TITHING: ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS

By Gary Rohrmayer

“The purpose of tithing is to teach you to put God first place in your life.” Deuteronomy14:23 (LB)


1. What is a tithe?

The word tithe means a tenth part or 10%. In the Bible, God tells us that we are to give the first 10% of all we earn back to Him. Giving less than 10% is not tithing.


2. When I calculate my tithe, should it be on my net or gross income?

Proverbs 3:9-10 says that God has asked for our first fruits, which is the first and best of all that we receive. That means we should tithe from our total income before taxes (gross). One man said, “What do you want God to bless — your net or your gross?”


3. Where should I give my tithe?

The Bible makes it clear that God expects the tithe to be given back to Him as an act of worship at the place where you worship. “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.” (Malachi 3:10)


The Bible also makes it clear this should be a plan and consistent act of worship. “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income.” (I Corinthians 16: 2)


4. Could tithe money be used to support secular organizations?

The tithe is given in God’s name and should be used specifically for His work. Tithing to my church helps me say no to all the secular and Christian appeals without feeling guilty because I know I’m doing what God desires.


5. What is the difference between a tithe and offerings?

The tithe is the first ten percent of income given as an act of worship to support the general ministries of the Church. (Malachi 3:10; Proverbs 3:9-10) Offerings are special gifts which are beyond the tithe given to express one’s deep love and gratitude for God’s tremendous blessings. These are the gifts which support our missions and building funds or other Christian

ministries. (Psalm 50:23; Proverbs 7:14)


6. Why should I tithe to the General fund rather than a specific fund?

Because God says in Malachi 3:10, “Bring your whole tithe into the storehouse that there may be food in my house.” Giving is another aspect of worship and to worship God completely involves submitting to God’s will. So when a person directs their tithe, it’s like giving with strings attached and saying, “God I will worship you my way.” (Read Leviticus 10:1-6; Acts 5:1-11 to see what God thinks when we worship Him our way and not His way).


7. What should I do when my spouse disagrees?

Larry Burkett puts it this way: “Because tithing involves money, it is a prime candidate for controversy between a husband and wife (many marital problems stem from finances). However, if both spouses are Christians, they should have a desire to please the Lord. It’s important for both spouses to be trained in God’s principles of finance. That way, they’ll understand tithing is God ordained, not just a personal desire that the wife is trying to impose on the husband, or vice versa.


The problem becomes more complicated when one spouse is an unbeliever. If the wife is an unbeliever, the husband must obey the Lord’s direction. He must realize, however, that the Lord is more concerned about his wife’s soul than his money. If tithing becomes a stumbling block to his wife, he should consider not tithing temporarily in order to win his wife to the Lord.


If the unbelieving spouse is the husband, then the believing wife should submit to his wishes, trusting that her submissive attitude may win him to the Lord. (Peter 3:1-6) But she may still ask him to let her give an amount smaller than the tithe for at least a year. If, at the end of a year, they are worse off financially as a result of her giving, she will cease to give. But if they are better off, she will be allowed to give more. In Malachi 3:10, the Lord asks us to test Him in tithing. Often, this is just the opportunity for God to prove Himself to an unbelieving spouse.


8. Doesn’t tithing limit one’s giving?

Larry Burkett gives a good answer to this question: “One excuse for not tithing is that it “limits” the amount a Christian gives to God. But the tithe was never meant to be a limit. In fact, the Jew was admonished to give early one-fourth of his income each year. With such giving today, the church could replace government welfare programs. But most people need a starting point. As best I can tell, God never asked less than a tenth from anyone. But if “10%” bothers someone, there’s no reason why they can’t give 11%, 12%, or twice as much if they so desire.”


Again, the principle of God’s ownership comes into play. God doesn’t own just 10% of our money; He owns 100%. That’s why we should never tithe with the view that the remainder is ours.


After giving our tithe, God may impress on us to give an additional amount to the mission fund, building fund, or other Christian work outside the church.


9. Should I tithe if I am in debt?

The tithe helps us to fear God, which is the beginning of wisdom. (Proverbs 1:7) If there is anybody in the world who needs God’s wisdom in the area of finances, it is a person who is already in debt.


10. Should I tithe from the profits on the sale of my house?

Any profit made from the sale of a house ought to be tithed upon, because it is, in fact, part of our firstfruits. Even if the profits are to be reinvested in a new home, a tithe should first be given.


11. Should a person tithe on an inheritance, insurance or legal settlement, or salary bonus?

Because these are all part of our “increase,” we should give a portion of it back to the Lord to honor Him. 


12. If my parents are in great need, can I give a part of my tithe money to help them?

In Matthew 15:5-6, Jesus condemns the Pharisee’s practice of consecrating their possessions to God while their parents suffered need. In light of this, if the tithe is the only resource available to help your parents, give it to them. However, be sure you have sacrificed your portion before you decide to give what belongs to God.


13. Should I tithe on alimony or child support from my ex-husband?

Alimony is part of your income from which a tithe should be given, but child support belongs to the children and isn’t part of your personal “increase”.


“But just as you excel in everything — in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us — see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” II Corinthians 8:7


(Excerpts taken from “Giving & Tithing” by Larry Burkett of Christian Financial Concepts. For other materials by Larry Burkett, www.cfcministry.org


Donor Bill of Rights

To assure that philanthropy merits the respect and trust of our church members and the general public as a whole, and that donors and prospective donors can have full confidence in Yosemite Church's ministry causes they are asked to support, we declare that all donors are entitled to the following rights:


  • To be informed of the Yosemite Church mission, of the way Yosemite Church intends to use donated resources, and of its capacity to use donations effectively for their intended purposes.
  • To be informed of the identity of those serving on Yosemite Church's Finance Team, and to expect them to exercise prudent judgment in its stewardship responsibilities.
  • To have access to the most recent financial statements of Yosemite Church.
  • To be assured their gifts will be used for the purposes for which they were given.
  • To receive appropriate acknowledgment and recognition of their gifts.
  • To be assured that information about their donations is handled with respect and with confidentiality to the extent provided by law. 
  • To expect that all relationships with individuals representing Yosemite Church will be professional in nature.
  • To feel free to ask questions when making a donation and to receive prompt, truthful and forthright answers.


Faith Promise Offerings –

Faith Promise is a means of funding missional activity in the local church. It has been used within many Christian denominations and groups as a very effective means to raise the resources needed to effectively impact our world. Faith Promise is a commitment between an individual and God. It is a one-year promise of a sum of money that an individual, in dependence upon God, intends to give to missions. It is not based on money that you have at hand or in your bank account. The aim is higher. People are urged to ask God for the financial amount that He will enable them to give to missions during the coming year. It's that simple. It's about faith and obedience. It's about asking God what He wants you to give, and then trusting Him to provide so you can give.


Some common questions:

Q: What is the purpose of the Faith Promise offering?

A: We use Faith Promise offerings to support missionaries and mission-oriented organizations. As a YC Mission Board, we annually plan, and prayerfully appropriate, your Faith Promise offerings to 25-30 missionaries and organizations.


Q: So how do I participate?

A: During Missions Month, we are asking individuals and families to prayerfully seek God’s guidance about a giving plan, and to consider a “Statement of Intent to Give” a certain amount over the next year. Over the course of the following year, Faith Promise contributions can be given weekly, monthly, or in other ways.


Q: Is Faith Promise a pledge?

A: By definition, a Faith Promise is different than pledging, although we sometimes use the word pledge when talking about Faith Promise offerings. By technical definition, a pledge is a vow, which scripturally binds one to perform the pledge, even in changing circumstances. Pledges can also be legally binding. With a Faith Promise, people make commitments to contribute if the funds are, or become, available. It is understood that if God doesn’t provide the funds there is no obligation to give. Committing to Faith Promise is Biblical and acceptable to the Lord.


Q: Isn't this just the same as my normal weekly offering?

A: Not quite. Faith Promise is different. Our normal offering is the tithe (normally understood as 10% of our income), or whatever amount God has personally led us to give to the regular functioning of His church. Faith Promise is an offering over-and-above our tithe, which is specifically given to funding missionary outreach.


Q: Don’t we support missions through our normal weekly offering?

A: In some ways. There are aspects of our church budget that fund missions, defined as reaching out to those who are outside our cultural or social demographic. Our regular budget also includes line items for Mission Board operations. Going forward, we believe God will provide the necessary resources to fund our missional needs. Until God consistently funds these needs through Faith Promise, we will supplement with our budget.


Q: How is the Faith Promise money designated?

A: The Faith Promise offering can be marked on your giving envelope or check with the words “Faith Promise,” and is designated in that manner. In terms of your giving records and implications for tax deductions, it is the same. Faith Promise offerings do not go into the main budget line of the church.


Q: How do I know how much to give to Faith Promise?

A: After praying and seeking God’s guidance on how much He would have you give, you should feel comfortable with the amount you decide upon. It may be $5 a week, or $450 per month, or even a one-time gift.


Q: Can I still give to other works and projects outside of Yosemite Church’s mission support?

A: Of course! Many of you are giving sacrificially in many ways to missionaries and mission organizations of which you are aware. Periodically, Yosemite Church is made aware of a need, and special offerings are made available to the congregation. Yet, Faith Promise is a means to give everyone have the opportunity to contribute, focuses our church on particular missionaries and organizations, and helps foster a relationship with these designated efforts.


Q: Is Faith Promise a Biblical concept?

A: The Early Church did not have formal programs such as this, but II Corinthians 8:3-5 lays out this very idea when it says of the Macedonian believers: "they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will." We want to follow their example and obedience in our own time and place.


Q: Do I have to take part in the Faith Promise program?

A: No. At YC, we firmly believe that all giving should be done in obedience to the Lord, and it is essentially a voluntary commitment between you and God. We do ask you to pray that the Lord will lead you and your family in determining an amount that you will give to support missions over-and-beyond your tithe.


Q: Will the statement of intent to give through Faith Promise be anonymous?

A: Yes. Each year during the fall Missions emphasis, we will conduct a review and raise awareness of the Faith Promise program, and encourage individuals and families to provide us with an anonymous “Statement of Intent to Give” a certain amount to missions over the next fiscal year. This will enable the Mission Board to forecast and plan ways in which we can support missionaries and organizations.


Q: Will the amount I actually give through Faith Promise be anonymous?

Yes. Our pastoral staff and mission board members will not know how much you give. Our financial secretary (who already operates under the strictest guidelines of confidentiality in all matters related to finances) will be the only person to know individual giving, and will only report balances to the Mission Board, and to the church. Of course, you may also designate a Faith Promise offering in a totally anonymous manner if you do not wish to have a giving statement for tax purposes.


Q: How will the Faith Promise contributions be reported?

A: Our Faith Promise offerings will be reported on select Sunday mornings as a separate account, along with the main church giving reports. We encourage all families to consider contributing to Faith Promise as a way to increase and strengthen faith, and to support our missionaries and mission organizations.