How And Why We Tithe

by iam1percent on July 27, 2012 · 12 comments

The intent of this post is not to toot my own horn, but to share with you how and why we are able to currently give 10 percent of our pre-tax income to the church and other charitable endeavors. First off, I don’t believe that everyone Christian needs to tithe. I believe that God looks at the heart in terms of how willing one is to give to the church. I’ve outlined the different types of rich and poor people and the spending habits as it relates to giving to the church.

I’ve always given a bit of money to the church. While in college, I had part-time jobs and always gave a bit to my church. It wasn’t much, but I was a poor college student who needed to buy food, books, gas, and clothes. When I got my first job, I gave a bit more, but it wasn’t nearly 10 percent. However, I always had a goal of reaching a 10 percent threshold in my contributions to the church.

After I got married, we increased our contributions to the church to about 10% of our after tax income. Since our goal was to give 10 percent of pre-tax income, we had a bit more work to do. It came easier as our incomes grew as our cost of living didn’t rise as fast as our incomes.

How We Give Now

We decided to open up a Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund for a few reasons. First, we did not want to give a full 10 percent of our pre-tax income to our specific church. It’s no secret that we make a significant amount of income so 10 percent of that income is a lot for our small church. We also had the desire to give to other causes, such as other churches, and associations (i.e. Red Cross). The gift fund also allows any money to grow over time by investing it in broad market indices or in a money market account depending on your goals. Fidelity charges a small 0.6% to manage the account. Lastly, we get the full tax deduction by contributing to the fund (before we donate to a cause). This has been a great feature for tax purposes because we don’t always know where we want to donate, but we get the full tax deduction anyway.

It wasn’t easy to reach this goal, but we have been blessed to earn a significant income. And quite honestly, it is easier to give more when your income is high. The real test for us will be to see how much more we can give without a growth in income. It comes down to giving during the hard times as well as the good times. We will continue to stretch and give more because not only does it help someone in need, but we believe it is also a commandment from God to further the cause of Christianity.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Lance@MoneyLife&More July 27, 2012 at 9:05 am

Good for you for wanting to and being able to do this! I agree with you that it is easier to find the money when you make more but it is a much larger dollar amount as well. Kudos to you for giving back!
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Brandy July 27, 2012 at 11:00 am

Great job! I need to donate more! :(

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Emily @ evolvingPF July 27, 2012 at 11:26 am

Your post title is a bit off… You answered “How We Tithe” but not why.

We have an automatic deduction going to our church and a savings account that we fund every month for other giving opportunities as they come up. Once I was convinced that tithing was an appropriate form of worship (within a year of becoming a Christian), I started giving 10% of my gross income and have increased it from there.
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iam1percent July 28, 2012 at 10:50 am

Your right. Though the last paragraph gets into the why, most of the post is the how. Thanks!

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Josh @ Live Well Simply July 27, 2012 at 11:35 am

“Let each man do according as he hath purposed in his heart; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 My giving habits sound very similar to yours. 10% is a good rule of thumb, but definitely not the law. And there are other ways to give to your local church and chosen charities including volunteer time, area of expertise, food bank donations, and more. Great article.
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White Coat Investor July 28, 2012 at 12:12 pm

I’ve tithed my entire life. I don’t know why you think it is easier on a higher income. I found it about the same to give 10% of $20K ($2K) as 10% of $200K ($20K). The tax benefits are more now, but the level of sacrifice seems about the same to me.

I’ve found the blessings promised in Malachi 3 to be better than the money anyway.
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iam1percent July 30, 2012 at 1:19 pm

I think the higher your income is, the easier it is to give 10% of it because your spending typically does not correlate to the same degree. If I earned $10 million a year, i can easily part with $1 million and live off $9 million. Not sure it would be that easy if I was earning $30k. I guess it depends on your lifestyle too….

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Mary @ Buy Sell Funds July 29, 2012 at 5:48 am

Great job. A religious teacher once said that when we aspire to be rich, it must not be on a personal level but based on a greater idea, that is, to be able to share more. I believe that responsible spending habits express Christian virtues far better than the 10%. The monetary value doesn’t really count but the good intention.
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Mo' Money Mo' Houses July 30, 2012 at 7:03 pm

I’ve always believed that tithing or giving back (whatever you want to call it) is important and everyone should do it no matter what their financial situation is. Even when I was unemployed and looking for work, I volunteered and gave money every month a child overseas in need.

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