I mentioned in my last post that I ran into a problem with the Ten Percent Solution. Well the problem, I encountered is that while 10% is quite easy to do (providing I use it for debt right now), 20% is quite out of the question. So I have to make tough decisions about where that money goes. That is where the discussion with tithing came up between my wife and I.
I wasn't planning on writing about my religious beliefs, but I think it's going to become unavoidable. It's not that I'm embarrassed about it, or don't want to discuss it, but I just wanted to keep the posts and discussion accessible/applicable for everyone regardless of their beliefs. However, it is a big part of my life and I was pretty naive to think it wouldn't come into the picture. So perhaps some of you may find this only as a curious glance into the finances of my Christian life.
If you're Jewish or Christian, you've probably seen the 10% recommendation before, but in another context Tithing. As a Christian I believe that God is the ultimate owner of everything I own. In fact Christian often refer to this as stewardship, which I was recently reading about in my accounting book. A steward is responsible for the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to his or her care. So we believe the money isn't truly ours, but it's only in our care. While many people think a discussion of money is almost un-Christian, I think the mismanagement of funds would be considered more so.
Many non-Christians I talk to seem to think that religion is all about rules. So to clarify this is not a requirement about being a Christian. Its a decision I choose to make because of the impact God has had on my life. The specific amount to tithe is not a rule either, but 10% is often used as a guideline. In fact though, we're encouraged to give much more than that. I'd love to say I'm doing that, but sadly that's not the case.
Just like I've post-poned building wealth until the debt is repaid, I've also post-poned tithing until that same time. I'm sure some would disagree with that concept, but I feel that having the debt for longer than necessary would also be a mismanagement of funds. The plan is to be out of debt in 2 years at which point I'll need to make a decision of what to do with that 10%.
I suppose the decision should be obvious, but I must admit here is where I struggle. While I do believe God provides for us, I'm also a strong believer that he gave us brains to use as well and we can't expect things to be handed to us. I believe it's important to use the skills that we've been given and I believe mine is financial aptitude. My struggle is that I know it's the starting out that is the hardest part and by giving 10% in tithes, my wealth building then becomes extremely difficult to accomplish.
So this is my struggle and in the end I think I know what I'm going to do. I'm going to put my trust where it belongs and rely on God to take care of the rest. If He does want me to be wealthy, then it will happen regardless. However, I just wanted to share in the hopes that maybe it will help someone else with similar struggles. God said that we can only serve one master, either Him or money, and it feels like this depicts that dilemma clearly.
Anyone else with the same struggles? Any tithe levels greater or less than 10%?
If you're interested in any of my other beliefs feel free to comment or send me an e-mail.