Welcome to Day 3 of our 30 day celebration of the 5th Anniversary of
Giving Thanks: The Art of Tithing, by Paula Langguth Ryan – where we’re answering 30 questions about tithing!

Dear Paula,

The Bible says that we should give our tithes and offerings. Is the 10% taken from the gross or net income? Will tithing benefit us even if we cannot commit to 10%?

Angie V.

Dear Angie,

Great questions! I’m going to start with the last one first (in tribute to the idea that “the first shall be the last and all that good stuff!”) Tithing isn’t something that necessarily “benefits” us. Tithing is our thank you gift. The intent with which we give, however, is what opens us up to recognizing the blessings that exist in our lives.

Giving at the level that you can comfortably give is one of the best ways to start tithing, if giving a full 10% makes you completely queasy. That’s why I offer a free Giving Thanks Tithing Mastery Study Course – it’s a graduated tithing class. Each week, or each month, (depending on how quickly you want to take the course), you step it up a notch – start with 1%, then 2% then 3% on up to the full 10% tithe. Along the way, the study guide gives you some thought-provoking questions to explore based on the book, Giving Thanks. (you can get a free copy of the study guide at http://theartoftithing.com/giving_thanks_study_groups.htm and you can listen to recordings from a 10-week telephone study group I conducted at http://www.paulalangguthryan.com/freestuff/tithing-mastery/

As for your second question, gross or net…. The goal is to tithe 10% of all you receive, from wherever you receive it. If you find a dollar on the sidewalk, tithe 10-cents. If you’re paid $1000 a month, tithe $100. Of course, when we have lots of deductions taken out, it may be challenging at first to tithe 10% of gross. In those cases, I recommend tithing 10% of gross and then tithing 10% of your tax returns, until you get to a point where you can tithe the full 10% of net. Try this. Calculate what 10% of gross is and what 10% of net is. Say you get paid $1000 but your take home is $720. Start by tithing $72. 1% of $1000 would be $100, right? So declare to yourself right now that you’re tithing 7.2% of your GROSS. Which is what you’re truly doing. Then decide, next month, I’m going to tithe 7.5% and step up your tithing to $75. The next month, decide to make it 7.6% and step up to $76 or make it 8% and step up to $80. Steadily and systematically, build your faith by stepping up to some next level of your tithe and watch how you expand yourself into that new space with increased abundance in all areas of your life!

Peace and prosperity,