Today I’d like to talk about a term you don’t hear every day: tithe. What are tithes? In today’s day and age, tithing is a form of crowdfunding for a church except that it’s been around much longer than the term “crowdfunding.” It can be defined as a voluntary contribution to support the mission of a church or organization and it’s day to day operation, but in a more general sense it is using our own resources for the greater good. This is more commonly known as donating. The reason I’m going to use the word “tithe” and not “donate” for the remainder of this post is because in my mind donating is something that you do once or not regularly while tithing is more habitual.
Why Should I Tithe?
The Life Rookie is still in it’s infancy and I’ve already dedicated multiple posts to earning money on the side with Uber and saving money with budgets and good decisions. However, that does not paint the whole picture of who I am or what this blog is about. Tithing has been an important aspect of my adult life ever since I started my first big boy job seven years ago.
I tithe primarily for religious reasons having been taught that all money I earn is a blessing and that tithing is a way of saying “thank you” to God who gave it. I won’t go much deeper into it since I believe that everyone, religious or not, should give what they can to help their fellow man in our “me first”-world.
Where Should My Tithes Go?
The first thing that comes to mind when I hear the word “tithe” is money that goes into the collection basket at church, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Just as you can use your budget to put money away in savings, take care of bills, or buy something nice for yourself, tithes can be deployed in a similar way. You can help an organization function, directly help the less fortunate, or help someone who helps the less fortunate. Deciding where your tithes should go is as simple as finding who you want to help most and how. At the end of this post I’ll share a few places my wife and I send our tithes.
How Much Should I Tithe?
The word “tithe” is defined as one tenth of annual produce or earnings. If 10% is a lot for you, don’t sweat it. Something is better than nothing if your intent is to help as much as possible. I will admit that it wasn’t until recently that my tithes amounted to 10%. When I looked at my budget for this year I saw an opportunity to save more, but after a conversation with a friend on this topic I realized I was being a little greedy. That’s when my wife and I decided to increase our tithes first before increasing our savings.
Speaking of budgets and savings, try to make tithing a priority instead of giving from what you have left over. The best way to do this is to treat it as a recurring cost. This means tithing is something we should be doing regularly and it may also mean cutting back on other expenses in order to do so.
As promised, here are a few organizations my wife and I support with our tithes (in no particular order and not including our local parish):
- Spirit FM is our local Christian station and besides being religious in nature, everything from the music to the discussions to the programming is positive and uplifting.
- Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) places missionaries on college campuses to help students discover and grow in their faith. A few friends of ours are former or current missionaries so we’re glad to help.
- Answering the Cry of the Poor (ANCOP) has a child sponsorship program that enables poor children in third world countries afford to go to school for only $32 a month. It’s important to us because it started in our parents’ homeland the Philippines but is slowly reaching other countries.
No Money? No Problem!
If your budget is already tight and tithing isn’t a viable option, there’s another way to go about helping those less fortunate: volunteering. Time is a resource we all have and volunteering allows us to use that time to get our hands dirty or be face to face with those we’re helping. What’s great is that you don’t have to join the Peace Corps or another global organization. You can get started right in your own community. You can feed the homeless, build or repair homes, sit and talk with the elderly, or even just help sort food at a food bank. Volunteering is something I’ve gotten away from in recent years, but it’s one of my new year’s resolutions to do more regularly.
The very first post on The Life Rookie talks about giving others a friendly push to chase their dreams. Tithes and donations do the same thing by helping others keep their heads up and keep going. I challenge you to find a person, place, or organization you want to support and start helping by setting aside a few dollars in your budget for tithing. The time and money we spend helping others is an investment in humanity.