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July 31, 2011

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Tithe is what you give of your own free will. It is not a magic number that is guaged by a w2. In other words if you did not make enough deposites in the national bank of God you will get penalized. Make your best guess and figure it out as you go.

Remember the widow who gave the few coins, she had gave all she got which was more than the Pharisies idea of how much they tithe which was probably 10% and way more than those few coins.

I believe that tithing 10% is a guideline for how much you should tithe but really it is between you and God. Pray about it and see what God is telling you.

My husband salary is part commission and can vary greatly from month to month. We tithe a specific amount each month and reevaluate it varies times during he year.

In the end, it is between you and God and you might have to adjust your budget monthly.

Make it simple for your budget.

Tithe your 10% of a base estimate and then (as mentioned) re-evaluate every six months. Settle up at year-end when you do taxes.

We have been in the same situation for a couple years, and it certainly can be tricky! My husband has chosen to tithe (split between our home church and a ministry which really grew him in the Lord for many years) on our post-tax money, although we give over that to various organizations. For bookkeeping purposes, we simply move 10% of our deposit into personal checking (from business checking) into a separate account, and then give out of that as we have money. While that doesn't make it easy for the church to budget, we have found that to be our best solution, and a way to ensure that we are giving consistently. Not what everybody would do, but it works for us!

Easy, tithe nothing.

Abraham tithed 10% of his net worth. There used to be three tithes that added up to about 23%, but only applied to land owners. Jesus only mentioned tithing a few times, and if I remember ALL were mentioned to condemn the actions of those who tithed because it was done as a purely self-rigteous and prideful act and the people were otherwise morally corrupt.

I state this just to say it doesn't seem to make much sense to get into the specifics. My income is extremely complicated. To keep things simple, I write one check each year that is 10% of my AGI for the previous year and write "tithe" on that check. I give to other entities and even write other checks to the church for different things, but this one check I consider my tithe and assume God's not going to get into the US tax code changes to figure out if I properly tithe'd or not. I don't pretend to know if I'm tithing correctly anymore than I pretend to know I'm praying correctly or raising my children correctly, I'm pretty sure its the effort and spirit that counts.

I'm self-employed and my income varies from month to month. I simply take 10% of every payment received from a client and donate it as my tithe. That way I don't have to "estimate" anything, and all I can say is it works for me.

If I understand your situation correctly, your primary concern is that if you set up a regular donation that is based on your business income rather than just your salary, then the ups and downs of the business could end up straining cash flow. Can you just have a cash cushion that will support some months of your tithe, and then let any further cash flow crunch affect your business and/or salary rather than your tithing? In other words, it sounds like with your business there will be uneven cash flow at times. At those times, you'll have to decide which expenses are a priority and which get squeezed. I think the best thing is to make the donations a priority, as that speaks to where your heart is on the matter (which, I believe, is the whole reason for tithing in the first place) and let the rest of your finances deal with the crunches.

>My fear is just trying to figure out how to properly budget >and allocate for it. FYI, I have an accountant who is also >a Christian and I plan on bringing this up to him for our >meeting in September

Going to self employment is going to be a big change for you taxes will be far more complex and your income will likely be much more variable. I have two suggestions:

First, you may want to find out what is the most tax efficient- the LLC making donations, you making donations, or some combination of both. I suspect you don't want to pay extra taxes just to make the donations in your name instead of your LLC's name?

Second, you could use a savings account to help manage donations and average out your income fluctuations.

You add a fraction of earned income and deduct a fraction of expenses from that savings account. Let the balance build for a few months then monthly donate a third of the balance. Ideally the balance will never go to zero and your donations should be more regular.

-Rick Francis

You say you're feeling led to tithe from your entire income, not just the money you take home. Then go ahead and do it. If that's the leading of the Holy Spirit, you certainly don't want to disobey it. Scripture never faults people for giving generously to God, and there are many promises that God will take care of those who give generously. In my experience, whenever I take a financial leap of faith under the Spirit's leading, God is faithful to make sure I have what I need (even if that means adjusting my definition of what I need).

I am in a very similar situation. I've been self employed for two years now and take home a similar amount annually. I have a single partner and we've settled on taking our distributions roughly twice a year from the LLC. I've personally decided to simply tithe whenever I make a distribution from the business to my personal account. It makes things very simple.

I'm interested by your plan to tithe on your entire business income, I've certainly never thought about adding in the employer paid premiums on my wife's health insurance although I suppose it's "technically" correct. In your situation because all your taxes and entire health care are being paid before your distributions they come out to a sizable amount.

My suggestion to you would be at the end of each month take your total distributions for the month + your business expenses for the month and tithe on that. You never have to project more than a month out. Sure you might slowly build up a surplus of "untithed" money sitting in your business account but you can just take that in a lump sum in the future and give then. As you said in your post "My fear isn't giving too much, or too little." Tithing shouldn't be a minimum you must meet or a maximum you'd be foolish to exceed but a baseline amount that you give over when you are called to. This plan would be a good baseline amount. Having too much money is the simplest problem in the world to correct, it only takes a minute to write and mail another check.

This is really sad. Those who think they are supposed to tithe are denying what Jesus did on the cross.

Abram did NOT tithe on his wealth. Abram gave a tenth of war spoils that didn't even belong to him. A one-time recorded event. There is no scripture showing that Abram/Abraham ever gave a tenth of his income or his wealth.

NO ONE, absolutely NO ONE pays the Biblical tithe today.

Leviticus 27:30-33, Numbers 18: The First Tithe - a tenth of crops and animals and commanded to take the tithe to the Levites.

Deuteronomy 14:22-27: The Second Tithe aka The Festival Tithe - a tenth of crops, plus add to that the firstborn animals, and take for the yearly feast.

Deuteronomy 14:28-29: The Third Tithe aka The Three-Year Tithe aka The Poor Tithe - a tenth of crops, kept at home, and invite the Levites, widows, orphans, stranger to eat.

Now, tell me. Which of the above three tithes commanded by God does anyone follow today?

The ONLY people in the Old Testament that were commanded to tithe were those who INHERITED THE PROMISED LAND WITH EVERYTHING ON IT. They got the land, house, animals, crops, etc. ALL FREE AND CLEAR. No mortgage payment or rent to pay. And THEY were commanded to tithe on the crops and animals and take it to the Levites who INHERITED the tithe INSTEAD OF the promised land with everything on it. No one else tithed. Wage earners did not tithe. Jesus did not tithe as a carpenter. Paul did not tithe as a tent maker. Peter did not tithe as a fisherman.

The New Testament teaches generous, sacrificial giving, from the heart, according to our means. For some, $1 might be a sacrifice, while for others, even giving 50% of their income might not induce a sacrifice. In the Old Testament, ONLY the farmers tithed, and it was equal percentage (a tenth). The New Testament teaches the principle of equal sacrifice instead of equal percentage. Equal sacrifice is much harder to achieve, if not impossible, than giving ten percent.

I am the reader with the question.

The way I asked it came out wrong but I've decided how I am going to do it. I am going to do what has been laid on my heart. The first goal of working for myself is to use this new business is to Glorify God. I used to just tithe on my annual salary (gross pay) and then give generously over that. So to me the simplest way is this - Every time I receive a payment, I am going to transfer 10% of that amount from the business account to mine. Then my personal budget will determine my "salary" but now the personal budget won't consider the tithe. On a week I receive payment, my tithe will be that amount I transfer.

Jesus bought me with His blood and His sacrifice on the cross, accepting the full weight of my sins. Us giving the first part of everything we receive isn't payment for that, I could never earn my salvation.. It is a way of acknowledging that the other 90% is His also. We give above and beyond our local church tithe to other organizations serving Christ and serving people locally and abroad.

The Biblical tithe was NEVER the first of anything. Read the definition in Leviticus 27:30-33 - a tenth of the crops (NOT the first tenth) and every tenth animal in herds and flocks (the LAST ONE out of every ten, not the first).

Firstfruits have nothing to do with the tithe, and nothing to do with income. In Nehemiah 10:37 we learn that the firstfruits were taken to the temple for the priests, and the tithes were taken to the Levites who lived in the Levitical cities.

Exactly what scriptures are you using to base your decision, OR is it that you are just going by what someone told you?

Gary --

You seem upset. Is it because this person wants to be generous?

Not at all. Just the opposite. Those who tithe seem to think the other 90% is there to do as they please.

There is no teaching of the tithe in the New Testament. Those who "tithe" today are cheapening God's Holy tithe which always came from His miracles, not man's income. By tithing, you are elevating yourself to be the same as God.

Lucky God knows the heart, and those tithing many times are trying to do the right thing. But they are doing the wrong thing trying to do something that is impossible to do today. Our wages are not Holy to God.

Pastors who teach tithing today are either ignorant and/or dishonest. I personally know both types. To call our giving "tithing" implies that it is the Biblical tithe and it is not. We should call it what it is and not pretend to be paying the Biblical tithe.

The Biblical tithe could NOT be paid with money, yet the Temple Tax (tribute in KJV) had to be paid with money. The Biblical tithe could NOT come from anyone's income. People need to study their Bible instead of believing everything their hear in church.

Gary --

1. I have never seen/heard of anyone teaching that the tithe is all that a believer "owes" God. Generally, the teaching is that everything we own belongs to God, we are stewards, not owners, and the tithe is simply the first of what we make and is given to worship Him. In addition, they are frequently taught both tithes AND offerings (amounts given above the tithe.) As such, I don't think those who believe in tithing think they can do whatever they want with the other 90%.

2. I think you need to re-read the New Testament. Jesus himself mentions tithing (and says it should be done). I'll let you find out where. If you can't, come back here and I'll give you the reference.

3. Those that tithe give 10%. The average Christian gives 2% or so. So what's the problem with tithing again?

4. Those that argue against tithing (IMO) many times do so to convince themselves that their poor/low levels of giving are acceptable.

5. The bar is raised in every other aspect of the NT versus the OT, so why wouldn't tithing be set as the minimum for the NT believer?

All of these issues (and more) have been addressed by me over the past several years in this blog. I suggest you read them all so you can be up to speed on our discussion and understand fully what I say and mean. You can find them all here:

http://www.freemoneyfinance.com/the_bible_and_money/

When Jesus spoke of tithing in Matthew 23:23 He was speaking to the Pharisees and Scribes who were still under the Old Covenant law. Notice Jesus didn't say they should be tithing on their "income" because "income" was NEVER tithable.

Yes, we are under a better Covenant with higher standards.

Why is it that you say the tithe is the first of what we make when in the Bible the tithe was NEVER the first? The firstfruits went to the priests while the tithe went to the Levites.

The New Testament teaches generous, sacrificial giving, from the heart, according to our means. For some, $1 might be a sacrifice, while for others, even giving 50% of their income might not induce a sacrifice. In the Old Testament, ONLY the farmers tithed, and it was equal percentage (a tenth). The New Testament teaches the principle of equal sacrifice instead of equal percentage. Equal sacrifice is much harder to achieve, if not impossible, than giving ten percent.

There is no scripture in the New Testament that supports tithing for Christians.

Proverbs 3:9 is misquoted and misused on a regular basis in the church today.

Proverbs 3:9 (KJV) “Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:”

The verse reads HONOUR the Lord with thy substance (wealth), not give to the Lord your wealth. The verse does not say honour the Lord with a tenth of your wealth, or give to the Lord a tenth of your wealth.

How does one honor the Lord with their wealth? I believe the best way I can honor the Lord with my wealth is to be a good steward of that wealth and use it to glorify the Lord the best I can.

The verse reads AND with the firstfruits of all thine increase. In other words, HONOUR the Lord with the firstfruits of all your produce, or crops (Hebrew word definition). Doesn’t say give to the Lord the firstfruits of your produce, or crops. That comes later in the Word.

For those who say that all thine increase can also mean all your income, read the next verse:

Proverbs 3:10 (KJV) “So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.”

Verse 10 makes it clear that increase in verse 9 is referring to the crops and not income.

Leviticus 23:10 (KJV) “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:”

The above verse tells us that the Children of Israel were commanded to take the firstfruits of their harvest to the priests.

Numbers 18:21 (KJV) “And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.”

The above verse tells us that the Children of Israel were commanded to take the tithe to the Levites.

Nehemiah 10:37 (KJV) “And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.”

Nehemiah 10:37 confirms that the firstfruits were taken to the Temple for the priests, and the tithe was taken to the Levites who lived in the Levitical cities.

NO ONE, absolutely NO ONE pays the Biblical tithe today.

Leviticus 27:30-33, Numbers 18: The First Tithe - a tenth of crops and animals and commanded to take the tithe to the Levites.

Deuteronomy 14:22-27: The Second Tithe aka The Festival Tithe - a tenth of crops, plus add to that the firstborn animals, and take for the yearly feast.

Deuteronomy 14:28-29: The Third Tithe aka The Three-Year Tithe aka The Poor Tithe - a tenth of crops, kept at home, and invite the Levites, widows, orphans, stranger to eat.

Now, tell me. Which of the above three tithes commanded by God does anyone follow today?

The ONLY people in the Old Testament that were commanded to tithe were those who INHERITED THE PROMISED LAND WITH EVERYTHING ON IT. They got the land, house, animals, crops, etc. ALL FREE AND CLEAR. No mortgage payment or rent to pay. And THEY were commanded to tithe on the crops and animals and take it to the Levites who INHERITED the tithe INSTEAD OF the promised land with everything on it. No one else tithed. Wage earners did not tithe. Jesus did not tithe as a carpenter. Paul did not tithe as a tent maker. Peter did not tithe as a fisherman.

HOW CAN YOU COMPARE THAT WITH CHRISTIANS WHO HAVE TO PAY THEIR MORTGAGE PAYMENT OR RENT, INCOME TAXES, PROPERTY TAXES, SALES TAXES, ETC?

There is no way to justify making some “principle” out of the Biblical tithe and then apply it to Christians today. It is just flat out wrong and makes no sense at all.

Gary --

I'm trying to narrow you down since you're all over the place. I've addressed many (probably all) the issues that you stated above (again, btw). You didn't read the posts like I asked did you?

I did read all the posts regarding tithing. In fact, I previously even made comments on some of them.

Tithing is not a law, principle, or beginning point in our giving. It is an OT law that has nothing to do with giving or the heart.

The word 'tithe' should not be used when meaning giving. Doing so infers the Biblical tithe which was ONLY on ASSETS from God miracles and NEVER on man's income.

I agree with most of what you teach. If you stopped using the word 'tithe' and stopped references it as a starting point or guideline, we would pretty much agree.

Gary --

Since you read all my posts you have my point of view on all the questions you asked.

I think we'll have to agree to disagree at this point, though we're not far apart. As you've read in my archives, I am fine with someone who believes in "generous giving" (versus tithing) and yet gives 10% or more of his income. I'm not hung up on the word, just the results.

Now I know you don't agree with that premise -- that 10% should be the basis for anything -- so there's where we'll need to disagree.

And just to note, what I can't stand are people who use "generous giving" as an excuse/reason to give God the leftovers, a "tip" after all else is spent, or even nothing. And based on the giving numbers from the average Christian, this is what the majority of believers do.

I believe the problem is proper teaching of good stewardship. If Christians prayed before they made any major purchase, they may find they make less major purchases and have more left over to give.

I believe the average Christian lives beyond their means; therefore, has not much left to give. I have chosen to live below my means in order that I have more left to give.

It's not how much we give, it's how much we are spending on ourselves that God looks at. My belief, anyway.

Gary --

I agree with your sentiment, but I don't think proper teaching is the issue. I think it's Christians' hearts need to be changed. Even with good teaching -- and I think there is good teaching out there -- many still shy away from doing as you say (living on less, praying about purchases, giving more, etc.) because they are greedy and lack self-control. IMO, no amount of good teaching will correct those heart issues.

It's a sad situation...

Selfishness is a big part of the problem. I have told many that if they own an ipod, or a cell phone, or a big-screen TV, but don't have much to give, their priorities are messed up.

For me, giving is one of the biggest joys in my life. I can't think of anything that makes me feel better than when I give to help someone else.

Gary -

Your heart that you concluded with in your last couple comments is where my wife and I are coming from. The question wasn't a legalistic question around how to get away with minimal giving.

It was a logistical question as I seek to keep the finances separate a bit to ensure I am saving some for slower consulting months, emergencies and to keep the business and personal finances separate to keep things legally cleaner (even though as an LLC it is all my income according to IRS.. I just want to use the business account to buy business things and personal for personal to keep the separation in case any lawyers ever get involved in the future ;-) )

We believe in sacrificial giving. We don't sacrifice as much as we should but we have been increasing that. We are actually in the process of looking to radically down size our living conditions specifically to be mortgage free sooner for the intent purpose of having even more of our time and our wallets to give to those in need and to missions and ministries. We are in the process of figuring out how we can buy our Pastor a new truck since his is dying quickly and that is in large part because he has volunteered his time and service for the past 16 years plowing our church as well as several church goers. We enjoy supporting missionaries directly, helping those with specific needs in our church or in our midst as we go through life.

We just happen to feel that the first 10% is best given directly to our church and we call that our tithe. We don't do it out of obligation, legalism, trying to pay for salvation, etc. We do it because that is where we feel led to give. Beyond that 10% is where we give to various initiatives locally and internationally. We get excited about opportunities to do this.

Please don't misread the question. Please don't misread the above as bragging. I've left my full contact info off of this post for that very reason.

Should the business not tithe 10% first? And then, from the income he takes, should he not tithe 10%?

@ Danielle, I've never heard of any expecting businesses to "tithe." Yes, there are folks who have suggested businesses should give away portions of their profits... but I've never heard this called "tithing." And there's certainly nothing in the Bible about it.

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