How Often Should You Tithe?
God asks us to return 10 percent of our income to Him. But does He specify when, where or how often?
Claire from Massachusetts writes in with a question many people ask: How often should you tithe? And does it matter where?
I am a hairstylist and I work for a franchise-owned hair-cutting salon chain. The pay is only $9.00 per hour and I get some tips (not a lot, though). I’m struggling financially and don’t make enough to support myself.
How does God want us to tithe? Does He want us to give away our tithe money right away, such as the same day as soon as it is in our hands? Or should it be put into a checking account and a check written and mailed to a ministry or charity on the same day that we get a paycheck?
I know that God has to come first in everything and of course that includes tithing. But I’m not sure how to come up with a good foolproof system to tithe that would please God. What would you advise?
This is something many people wonder: How often should you tithe? And does it matter when or where?
It’s no small thing to give away 10 percent of your income. If you’re like Claire having a tough time making ends meet, it’s even harder. So the fact that you want to tithe says a lot about your faith in God to provide for you.
Where Should You Tithe?
I also believe that tithing is intended primarily as a way of funding our local church congregations. Quite simply, tithing makes church happen: Without faithful givers, our churches wouldn’t be able to maintain their facilities, pay pastors or fund community outreach.
If you belong to a good church in your community, you have some responsibility for helping to keep it financially healthy.
So, you should tithe to your local church. If you belong to a good church in your community, you have a responsibility for helping to keep it financially healthy. You fulfill that obligation by tithing regularly to the church.
If you aren’t a member of a solid local church, I’m afraid that finding a place to tithe is putting the cart before the horse. God wants you to live in fellowship with people who love you. He created the church to give you a place to do that. If you’re not connected to a church, you’re missing out on a lot that other people have to add to your life. You’re also missing out on a powerful opportunity to make a difference in the world by serving your church and your community.
It’s great to give generously to non-profits and ministry organizations. But those gifts don’t replace tithing to your local church. You shouldn’t withhold the tithe to your church because you’re giving to an outside organization instead.
How Often Should You Tithe?
Now, how often should you tithe? The Bible doesn’t specifically address how often you should tithe, so there’s not a strict rule you have to keep. Instead, you should figure out the tithing schedule that makes the most sense in your own life.
Many people that make a point of writing out a tithe check as soon as they get paid. This helps them give to God first, before they do anything else with their money. I think this is a pretty good way to go, because it makes a priority of the tithe and helps you to avoid the temptation of spending that 10% elsewhere. Today, many churches offer online giving or text-to-give platforms. So it’s easier than ever to give your tithe as soon as you get paid, regardless of whether you’re physically at church.
A good budget should have a tithe built into it.
You don’t have to make a contribution for each paycheck, though. If you have a thorough, well organized monthly budget, you probably have a good idea of how much money you’ll have coming in every month, and when it will be coming. A good budget should have a tithe built into it. So if you know how much your tithe will be every month, you can schedule a recurring monthly gift whenever it’s convenient for you. There’s nothing wrong with tithing once a month, as long as that gift represents 10 percent of your monthly income.
Fixing the Income Issue
We should talk about one more aspect of Claire’s question. She’s having a hard time making ends meet with her income of $9/hour. Asking “how often should you tithe?” will be a really difficult question for anyone earning such a low wage. God doesn’t want to burden anyone with the tithe — especially people struggling financially. Instead, He wants to bless their faithfulness.
So part of what Claire needs to think about is how to get your income up. She works at a budget hair-cut chain now, but self-employed stylists at independent salons make quite a bit more money. Low-wage jobs are never meant to be career positions. If you find yourself earning less than you need to live on, you should do anything you can to find a way to advance in your career so you can pay your bills.
If you’re like Claire, trying to grow a heart of generosity or struggling to manage your money, I’d love to help you. Subscribe to God Money & Me today, and I’ll come alongside you with lots of wisdom, tips and encouragement that I have gained from years of studying what God says about money. You can sign up free by filling out this form:
God has a great future in store for you. Let’s start walking the road to freedom together!