Your Thoughts on Tithing

$8.00 of this should be given away as a tithe.

$8.00 of this should be given away as a tithe.

At our recent deanery meeting there was a presentation on tithing given by one of the other priests. It was a topic that I had already been thinking about for quite a while. And, in fact, I recently made the personal decision to start tithing – the first 10 percent goes to God, either via his Church or via other charities.

Rather than share my personal reasons for doing so here, I’d like to hear why you may or may not tithe. It dawned on me recently: I’ve never heard anyone who tried tithing say anything negative about it! Much to the contrary: I’ve only heard positive testimonies.

What do you think about tithing? Do you have personal experience with it? 

I hope some of you will share your thoughts!

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24 Responses to Your Thoughts on Tithing

  1. I’ve been tithing since I was a kid. It was what we learned. 10% off the top to the Church through the offertory collection, and then additional gifts to the poor, etc. through the special monthly collections (which were back in the day – The Bishop’s Overseas Aid Fund, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Black and Indian Missions, Peter’s Pence, etc.) I do think there was a more pronounced influence of Protestant tithing customs in Catholic churches in the south – and by the south, I include parts of Maryland. I was shocked to see people throwing change into the collection boxes and baskets up north as a kid. P.S. We also had mite boxes during Lent.

    • Wow – the full 10% to the Church! I’ve typically only heard of the “5% to the Church and 5% to charity” model!

      • I think that was much more related to the “stewardship” models promoted in the 70s and 80s around the country. I remember when they started those stewardship drives: “time talent and treasure” and thought, really?
        So yeah, my family has always given 10% off the top in the parish offertory.

  2. Andi Andrzejewski says:

    I don’t tithe. I do not have a steady income and 10% of 0 ( most week’s income) is still zero. I do other things instead. Volunteering to work various fundraisers at church and such. I am fairly sure God understands 4 years of unemploymet –even if the priests do not.

  3. Maria says:

    I tithe, – I use my net income to determine how much to tithe. I also include support of Catholic religious organizations as part of my tithe, and ofcourse the weekly Sunday amount to my Parish church. Any thoughts from you or you readers about tithing a percentage of net amount versus gross amount? And also should the full amount of the tithe go to the parish church?

    • I have always read that we should tithe off our gross income — thus God gets the first 10%. If we tithe on our net income, then the State and/or local authorities get the first cut, through taxation, and we only give to God out of what is left over.

  4. I’ve been contemplating it. It’ll definitely be a sacrifice but I have been very blessed in this life.

  5. Cheryl says:

    I have not ever tithed. I wasn’t taught it was important growing up. My husband and I, have not ever made a lot of money. We decided i wouldbe a stay at home mom before we ever had kids. Now, 21yrs later, we have 5 kids, 3bio one adopted domestically, and one international orphan here as an exchange student that we are fully sponsoring here. We give about 3% to the church. We try to live frugally and do without a lot of things but with 5 kids it is hard to find any extra money. I had a priest tell me one time that sharing your talents is just as important. I hope he is right. 😉

  6. Jamie Delehant says:

    We used to tithe 5% to our local parish, 2% to the diocese, and 3% to other charities. However, after closer inspection of the allocation of diocesan funds we now give 5% to our local parish and 5% to other charities (some of which are also supported by our diicese).

  7. 9jaime says:

    We do our best. We have a certain amount automatically withdrawn to go to church every month. It’s not 10%, but the best we can do with 1 in Catholic high school and 5 in Catholic grade school. We have read differing opinions on whether school tuition counts as a tithe. If it counts, we give well over 10% in addition to other donations as we can (I just got me a #nunsrock T shirt from the Imagine Sisters!) along with donating our time as much as possible. Our health care bills are huge with 9 kids and a medical need for a gluten and dairy free diet for us all. So, we do our best and let God do the rest! God truly does provide.

  8. I have a few thoughts on this (well, you knew I would, right?).

    First, while I understand the idea of giving to God before we give to Uncle Sam, Uncle Sam takes his share right off the top in the first place. This makes it nearly impossible for some people to give 10% of their pre-tax income. Let’s use an example of a family of four making the national median income (2014) of about $53,000. Federal and state taxes, property taxes on a modest home, and payroll deductions for Social Security, Medicare, and health insurance will easily take $10,000 of that money (in fact, 10K may be too conservative of an estimate). This will leave them with $43,000 a year to live on, or just under $3600 a month. If they consider themselves obligated to tithe based on the 53K figure, they will be giving about $442 to the Church per month. That means they are giving slightly over 12% of the money they actually have to live on, leaving themselves with $3158 a month for rent or a house payment, food, etc. for four people. In some parts of the country this may be quite doable, even easy. But in other parts of the country a family of four living on $3158/month is dangerously close to the poverty line. And since Catholic families frequently have more than two children in them it’s possible that five, six, seven or more are living on that income, making the amount available for charitable giving even smaller.

    Second, I have heard several good priests suggest that a more reasonable amount for working families is the equivalent of one hour’s pay per week. Those who are able to give more than that are definitely encouraged to do so, but some priests point out that tithing used to assume that *income* and *salary or wages* were two distinct concepts (as, alas, our own income tax system used to do as well). Families where at least one member earns a salary or wages but there is no other source of income were not considered to be in the same financial state as families where an income deriving from land owned, rent collected on property or mineral rights, businesses or capital investments generating more money which was often invested in the stock market to earn still more, etc. was above and beyond any wages being paid to any of the family members.

    Finally, tithing, like anything else, can become a false idol. There are people who boast that they always tithe, yet they are deeply in debt, or their children do without new coats and shoes, or they scold their wives when the grocery bill is too high, or–even though they truly are well-off and not incapable of tithing–they seem not to notice that elderly relatives or poor relations are struggling, and have a tendency to blame the poor for poor financial management rather than extend a helping hand. If we can give 100% of our hearts to God and to our neighbors, then the exact amount of money we’re able to give in any given year probably matters less than we might think.

  9. adafitchwpblogs says:

    I sorry the Old Testament scriptures clearly state that it is a percentage of your “increase” or “excess” that you are supposed to give. And this was once a year or three years depending on the specific tithe it was referring to. Now, this being said, Jesus raised the bar on giving. He expects you to give until it hurts, but only as the Holy Spirit directs. It is not for other people to put a burden and bring guilt on others!!!!

    • I suppose you will next post a comment providing evidence for your claims!

      And who is placing a burden on anyone? I was simply asking for people’s thoughts one way or the other on tiding, not for guilt trips or burdens. God Bless.

      • adafitchwpblogs says:

        When I get a chance, I would love to share some scripture references on tithing. I was not, however, accusing anyone here of what my other reply implies. I was simply stating a fact. It is common, however, for people to place guilt on others for what they are not doing, rather than focus on what the Spirit of God leads them to do specifically. They should be praying instead, that each person is being obedient to the Spirit, ensuring they are themselves.

  10. Catholic in Huntsville says:

    I fully believe in tithing. Until recently, I have never had a set amount.. I would just give as I could. Recently I set it up so that a set amount comes out every pay day. With that being said, I also believe in helping other ministries, such as Cursillo. People always said that God gives back 10 fold; and I experienced that a few years back. I worked the Cursillo for Hispanics. The Team was responsible for purchasing everything we needed to run the Cursillo weekend, from flowers, to markers, to Bibles, etc. One particular year, there was quite a shortage as several on the team had been out of work and were not able to give as they wanted. I bought and bought and bought… all the while thinking… I am really overspending.. I have bills to pay… but.. I knew that it was for a good..GREAT.. cause. The day for the Cursillo to begin arrived. I got up, checked my email, and had a paycheck notification.. I thought.. Today isn’t pay day. I looked at it, it was a bonus from work. I proceeded to call my boss. He knew nothing about it. After further investigation, it turned out that one of our suppliers had run a promotion the previous year in new sales of their product. Apparently I had qualified 9 months prior, and the money was just hitting my account… Some may say.. oh, you were going to get it anyway… I say – God’s timing. I truly received back 10 fold what I had spent.. did not have to worry about paying my bills.. and was able to spend more as needed on the Cursillo weekend. I don’t give 10% to the church.. but I feel that I truly do my fair share in helping the church, the poor (people out of work and down on their luck), and different ministries. I have had conversations with people who didn’t tithe. They later came back and told me that they started tithing and how their life had changed. It is really a blessing to be able to help others.

  11. Patrick L. says:

    I have heard more than one unofficial number regarding the portion of the ten percent that must go to the local parish. I have heard only one quasi-official statement on whether laity are obligated to donate to their local parish. This statement was from Fr. Z (here):

    “…you are obliged to support financially your legitimate parish and the legitimate clergy in good standing. That is a commandment of the Church.”

    (I say “quasi-official” because he doesn’t cite the document prescribing this commandment.) Even here, he doesn’t give a number. Is there any official number on the amount that must go to the local parish? If there is no number, does anyone have any guidance on what are good guidelines to use when deciding on this number?

    Jimmy Akin has stated here that, strictly speaking, the word “tithing” by definition entails giving 10% exactly. While (according to Akin) giving 10% is not prescribed by Church law, there is a “the duty of providing for the material needs of the Church, each according to his abilities” (CCC 2043). Based on this, even the 10% number seems to be somewhat arbitrary, as it is not required by Church law, strictly speaking. Hence, this would suggest that a set of guidelines for determining both the overall amount to donate to the Church as well as the portion of this that goes to the local parish would be useful.

    • There is no official amount that we should give. CCC 2043 is clear. There are different approaches to how one should support the Church and be generous to God and some people find that tithing is the right approach for them. Others do not, but that is allowed also.

  12. thegrape says:

    I don’t believe God is standing by with a clip board, checking, “Huhm, John. . . . only 5%, uh huh!” “Jane . . . 2 % ! Pitiful!!!” I think it has to do with the sacrificial tug you feel in your heart when you tithe, not the automatic withdraw payment at the hallowed 10%, not that there’s anything wrong with that. But I suspect it’s your heart and the sacrificial nature that God is most concerned with.

  13. Renee G says:

    Back at our parish in GA (94-96) a couple spoke about tithing. We were a young married single income family with 3 young children so we began at 3%. We now give about 10% of our net income as cash donations plus we regularly donate used items to charities. I think once we get done with kids in college, I’ll feel comfortable upping the amount.

  14. I was told one hour’s wage per week. That is what we have always given.
    With that, volunteering at the parish from cleaning bathrooms to a CCD assistant to giving up every Saturday in December and Christmas eve for the Nativity Play.
    I figure I’m covered.

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