I just received a question in an email, “Should i tithe before or after taxes”. It’s a good question. Even though there are many other difficult questions in regards to tithing, many people have been confused for some time about whether they should tithe on the gross or net. Everything seemed pretty cut and dry with Israel in the Bible, but it doesn’t seem that way with us since so much has changed with the New Testament Church.
First, we don’t have Levites and priests. Second, we don’t have a temple, or storehouses. We don’t even have the Mosaic law. On top of that, we’ve been given some new things. We now have the Holy Spirit and are under grace. We are also under a new covenant. We are born again, and one of God’s sons. This list of changes from the Old Testament into the New Testament is a nightmare to weed through.
Let’s face it. Finding out whether you should tithe before or after taxes should be an easy question to figure out. There are many other more questions that do not seem to have such clear answers in the bible:
- Should i tithe on retirement
- Should i tithe on gifts
- Should i tithe on my investment returns
- Should i tithe on the benefits of my health insurance?
- Should i tithe on car insurance claims?
- Should i tithe on social security
- Is tithing before or after taxes?
- Can i count christian education towards tithing
- Can i tithe to a charity?
- Can i tithe to friends and family?
. . . and the list goes on and on . . .
Ok, so you get the point. Tithing is a complicated matter. Tithing before or after taxes is just the beginning of the complications. Through all of this i am reminded of the verse In Romans 2:29 – “and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter”
Those who have a heart towards God will seek obedience. So i understand why they questions in regards to the tithing command. But Godly Stewardship is not in the letter, it is of the heart and in the Spirit. Some may see fit to include a 10% requirement within the spirit of the law, but when confronted about whether 10% is a reflection of their heart, they answer, “No”. If a 10% commitment is not a reflection of their heart then how can it be within the spirit of the law?
The point is that all these questions about tithing show how 10% giving is a part of the letter and not of the spirit. The regulations about what you can give, who you can give to, how much you can give, when and where; are all part of the letter that kills. if you don’t think it kills, just look at how people stumble over 1 tithing question. Let alone, a hundred more that the bible doesn’t even give you answers for; because the instructions for tithing were given under the Old Covenant.
With Spirit led giving in the New Testament, the command to tithe is overwritten and fulfilled. If the law was fulfilled, that means its purpose is used up. You cannot continue to use and add more water to a bucket of water when it has fulfilled its purpose. It is full and finished with its job. It is not abolished. It is just fulfilled. Now, you need a different bucket that allows you to fill up with more water. Thank God for Spirit-led giving in its place.