Brian answers the most frequently asked questions about tithing
View the list of questions
Should I tithe if I’m in debt?
We believe that God honors the money that we give back to Him. We encourage you to sign up for FreedUp to begin a plan to get out of debt. At the same time, if you believe God is encouraging you to start tithing, even a small amount, we believe God honors this act of obedience and trust.
Why must the tithe go to the local church and not other kingdom endeavors? What if I don’t agree with how my local church spends money?
Giving to other kingdom endeavors is great. But we believe this is an offering. The point of the tithe is that the first 10% of our income is not our money, it is God’s money, and it’s a full surrender to give it back to our local church. Beyond the 10%, true generosity begins and giving to other kingdom endeavors is a fantastic way to make those offerings. The tithe, however, is a surrender to God and that includes surrendering where it goes. If we pick and choose where “our money” goes, then we are playing God with the money. That’s why He tells us where it should go.
Why gross versus net?
In the story of Cain and Abel, Abel brought the “immediate”, the first to God, and Abel is blessed. (Genesis 4:2-7) When we pay our taxes first (the equivalent of tithing on our net income), we are showing that there is something in our life that is more important than God. Surrendering the first 10% of our gross income to God shows God we are offering Him the first before anyone else. God’s first in our lives. Not Uncle Sam. Not the mortgage lender. Not the piggy bank.
If I can’t financially make the ten percent work now—debt, college kid living off of loans, hospital bills, new business startup—but I want to work towards it, does starting the tithe at one percent or five percent mean the rest of my money is cursed? Basically, is it better to not tithe at all until I can give ten percent?
In Malachi 3, God says we are stealing when we use that 10% for ourselves instead of giving it back to Him. God is always, however, looking at our heart. Talk to Him about it and ask him what you should do.
What do I do if I’m unemployed?
If you’re unemployed, and you do not have an income, then you have no income to tithe on.
What if I’m living off of social security or disability? Didn’t I already tithe on that money?
If you tithed off the gross on that money prior to collecting social security or disability, then you tithed off that money before so there is no increase to tithe off again. Again, this is a matter of the heart and a decision you should come to prayerfully with God.
My spouse doesn’t want to tithe, but I do. How do I honor my spouse and God at the same time?
If you are earning income, you should tithe on your income. If you are not earning income, then perhaps refraining from tithing is best. If you do receive any money in any form, perhaps ask God if you should tithe on that. But it’s never a good idea to be deceitful or pressure someone in marriage to do something they do not want to do.
If I have a business and pay myself from the business, what do I tithe on—my business profit or the income I take home from my business?
Tithe on the income you receive. You could then take a look at all the profit from the business, and tithe on that separately if that’s a business decision you want to make. Ask God what you should do.
What do blessings look like?
God does sometimes bless us financially. He also blesses us beyond the financial: the country we live in, the health we have, the friends we have, the opportunities we have to vacation, his protection over us, a reliable method of transportation, sensing more of his presence or hearing his voice. It’s everything God provides for us.
Should I tithe on gifts—like wedding gifts?
Let’s not get too legalistic with God. Rather than asking yourself what to do with the gift, try growing your giving to a place where you’re giving so sacrificially that this question isn’t even an issue. It’s truly between you and God.
Should I tithe on my portfolio increases or just when I take money out?
When you take money out or receive a payment/dividend, you should return the first 10% to God. In the case of stocks or an investment portfolio, you could pay on the increase yearly, but this is another area where it’s between you and God.
What does it mean to be a cheerful giver?
Being a cheerful giver means we “cheerfully” do what God says on our own accord. When you choose to give, sometimes this means you could be nervous about tithing or giving. Being a sacrificial giver doesn’t mean it always hurts, but it means you are trusting God.