Years ago, a financial advisor asked me if the 10% that we are to give to the church included the amount of money taken for taxes that are directed to social programs? I decided to do the math again for today. This is an example from the internet, so it must be true. If I make $51,000 a year, I will be required to give $12,000 in taxes. Then you ask, how much of that goes to benefit folks directly? 22% of that goes to Health Care programs. 17% goes to income security such as food and nutrition. Now we have $4,800 out of taxes? Do we count that in our 10%?
If I make $51,000 a year, do I take ten percent before taxes or after taxes?
If I have a friend who is one of the 17% of Kentuckians who are food insecure and I give him and his family $100 to supplement until their next paycheck comes? Do I count that as part of my 10%?
If I give that $100 to the American Diabetes Association, do I count that as part of my 10%?
When we are asked to give “sacrificially”, does that mean giving more than my 10%, skipping meals to give more, or does it mean no lattes for a week?
I have seen the power of giving and not giving to the church. Many of the faithful, large donors left a church. Over the years, folks began to give less and less as their displeasure increased. On the other hand, my Mom and Dad attended the Christian Church in Harrodsburg, Kentucky. That aging congregation raised over $800,000 to renovate the church. So, do we only give if we agree with the leadership?
As I grapple with this earthly quandary, one of the things I have done relates to my estate. I have designated how my ten percent will be divided. I chose the three most influential organizations in my life and each will get 0.33%.
So, what do we do? What is our 10%? Where do we get our 10%? Lord only knows!