Giving beyond tithing
My husband and I tithe, but right now we're on Baby Step 2 of your plan and we're expecting a child in a few months. Since we're trying to pay off all our debt except for our home, what should we do about giving beyond our tithe in this situation?
Evangelical Christians recognize two types of giving in the Bible - tithes and offerings. The tithe is off the top, before you do anything else. That's why I recommend people put it on the top line of their budget forms.
After that, offerings are almost impossible to find in Scripture until you've first taken care of your family. The normative method found is that offerings are to be taken out of your surplus. In my mind, while your family is in debt and you're busy taking care of your household, there is no surplus. Just because something tugs at your heartstrings or someone spews out a toxic sermon on giving doesn't mean that you need to give offerings above your tithe.
But here's the good news. Once you've paid off your debt and have a fully loaded emergency fund in place, you'll have the rest of your lives to open up and give like never before. Getting out of debt means you will gain control of your most powerful wealth-building tool- your income. And when that happens, you can give with extraordinary levels of generosity.
There are three things you can do with money - spend, save and give. And when you reach a point where you can give well, it's the most fun you'll ever have with money!
Dave Ramsey is America's trusted voice on money and business. He's authored four New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover and EntreLeadership. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 6 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.