Reflecting on the Graduated Tithe | Two Years Later

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In one of my first articles, I introduced a concept called the Graduated Tithe

It’s been nearly two years since I wrote that article, and over two years since my wife and I decided we wanted to implement the graduated tithe in our own lives.  In this post, I want to reflect on my current thoughts and assumptions regarding the graduated tithe.

To be clear, I didn’t come up with the idea.  I learned about it from Ronald Sider, a Christian writer who is always willing to challenge my thinking.

Here’s a quick overview on what the Graduated Tithe is:

1.  You set a starting amount or a base salary.  The amount is often your current salary.  The assumption is that if you are currently living on your income, you should be able to give away a larger amount of any increase you receive.

2.  Commit to increasing the percentage of your giving each time you get an increase in your salary.  The easiest way to do this is to increase your giving for every $1,000 you earn beyond your base salary.  Again, for simplicity, you can give an extra 5% per $1,000 you make above your base salary.  Per $1,000 annual increase, you increase your tithe by 5%, then 10%, then 15%, then 20% …

One of the Best Financial Decisions We’ve Made

checklist I feel like I’ve made some good financial decisions. 

For example, back in 2007, I stocked up on several thousand Australian dollars when it cost me .63 US cents to buy one Australian dollar.  We used most of that money when it was worth about .85 cents.  It’s now hovering around the same area as the US dollar.  In fact, the last time I bought Skype credits, my 16 Australian dollars cost me over 16 US dollars.

Truth is, that might be fancy footwork, but it isn’t anything that will make a lasting difference in my life.

But I believe the graduated tithe will.

When we set our base amount for the graduated tithe, I had zero idea that only four months later I would start an online business.  I had no idea that its first full year in business I would bring home an extra 30% salary.  I had no idea that my business would soon start accounting for 50% of my salary.

That’s the beauty of the graduated tithe.  You have no idea when God might choose to entrust you with more salary.  If we were unprepared for that additional blessing, I’m sure I could have thought of things to buy.

But before our income increased, we prayerfully committed  that we would give more as our salary increased. 

I will always be grateful that God offered me the opportunity to learn about the graduated tithe. 

Sometimes the Graduated Tithe Just Isn’t Enough

If you do experience a dramatic increase in salary, you might not have any interest in increasing your standard of living at all.

In that case, the graduated tithe may actually be too liberal for those who experience more dramatic salary increases.  The graduated tithe is ideal for people who consistently get a raise of a few percent each year. 

Coming Soon …

On February 28th, I’ll be releasing my eBook – Transforming Your Financial Diet: 7 Steps for Simple Living and Generous Giving.  The book talks more about the graduated tithe and other systems and techniques to help Christians limit their spending.  If this concept appeals to you, then I encourage you to be sure to check out more details in the book when it is released.

Anyone have thoughts on the graduated tithe?  Anyone else using this or a similar system?



Anyone thoughts on the graduated tithe?  Anyone else using this or a similar system?


  1. says

    I love this concept, but have been a bit of a slacker about putting the principle into action. We are more generous than we used to be, while maintaining about the same standard of living, but (probably because our income hasn’t changed dramatically), we have yet to make the effort to actually crunch the numbers.

    OK. Now that I am telling the world (they DO all read this site, don’t they?) about my intentions, I had better put them into action.

  2. says

    I hadn’t thought of this idea, but I like it. I should be getting a raise in March, and of course my tithe would have gone up with the raise. But I like the idea of raising it even more based on the level of raise. Right now I’m focusing on debt elimination, but I think I can handle a % increase in my tithe! I’ve been praying for God to help me be able to be more generous, and this is a perfect way to get going with it while also focusing hard on my debt.


  3. says

    It’s kind of amazing, though, how much your will is tested. You made a committment to increase your giving as your income increased, and right away that resolve was put to the test when your actual income increased and you had to decide to honor your committment.

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