Dave Says

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Do you think having cancer insurance is a good idea? (July 2015)

Setting up the kid's car insurance (February 2015)

Check cashing for the unbanked (September 2014)

Keep the lifestyle simple (May 2014)

Should she have skin in the game? (September 2013)

Time to pay it off! (September 2013)

Making It Through Medical Leave (July 2013)

Should We Ever Buy A House? (January 2013)

Be Tightfisted Until The Crisis Is Over (January 2013)

Paying the parents (December 2012)

Sallie Mae vs. selling the car (December 2012)

What’s the worst that can happen? (December 2012)

Letting them in on the secret (December 2012)

Not ready to combine finances (November 2012)

What The Law Will Allow (August 2012)

Making The Right Choice (August 2012)

Baby comes first! (August 2012)

Get the brother-in-law out! (August 2012)

Trust Broken After Cosigning (April 2012)

Review The Research (April 2012)

The Investing Makes Her Nervous (April 2012)

Lifestyle Changes (April 2012)

Do I Tithe On An Inheritance (March 2012)

No Credit Score, No Mortgage? (March 2012)

Where Do Toys Fit In The Baby Steps? (March 2012)

Guilt and Cynicism (March 2012)

Where Does Debt Go When Filing Bankruptcy? (December 2011)

Where Does The Donation Go (December 2011)

Ready to Buy (December 2011)

Intensity Hurting The Marriage (December 2011)

Hobby Car? (November 2011)

Not Quite Dearly Departed… (November 2011)

Enough For Retirement? (November 2011)

It’s Just Another Gimmick (November 2011)

Will Paying Early Help? (November 2011)

Bargain Master! (November 2011)

Sisters Should Have Asked! (August 2011)

Buy Now Or Wait? (August 2011)

So, He Knows How To Manage Money? (August 2011)

Girlfriend’s Money Problems (August 2011)

Smaller Down Payment? (August 2011)

Why Can’t She Get Another Job? (August 2011)

Landlord Wants Protection (June 2011)

Prepping Kids For Healthy Habits (June 2011)

Switching To Company Debit Cards (June 2011)

Should I Reduce My Tithe? (June 2011)

Closing The Account (February 2011)

Dishonesty Is Not The Best Policy (February 2011)

Piles of Cash? (February 2011)

New Car In A Bad Situation (February 2011)

Drop Coverage? (November 2010)

Can't Pay For Her Wedding (November 2010)

Does Pride Keep Us In Debt? (November 2010)

Not Time For A Reunion (November 2010)

You're Being Hoodwinked! (November 2010)

Buying Used or New? (November 2010)

Is There A Recommended Vacation Percentage? (July 2010)

Don’t Do it for the Gas Mileage (July 2010)

Investing Strategy for Retirement (April 2010)

Insurance? (April 2010)

Triple Play Investing (February 2010)

How Do I Get Started in Real Estate (February 2010)

Published: June 2011
Should I Reduce My Tithe?  

Dear Dave,

My husband and I are on Baby Step 2 of your plan, and we’re working hard to pay off all of our debt. We’re Christians, but would it be a good idea to decrease our traditional 10 to 15 percent tithe while we work through the debt snowball?

Janelle

Dear Janelle,

I’ve studied Scripture on this subject for about 20 years and taught in Christian settings. But I don’t want you to take my word as the final authority. What we’re about to get into comes from God, not some guy with a radio show, okay?

When you look up the Hebrew word “tithe,” it literally means tenth. Not 10 to 15 percent – a tenth. The book of Deuteronomy says to give a tenth of your net increase. In Proverbs, it refers to the tithe as first fruits, off the top, before anything else. About 1,200 years of protestant Christian teaching has focused on the idea that the tithe goes to the local church, because it’s the New Testament representation of the Old Testament storehouse. The storehouse took care of the Levites, which were the priests—or pastors—and the widows and orphans. Today, the New Testament church in your community is supposed to use it for the same kinds of things: pastor’s salaries and helping people who are struggling.

Now, once we’ve said all that, the problem is that there’s enough toxicity in Christianity and twisted information that surrounds tithing to choke a horse! I want you to remember one thing, though. God doesn’t love you more just because you tithe more than the person sitting next to you. It’s not a salvation issue, either. We’re not going to get into performance-based legalism here. God thinks you’re cool! You’re his kid, and He’s going to love you even if you don’t tithe. But He knows what tithing does for us. It makes us focus on something other than ourselves. God doesn’t need your money, but He does want us to be loving and giving to the people around us.

I wouldn’t stop or reduce my tithe if I were in your situation. When I hit bottom 20 years ago, I tithed all the way into bankruptcy court and all the way out. Just please keep in mind that you shouldn’t do this because Dave Ramsey gave you a “rule.” It comes straight from God, and it’s a loving father’s instructions as to what’s best for his kids!

—Dave

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