Yesterday we wrapped up the Mind Your Own Business series where we looked at God’s plan for your finances. Many of you have reported how impactful this series has already been and I look forward to more stories in the coming months. Please email me as God blesses you so we can know what’s happening. The purpose of this post though is to answer some questions that this series has sparked in some of you. Most of them have to do with week 3’s message about tithes and giving. So let’s get right to it…
- Should I tithe on the net or gross of my paycheck? A friend of mine once joked, “Well which one do you want God to bless you on?” In all seriousness, God wants His part first. In other words, before Uncle Sam gets his cut, God wants the 10% that belongs to Him. So the answer is you tithe on the gross.
- “Gilbert you said to tithe weekly but I only get paid monthly. What should I do?” Great question and I misspoke when I said Lisa and I have never missed a week of tithing. What I should have said was we’ve never missed a paycheck. So you should tithe anytime you get paid whether that’s weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.
- Should I tithe on every source of income or just on my paycheck? The answer is everything. Again the premise behind this series was that you are to be a manager of all the stuff God has entrusted to you. That includes more than just money you get from your job. So if you get a bonus, inheritance, cash gift, etc, you should tithe on that as well because it’s all a part of the resources God is entrusting to you.
- “I’m self-employed and don’t really take a paycheck. How much should I tithe”? That’s a tricky one that I dealt with when I was self-employed as well. My first suggestion would be to start paying yourself a paycheck. This will help in not only the tithe portion but also in applying all the other principles we looked at in the series for getting out of debt, staying out of debt and saving for the future. However, sometimes that can’t work so you need to just be as honest with God as possible about what is truly 10% of your income. Remember the tithe is more about where your heart is at than it is about money. There are a lot of legitimate, legal things you can do as a self-employed person to lower your tax burden and show very little income. However, just like the gross or net question above, God wants His portion before you factor in taxes. Let me try to give an example. Let’s say you have a product that you sell for $1000 and it costs you $600. When you sell it, you don’t tithe on $1000, but instead the $400 profit you made. Again the mistake many make is that when you add in business expenses, it’s possible to show on your taxes that you only made $200 profit. Now this example was very simplistic and I’m already seeing exceptions in it myself but again you’ve just got to be honest with God and come up with a true number not one your fudging.
- “I have been giving to charities. Should I stop giving to them in order to tithe to the church?” Well that depends on your financial situation. However if you can only do one, then God says first you tithe. Anything beyond the tithe is called an offering and can be given in any way that you want….charities, another ministry, your churches building fund or mission fund, etc. My prayer is that all of us will apply the principles from this series so we can give both tithes and offerings.
- “Gilbert you said that when people tithe God promises to bless you. Is that just financially or in other ways as well?” Again this was an area that I should have clarified in the message. In fact, I had it in my notes but forgot to say it. God does promise to bless but it’s not strictly you give $1 and He’ll give you $5 back. Many of the greatest blessings you can’t put a price tag on. Many blessings are also things we may not even sense or appreciate in the moment. Now that’s not to say God can’t or won’t bless you financially, but it goes far beyond just money.
- “I’m in debt up to my eyeballs and can just barely afford to pay my bills each month. Should I tithe?” This is another tricky question because by saying yes it would appear that I’m condoning you getting into further debt or getting behind on your bills. However, this is where faith comes in. Do you really believe that God is who He says He is?Do you really believe God when He says you can trust Him with the tithe and that if you do He will open up the floodgates of Heaven and pour out so much blessing on you that you will not have enough room to contain it? You see why I kept saying throughout the series that how you handle money says more about your faith in God and who or what you really trust in than anything else? So if you really believe and trust in God then yes go ahead and tithe. Remember as I said in the week 3 message, “90% of your income with God’s blessing is greater than 100% of it with God’s curse on it”.
Hope these additional answers we’re beneficial. Let me know what other questions you might have. Be blessed and trust in the Almighty God more than you do the almighty dollar!