Should We Tithe on the Gross or the Net?
Business owners must pay for materials, rent, employee wages, and many other expenses. These are not the same as their personal gross income, and therefore would not be subject to tithing. But our income isn’t merely what’s left after taxes and bills are paid. The value we receive for company-paid retirement, life insurance, health insurance, etc., is all part of God’s provision for us, isn’t it? Scripture refers to “a tithe of everything.”
Since taxes are withheld by their employers, many don’t consider this income. But suppose your employer withheld money for your house payment, groceries and children’s tuition. Would you consider those no longer part of your income and therefore not subject to tithing? When asked “should we tithe on the gross or the net?” it’s appropriate to ask “What do we want to be blessed on, the gross or the net?”
Tithing naturally applies not just to the cash we hold in our hands, but the value of all which is to our benefit. When we tithe, Nanci and I try to take into consideration all God’s provisions, including those that are sometimes difficult to quantify, such as when someone graciously provides us a place to stay on vacation. Our freewill giving then starts beyond this amount. Though tithing is satisfying, for us it’s beyond it where the real fun begins.
For more information on this subject, see Randy Alcorn's book, Money, Possessions, and Eternity.