Q. I have been tithing on my gross income. But my mother called me this morning and said that I should be calculating at net income. Do I calculate gross or net income?
I ask this question because I am about $20,000 in debt with credit cards. I really really want to pay them back steadily so that by the end of this year, a lot of it can be gone. I just started working so I built most of the debt up in college and grad school. One of my credit cards has a interest of 30%.
So I am generous in general with my money, but being so much in credit card debt, (not including school loans or car loans), I feel like I should be more responsible and pay the least tithe, at least until I’m somewhat out of major debt.
I want to do the right thing, and even if its hard, I will pay everything if I need to. But I’m behind and wish God could just cancel how much I owe Him.
A. It’s never a good idea to short change the Lord, even if it’s only in your mind. Luke 6: 38 says that He will give to you according to the way you give to Him. He loves a generous giver and will always return more than you send. The fastest way to pay off your credit card debt is to give the Lord His due with a thankful heart, and then ask for His help with the debt. If you don’t then you will always be in the situation you’re in now, owing money and trying to find a way to pay it. That’s called financial bondage. I’ve been there and it’s a terrible way to live.
By the tone of your letter it sounds like you’re trying not to pay God anything you don’t have to, when He’s the one who has given you the ability to earn the money in the first place. You feel like giving to Him when you’re in debt is is irresponsible.
If you can’t give out of gratitude, then no matter how much you give, if won’t do you any good. He doesn’t need your money, but He would like you to show your appreciation for all He’s done for you. And one way to do that is to give back a full portion of what He’s given you, knowing that you can never come close to repaying Him.