I recently started publishing my monthly income reports and included in my expenses every month is a section for the amount that I tithe. Tithing was an easy decision for me, although I did have to work through some of the logistics of how much and when to tithe now that I'm running my own business instead of getting a steady paycheck from an employer.
My Tithing History
I grew up in a family that always tithed. (If you aren't familiar with the term, tithing means giving 10% of any money you make to the church in order to support the church and it's efforts.) I started tithing as soon as I started getting a paycheck and had a bank account that allowed me to write checks. Even in college, when I was working only a few hours a week, I would tithe to my local church.
My husband came from a similar background, so when we got married and joined a church, we made tithing a regular practice. Even when money was tight and we had bills coming up, we always set aside that 10%. At times, this was scary because 10% of your income is not an insignificant amount. But we knew that we were directed by God to tithe because all that we had came from Him. My dad reminded me in those times that life always seemed to go better and that money was always less of an issue when he and my mom tithed. It doesn't make sense, but tithing is a way of expressing your faith that God will provide and He rewards us for that.
When I started earning an income from Lemon and the Sea, I spent some time doing research on the best way to tithe from a business (I'm an LLC). I had questions that needed answered and I spent time searching online, talking to people I trusted, and praying to find the answer for my own business.
- Do I tithe from the business and from what I pay myself?
- Do I tithe based on what I bill or my profit?
- Do I tithe every time I receive a payment or at a certain time?
I read a lot of different opinions on the subject, but I decided to do the following based on my business, my faith, and my understanding of the bible:
- I tithe at the end of each month when I total up the amount that I earned during that period.
- I tithe based on when I receive payment during the month, not on when I billed. This means that even if I bill a client in November, I don't tithe on that amount until I receive the check in Decemeber.
- I tithe based on the amount I bill, so if PayPal takes a fee for processing the payment, I tithe on the total amount billed, even if I never see the money from those fees.
- As a side note: I tithe and save for taxes based on the amount I bill. I pay myself based on my profit. I want to make sure that all of my business expenses are covered before I write myself a check.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, as the Bible has a lot to say about money and the history of tithing is long, but these are a few that I studied while making my decision on how I would tithe.
"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." - 2 Corinthians 9:6-8
"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it." - Malachi 3:10
"One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty." - Proverbs 11:24
"Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” - Mark 12:41-44
"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” - Luke 6:38
"Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops" - Proverbs 3:9
"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much." - Luke 16:10
"A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord." - Leviticus 27:30
"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." - Matthew 6:21
"Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year." - Deuteronomy 14:22
"Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you." - Deuteronomy 16:17
God has given me this business to run. He is the one who truly controls it's success or failure and I am dependent on Him. If I really want my business to be used by God, I must trust Him with it and tithing is one way that I display that trust.
Tithing is a personal decision that you have to make for yourself and your business. I'm not saying that my way is the right way, the only way, or the best way. It is, however, the way that God has shown me. I would encourage you to consider tithing from your business as God continues to bless you.