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
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?