I do. We consider the 10% tithe a minimum. And we tithe on gross, not net. I've done that ever since I was about 12. I'm teaching my daughters to do it. When they get their allowance or baby-sitting money, it immediately gets divided up, with 10% to charity.
Anyway, a few interesting tidbits in the news lately. First, the Obamas released their tax returns. Here's some interesting information
Obama and his wife, Michelle, earned $181,507 to $272,759 each year from 1998-2004.
Their income jumped to $1.6 million in 2005, Obama's first year in the Senate, with the rerelease of his first book, "Dreams from My Father." They made nearly $1 million in 2006, half of it from his second book, "The Audacity of Hope."
The Obamas' charitable giving also increased with their newfound wealth.
From 1998-2004, they gave between $1,050-$3,400 each year. In 2005, they gave $77,315, including donations to literacy and anti-poverty campaigns and their church. In 2006, they gave $60,307 to charity.
So when they were earning about $200,000, they gave around $1000 away. Okey dokey.
Now, a George Will column
on the same thing asks who is really compassionate. And it turns out it's religious people, and specifically religious conservatives. Those on the left end of the spectrum believe that government should be giving all the money to charity, not them.
But I think that kills a little bit of your soul. If you aren't able to reach into your wallet when you see someone in need, and try to help, then there's something wrong. Obviously we have to be careful about where our charity money goes, but we should be giving. It helps us.
It was such a privilege for our family to go to Africa for the last two years and see where a lot of our money had gone. It just spurred us on to want to help more! I must admit that I don't really understand the mindset that says, "Oh, there's a need! Let's lobby the government to do something about it!". If it's a need and you can meet it, meet it. That has more than its own rewards.
And let's teach our children that their money isn't really theirs. God has trusted them with it. Now, what are they going to do with it?
When our kids get allowance, or baby-sitting money, or tooth fairy money, or birthday money, or anything, the first thing they do is divide it up into three jars: 10% for charity, 30% for university, and 60% for spending now or saving for a specific goal (Rebecca just puts that money straight into her purse!). That's what they've always done, and they don't question it anymore. Every few months we take the charity money and decide where to give it. We need to train our kids to give money away.
Here's Rebecca's charity jar that needs to be emptied soon. They like counting how much change is in there and figuring out what they can give.
I remember when I was 13 my mother made me give away 10% of my wages from being a mother's helper in the summer. I was really upset, but I did it. But from then on, whenever I made any money I gave it away without anyone telling me to. It just came naturally. I hope we all can raise our kids to be generous, rather than expecting that someone else will always be there to fill the gap.
Labels: allowance, giving, spending