Here's a FAQ about tithing: Should I tithe on the net or the gross?
The gross. Tithing on the net is not really tithing.
The whole purpose of the tithe is to give God the first 10% of your increase, right? Well …
When your employer pays you–at least, in the USA, anyway–they pay you one amount (the gross, which is the entire amount you earned) and you take home another amount. The amount you take home is less than your total earnings (and is called the “net pay”) because your employer withholds taxes, health insurance premiums, and more from your check.
The thing is that they are only making those withholdings as a convenience to you. (Well, and because it's federal law; but you'll see what I mean below.)
When you live and breathe, there are certain bills that come with that:
- Taxes, for one thing.
- You owe the government taxes on the money you earn.
- Health insurance is another one.
- Life insurance premiums are another.
- (Insert any other withholding amount that is taken out of your check before you get your net pay.)
But those are all amounts that YOU OWE.
Your employer is simply cutting a check to the federal government–or to your health insurance company, or whatever–on YOUR behalf.
So, if you only tithe on the net, what you are saying is, “Lord, I'll give You 10% after I pay some of my bills.”
And if you do that, where does it stop?
If you give the Lord His 10% after you pay your taxes and insurance premiums, will you also wait until after you've paid your electric bill? Will you wait until after you've bought groceries? What about after you have saved for your retirement and for your child's college education?
The tithe is 10% of your increase.
You increased the entire amount. God sent you the money to pay all your bills! Yay! …
… but your check was reduced because you owed the government some of it–and the government has the power to make your employer send them what you owe them directly.
Nevertheless, that withholding is still just a bill you are paying. It's just the same as how your pocket money will be reduced because you'll owe the phone company some of that money.
Therefore, if you want to tithe on your increase, tithe on the gross.
Does this make sense? If you have questions, please leave a comment below. And, if you want to read about the sixfold blessing of the tithe–and why tithing is NOT “the Law” in the Bible and IS still applicable today, read my article here.