Giving a Part of What You Have
I want to thank all of you who sent me lovely hugs, love and prayers. I soooo appreciate it. Kisses to you all, and know that you are helping me in ways you cannot imagine. g
This may be a somewhat controversial blog so I want you to read all the way to the end before you go off in a huff or threaten to set the dogs on me.
A tithe, from the Old English work “teogoþa” or “tenth,” is a one-tenth part of a person’s income, paid as an obligation to support a religious group. There are millions of people who tithe as part of their commitment to their faiths. While the standard tithe is 10%, some communities ask for more. And some people feel the need to give more.
Various religious groups have their own words for tithing. Jews use the word “tzedakah” to describe an act of generosity that is an obligation. Jews believe it is unjust — even illegal — to not give tzedakah. Giving charity is such an important part of Islam that even the Arabic word tasaddaqa (to give charity) comes from the root sadaqah, meaning “to speak the truth.” Zakah are the compulsory alms that are collected every year from Muslims.
I have nothing against tithing if it makes you happy. After all, it’s your money and you should do with it as you wish.
It’s your money. That’s the line I draw on the tithing. If it isn’t your money, you should be tithing. So I do have a BIG problem with tithing when you’re in debt.
I’ve suggested more than a few times to people who ask that those who are in debt should hold off on their tithing until they are out of the hole. Why? They simply can’t afford it.
But Gail, it is our belief, and a part of who we are to tithe.
If that is truly the case, then you would defer your own pleasures and needs in order to give. You would pass on that coffee, say no to that vacation, skip the new sweater so that you could give YOUR money from your heart. If sacrifice is required, so be it.
To give with real spirit, as opposed to by rote or by rule, is to take what you HAVE and give a little to someone else. It is about prioritizing the needs of others over our own wants. It requires thinking about how you will spend your money so that you can also afford to give some of that money in support of your beliefs.
People with debt aren’t doing that.
People with debt aren’t actually tithing their own money. Their gift is coming from, or being supported by, lenders far and wide who are making lots ’n lots of money.
Here’s the thing. If you can’t afford to live within your means, you aren’t demonstrating responsible living, and you don’t have to right to salve your conscience by tithing. The fact is, only solvent people have the right to tithe, and if you don’t have your crap together yet, you shouldn’t be doing it. Tithing 10% and then putting $500 a month on your line of credit is hypocritical because you are not giving what YOU have.
As for the 10% rule, most religious organizations ask for 10% of people’s gross income. But you know what, you don’t make your gross income. You + the government make your gross. You only take home your net after taxes. So if you’re pledging 10% of your gross income, you’re actually pledging much more of the money that you take home.
I’m all for sharing. If you must tithe to keep within your religious guidelines, fine. But then you must also make the commitment to tithe from your resources. If you can’t afford to do that, you must rethink your tithing.
Ask yourself this: Would the person who truly loves you the most want you to go into debt over and over again in order to give them money? Then why would God want you to do that?
I’m expecting a lot of comments on this blog (or maybe none at all) because my points here are not going to be seen as “politically correct.” I’ll take whatever you’ve got as long as you keep it respectful. And I don’t want any fights breaking out in the comments section. You can add your thoughts, supportive or argumentative, but no meanness. Okay?