Dave Ramsey’s three big principles are save, spend, and give. We want you to enjoy your saving and spending, but giving is really some of the most fun you can have with money. We get a lot of questions on the topic though, so let’s take a look at the most common ones.
1 ) What’s the point of tithing?
God doesn’t need our money. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. That’s not why He repeatedly tells us to give and have an eternal view of everything He’s given us. His desire is that we’d experience the kind of peace that comes from a content heart. Having a content heart, managing money God’s way, and avoiding the temptation of materialism frees us to focus on the things that really matter—like family, friends and, ultimately, changing our family tree.
2) Should you stop tithing when money’s tight?
The Bible does not mention anything about putting a hold on your tithing. And it never implies that tithing is a salvation issue. The tithe, which is a scriptural mandate, was not instituted for God’s benefit, because He already has all the money He needs. He does not need our money. So why does He ask us to give 10% to Him? Tithing was created for our benefit. It is to teach us how to keep God first in our lives and how to be unselfish people. Unselfish people make better husbands, wives, friends, relatives, employees and employers. God is trying to teach us how to prosper over time. If you cannot live on 90% of your income, then you probably cannot live on 100%. Something is already off in your plan. And if you do tithe, do it out of love for God, not guilt.
You gave the money to the church. You were biblically obedient in that. The Bible also tells us to be good managers of our money. It does not diminish the sanctity of your gift to take the tax deduction. It is a way to manage the rest of the money. Take the deduction. Later, if you get an income tax refund, remember that this is money that you’ve already tithed. But you can always choose to give some or all of it back to the Lord as additional thanks for His blessings.
4) I’m making more money now. How should I increase my giving above the tithe?
When things are going well, it’s easy to accidentally spend all the extra income. That’s why Dave recommends that you name each of those new dollars in your budget every month. Set up your budget based on your new salary, including your giving, spending, and saving. Then, any additional income is divided among extra giving, extra investing and some blow money.
5) Can’t I also volunteer my time and services as a form of giving?
Absolutely! You can serve food at a homeless shelter, read stories to the elderly at a nursing home, help with parking or child care at your church—the list could go on and on. You can also look for special opportunities to help people in need, like a lady who has a flat tire on the side of the road or a young married couple who just had their first baby. This doesn’t have to be a formula or a checklist of ways to give. All you need to do is start with an attitude of thankfulness, generosity and giving, and that attitude will reflect how you respond in everyday life.
Sure. The Bible says to give a tenth of your income to your local church. Your first goal after the tithe is to take care of your household. Then, above that, to support other ministries with your giving. But you definitely shouldn’t be giving yourself into the poorhouse. When you have a better financial foundation in a few years, you are more free to give above the tithe. Bottom line: Giving liberates the soul of the giver. A giver never walks away feeling badly. Whether through a tithe, charitable contribution or gift to a friend in need, giving not only generates good—it brings contentment. Money is never just about money. It is about so much more. When giving becomes part of our natural way of life, incredible blessings are unlocked in our spirit that we’ve never even imagined! It’s a great way to live!
From Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class. Used by permission.