe off of that, even though it might be a smaller amount than on your whole income. But you’re still honoring God in your situation.
So, don’t allow tithing to cause a rift in your marriage. It is much more important for the two of you to stay in peace and unity.
We encourage you to read the first article in our series on tithing entitled Is Tithing for Today?
How to Attack Lack
There is so much more to say regarding tithing and giving that we cannot fit in a short blog. However, we encourage you to watch or listen to our teaching entitled How to Attack Lack. From this 20-part series, you will learn so much more on how to deal the knock-out blow to limited finances!