1. Should I tithe my gross income or my net income”?
This is the most common question people ask when they realize that 10% of our
incomes should be returned to the Lord through the New Testament “storehouse”, the
local church. You should tithe based on your gross income. Net income is what we take
home after payments for taxes, Social Security, and benefits provided by our employer.
Keep in mind that these benefits are really part of our salaries; and the tithe should be
10% of our total, i.e. gross, salary.
2. I haven’t tithed in the past. Should I make up for tithes I haven’t given but should
No. I appreciate the sensitive conscience regarding the tithe, but it would be
impossible to figure out what the amount is. Here is an area in which we “forget what is
behind”, cf. Phil. 3:13, and move forward with this new area of Christian obedience.
3. I’m in debt. Should I get out of debt before I begin tithing?
No. Keep in mind that the tithe is the Lord’s (see Malachi 3:6-12 - an amazing
and fascinating passage about God’s promises in connection with the tithe).
Technically, “giving” is over and above the tithe (what we usually call an “offering”).
“The tithe is the Lord’s”. Therefore, not to tithe is to rob God of what is rightfully His, cf.
Malachi 3:8. (Remember that the tithe is the main means by which God furthers His
work in the world). Start obeying the Lord now by giving the tithe of your gross income.
That discipline has the practical effect of making you more careful with the other 90% of
your income. (Discipline in one area of life usually leads to discipline in every other
area of life.). Those who practice tithing will testify that the 90% of their income left
after they have tithed goes further than 100% of their income when they didn’t tithe. In
your new Christiaan discipline, begin to pay off your debts. You will also be more
sensitive to not going into debt. Let’s face it, most of us spend money for many, many
things that we don’t really need.
4. But I’m afraid that I won’t have enough to pay my other expenses.
Live out of faith rather than fear. “And…God will supply every need of yours
according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:19 - which is in the context of
the Philippians’ generous giving). The fact of the matter is, you really can’t out-give
God. Begin obeying Him now with your giving habits and you will soon find that out for
yourself - as every other person who has given tithes and offerings can testify!