To dedicate Branch Financial Coaching’s new website, we want to appropriately and cheerfully give the first fruits to our God – just like with our income. We’ll have a lot to say about “God and money,” but we’ll start with the most obvious. Tithing is an ancient, religious principle and, as a business founded by Christians, we want to expound on this.

What Is Tithing

Tithing literally means a tenth. A person cannot actually “tithe” any more or less than 1/10 of their income, because that simply voids the word. If you made $100 then your tithe is $10. If you make $1,000 then your tithe is $100. So a person can fifth or ninth his income, or even give away all his net income, but that counts as “giving,” which is above or below the tenth. For example, if you make $500,000 a year and give $80,000 to charities or nonprofits, you tithed $50,000 and gave $30,000 out of your excess. The point is not the amount, but the practice of giving as a good steward.

Where Did Tithing Come From?

Tithing is a Biblical principle that is first detailed in Genesis 14:18-23. Ironically, it also talks about getting wealthy. We’ll use the Christian Standard Version here since it is based on the original texts and conveys accuracy in both word and idea.

 “Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine; he was a priest to God Most High. He blessed him and said: Abram is blessed by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, and blessed be God Most High who has handed over your enemies to you. And Abram gave him a tenth of everything. Then the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people, but take the possessions for yourself.” But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have raised my hand in an oath to the Lord, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, that I will not take a thread or sandal strap or anything that belongs to you, so you can never say, ‘I made Abram rich.’”

This is very important with Hebrews 7:1-3, “For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of God Most High, met Abraham and blessed him as he returned from defeating the kings, and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, his name means king of righteousness, then also, king of Salem, meaning king of peace. Without father, mother, or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.”

So in this passage, we see Abraham give a tenth off the top of his income, and give it to a mysterious priest. The king of Sodom then tries to influence Abraham with a earthly partnership of sorts, something that would have let Abraham get rich quick, but Abraham refuses because he wants it known that only God can make one rich.

A book can be written on tithing, but I’ll make this brief. After Abraham, in Leviticus 27:30-32, God says, “Every tenth of the land’s produce, grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord. If a man decides to redeem any part of this tenth, he must add a fifth to its value. Every tenth animal from the herd or flock, which passes under the shepherd’s rod, will be holy to the Lord.” How does this apply to a paycheck? Well, that was an agrarian culture, which America was before it grew into the post-industrial society it is today. Basically, we don’t largely deal in crops and herds anymore, but in tangible and intangible goods. After sometime, the Lord’s people weren’t giving a tenth as commanded. Well, our heavenly Father loved his children too much for that to go on without giving some chastisement. Let’s look at Malachi 3:8-10:

“’Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing me! How do we rob you? you ask. By not making the payments of the tenth and the contributions. You are suffering under a curse, yet you—the whole nation—are still robbing me. Bring the full tenth into the storehouse so that there may be food in my house. Test me in this way,’ says the Lord of Armies. ‘See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out a blessing for you without measure.’”

Why would God say that? What’s His motivation? It’s simple really. Parents should love their kids. They want their children to be responsible and they want to give their kids a huge inheritance one day – the ol’ “keys to the kingdom” mentality. But what if the adult children are addicts who can’t find it in themselves to trust Him? What if the blessed inheritance would be a curse because the grown kids haven’t learned responsibility yet? After all, a large sum of inherited money could be the death of an addict. Children honor their parents in the little things when they are young (like eating their vegetables). And when they get older, as long as they are responsible, they take on more and more crucial roles in the family. Well, when we don’t tithe, we aren’t being responsible to a very basic “vegetables” principle.

The Principle of Tithing

God owns everything already. This is an article for another time, but we humans don’t actually own anything; we’re just stewards. Psalm 50:10-15 says, “for every animal of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and everything in it is mine. Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? Offer a thanksgiving sacrifice to God, and pay your vows to the Most High. Call on me in a day of trouble; I will rescue you, and you will honor me.” Tithing is acknowledging God’s gifts and giving it freely and joyfully with an open hand. For many of us, the ability to work is a blessing that others are without.

Imagine with me that you are a billionaire and have a young son. He worked really hard to earn one dollar. He’s proud of that dollar because of all his hard work, the sweat and dedication he mustered for this trivial reward. Now say you asked him for 10 cents. If he gives you the 10 cents, you’ve promised you’ll give him mind-blowing rewards. But he has no guarantee, other than his faith in you to fulfill your word. But he does have the physical guarantee that the one dollar is in his hand. He can see it. He can feel it. He can smell it. He has control over it and giving 10% would be giving away a good portion of that control. But who gave him the allowance money in the first place? See, the founders of Branch Financial Coaching trust God because they know Him as their heavenly Father. So when He says “Test me. See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out a blessing for you without measure,” then we trust Him Who saved our tainted souls while were still rebellious children holding onto ten cents.

While the act of tithing is often associated with religious obligation, it has holistic implications that extend beyond faith and spirituality. Or before, since it can be argued that spirituality is the highest of the hierarchy.

Even for the non-Christian, there are many applications and implications to tithing. One of the main holistic implications of tithing is financial stewardship. By intentionally setting aside a portion of one’s income to give to others, tithing cultivates a sense of responsibility and discipline in financial management. This can lead to greater financial stability and security in the long-term, as individuals learn to prioritize saving and giving over impulsive spending.

Tithing also promotes a sense of community and interconnectedness. When individuals give to their religious institution or charity of choice, they are contributing to collective efforts to address issues and challenges facing the community. This can foster a sense of shared purpose and social responsibility, as individuals work towards common goals and contribute to the well-being of others. Imagine if every American tithed – we’d put the government out of business and the social programs would be improved a hundred-fold!

Furthermore, tithing can have positive effects on mental and emotional well-being. Giving to others has been shown to increase feelings of happiness, satisfaction, and purpose in life (see the Utah State University College of Science article, “Does Giving Make You Happier? Or Do Happier People Give?” by Patrick Svedin). By prioritizing the needs of others, tithing can help individuals develop a greater sense of empathy and compassion, which can contribute to more fulfilling and meaningful relationships with family, friends, and colleagues.

Should I Tithe Off the Gross or the Net?

That’s a personal conviction. There are a plethora of arguments either way. Again, it’s not the amount that counts, but the attitude and exercise of responsible giving. But think of it this way. If you make $100 and tithe off the gross, then you tithe $10. If your taxes are 33% then your net income is $66 and your tithe is then $6. The difference between gross and net is just $4. That’s why we tithe the gross – we feel stingy otherwise. But it’s a personal conviction, so you do you because we’re all on different boats in the sea called life.

What If I Can’t Afford To Tithe?

Many of us have been there.  If you can’t afford to give 10% of your income to your church, try giving a smaller percentage. 5% is still a meaningful amount, and you can work your way up to 10% over time. If you’re really struggling, consider giving what you can and making up the rest in other ways, such as volunteering your time or donating items you no longer need. Whatever you do, don’t give up on tithing altogether – it’s an important part of being human. We would love to speak to you to discover workable ways to get your financial state more secure, so that you can give a full 10% off the gross or net within one year. Best part, our services are free all the way up to the point that you can tithe that full 10% and you won’t be back-charged for previous help. Reach out to us via phone or email. Our phone number is 434-944-6982 and our email is May God continue blessing you in a manner that you may bless others for His glory.

2023 April 20

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *