Archives For November 2009

How to Find Contentment

Corey —  November 17, 2009

       Last week, we looked at the definition of contentment. I suggested we define contentment as “when what you have fulfills what you desire”. Discontentment comes when what you desire outweighs what you have. Today, we’re going to look at how you get from discontentment to contentment.

Visualizing Discontentment and Contentment

       Last week, I used this image to depict discontentment:

Discontentment - What You Desire Outweighs What You Have

       Then I used this image to depict contentment:

Contentment - What You Desire Equals What You Have

       Keep these illustrations in mind as we discuss how you get from discontentment to contentment.

Two Options

       If discontentment is a result of what you desire outweighing what you have, then you have two options to find contentment. Both options tip the scale in favor of “what you have”, but they do it in different ways. First, you can try to get the things you desire. The idea is that getting what you desire increases the weight of the “what you have” side of the scale – bringing you into a balance and leading to contentment.

       Your second option is to give up some of the things you desire. This lightens the load on the “what you desire” side of the scale – again bringing you into a balance and leading to contentment.

Get What You Desire

       The most common approach to finding contentment is to try to get the things you desire. This idea tells you that getting those things you crave will satisfy your cravings and you’ll finally be happy and content. But experience shows us that those who go down this path are never actually satisfied. They never find true contentment by fulfilling their desires. Meeting one desire simply leads to another, greater desire. Solomon noted this well in Ecclesiastes:

       10 He who loves silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance, with increase: this also is vanity. 11 When goods increase, those who eat them are increased; and what advantage is there to its owner, except to feast on them with his eyes?

Ecclesiastes 5:10-11 (WEB)

       If all you desire is more wealth or a greater abundance, you will never actually be satisfied when you get more. You’ll just want even more, and after you get that you’ll still want more. When John D. Rockefeller, one of the richest men in history, was asked “How much money is enough?” he replied “Just a little bit more.” His response is a clear example of the problem with desiring an abundance and always seeking to fulfill that desire. You’ll never get to a spot where you have enough. And finding your “enough” is key to finding contentment.

Desire Less

       The other approach to finding contentment is to begin desiring less and appreciating what you already have. By giving up your cravings for the things you don’t have, you can find pleasure in enjoying the things you do have. You learn what your “enough” is, and you often find that it’s what you already have. The idea is that you can find happiness and contentment in your current situation if you free yourself from the idea that more is better.

       Many people look at this path as striving for “the simple life”. All it really amounts to is defining your true needs and assessing whether those needs have been met. If they have, then you don’t need to desire anything else. If not, then you know exactly what you need to find the contentment you want.

       The power in this approach comes from eliminating all the desires that are not truly yours. The media/business/consumerism teaches us that we need more stuff or better stuff – that’s the way they make money. But those are false teachings. We don’t really need a car that can go 0 to 60 in 4 seconds flat or that can parallel park itself. We don’t need a house with marble countertops, vaulted ceilings, closets as big as a bedroom, and an Olympic size swimming pool.

       The truth is our needs are much simpler than what our consumer-driven economy would like us to realize. And we don’t find contentment or happiness in having more than what we truly need. Yes, those things may be “nice”, but they aren’t necessary for happiness and they won’t make you content. Focusing your life around getting nice things will distract you from finding true contentment.

       Our lives don’t consist of the abundance of the things we own (Luke 12:15). Happiness is not found in what we own, and contentment cannot be achieved by having more. Finding satisfaction in having our needs met allows us to find the balance between what we have and what we desire.

       When we define contentment as “when what you have fulfills what you desire”, anyone can achieve it. It’s a straightforward idea of contentment that’s really not all that difficult to accomplish.

       But when I talk about contentment in Christ, I’m talking about a different kind of contentment. By contentment in Christ I mean being satisfied with what you have in any situation. I mean that Christ fulfills all your needs and all your desires. And finding contentment in Christ is the key to true contentment – peace and satisfaction in all circumstances.

Stay Tuned!

       Next week, I’m going to discuss contentment in Christ – what it means, why it’s possible, and the power it has over the world. Be sure to sign up for free updates to Provident Planning if you don’t want to miss it!

       As always, I’m interested in hearing your thoughts. So please leave a comment below and let me know what you think!

       Last week, we looked at Abram’s example of tithing. The tithe he gave was only from spoils of war and not from any of his own possessions. We also have no other example of Abraham tithing or continuing to tithe in the rest of Genesis. Today, we’re going to look at Jacob’s example of tithing, which is also very different from tithing in the Mosaic Law and tithing as it is taught today.

A Conditional Tithe

       After Issac sent Jacob to find a wife for himself, Jacob slept at Luz. While he was sleeping, he dreamed about “Jacob’s ladder” where angels were walking up and down a stairway that went from earth to heaven. It was during this dream that God promised to bless Jacob with numerous descendants, to keep him safe, to bring him back to the land he was in, and to give him that land. We’ll pick up with Jacob’s response that next morning:

       18 Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil on its top. 19 He called the name of that place Bethel, but the name of the city was Luz at the first. 20 Jacob vowed a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and clothing to put on, 21 so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, and Yahweh will be my God, 22 then this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, will be God’s house. Of all that you will give me I will surely give the tenth to you.”

Genesis 28:18-22 (WEB)

       Besides Abram’s example, this is the only other place where we see tithing mentioned before the Law of Moses was instituted for Israel. Just as Abram’s example is never used as a basis for tithing in the Bible, neither is Jacob’s example used to justify tithing. I also haven’t heard many people using Jacob’s example to justify tithing in today’s church – probably because it would go against everything else they try to teach about tithing (i.e., all Christians must do it, it must be the first 10% before anything else, etc.).

       After God promises to bless and protect Jacob, Jacob doesn’t respond by promising a tithe that resembles the tithe in the Law of Moses. Jacob promises to give a tenth to God if, and only if, God first keeps His promise and blesses Jacob. How many people do you hear teaching this Scripture when they talk about tithing? No one who believes tithing is a requirement for Christians would teach that you can decide to tithe only if God blesses you first.

       God did not ask for a tenth from Jacob – Jacob decided to give it on his own and only if God actually blessed him. We know that God indeed blessed Jacob as He had promised, but it is interesting that we never see any further mention of tithing in Jacob’s life.

Whom Would Jacob Have Given His Tithe?

       Jacob’s tithe also differs from the tithe in Mosaic Law because there was no priesthood established during Jacob’s time. There was no temple to worship and sacrifice at and there were no priests or temple workers to support with the tithe. To whom would Jacob have given the tenth he promised to God?

       God would not have taken it directly from Jacob. He had no need for it. However, we know that hospitality to strangers was a large part of the culture during Jacob’s time and would have indicated good character. We can also imagine that Jacob would have given his tithe to the poor and needy. But we have no indication that Jacob had a church or priests to give his tithe to, and so we have no examples before the Mosaic Law for tithing as we understand it today.

       Neither Abram’s example or Jacob’s example of tithing correlate to the tithe as it is described in the Law of Moses or to tithing as it is taught today. When these examples are examined in their context, it’s clear that they do not support the concept of a tithe as the first 10% of your increase (or income) as many understand it today.

Stay Tuned!

       I’ll continue to examine tithing as it is described in the Bible as I complete this series. If you’re interested in learning what the Bible says about tithing, then make sure you get free updates to Provident Planning so you don’t miss an article. If you have any questions or comments, please share them below. I always look forward to hearing from you all!

       Your estate plan can be helped or hurt by the choices you make in your beneficiary designations. Life insurance and retirement accounts are the most common assets that allow beneficiary designations (and thereby avoid probate, an expensive and drawn out court process). Avoid these costly mistakes to make sure your beneficiary designations don’t undermine your estate plan.

Naming Your Estate As Beneficiary (or Not Naming Anyone)

       The advantage of being able to name beneficiaries for your life insurance and retirement accounts is that those assets won’t have to go through probate. But if you name your estate as the beneficiary or you fail to name any beneficiaries at all, then those assets must go through probate. Why’s this a bad thing? First, the assets can become subject to the claim of your creditors or your heirs’ creditors. Second, retirement accounts will be subject to accelerated income taxes and your heirs lose the tax advantages of those accounts. And third, your estate expenses will be higher. Avoid these consequences by naming individuals or trusts as your beneficiaries.

Naming Minors as Beneficiaries

       Depending on state laws, minors can only inherit very limited amounts until they turn 18 or 21. If you name a minor as a beneficiary, the court will appoint a guardian to control and invest the assets until the child reaches the appropriate age. At that time, they get to inherit all of the assets at once, which can create additional problems. All of this means increased costs and less control. If there’s a chance that you’ll have minors for heirs, then set up trusts for the minors. You’ll get to choose the trustee and can include additional terms governing the payout after they reach the age of majority. Then designate the trusts as your beneficiaries.

Misspelling Names and Other Errors

       Simple mistakes can cause huge headaches later on. Make sure you get the spelling of all names correct and use the right Social Security numbers (if necessary). You don’t want your assets going to just anyone.

Assuming Your Will Overrides Your Beneficiary Designations

       Beneficiary designations always trump your will (with one exception). Don’t assume all of your assets will pass according to the terms of your will. Life insurance and retirement accounts pass by beneficiary designation, and jointly owned assets (with rights of survivorship) automatically pass to the joint owner. Make sure your beneficiary designations are in accordance with your wishes.

       The exception I mentioned? By law, spouses are first in line to receive retirement account assets. If you want someone else to inherit those accounts, you must have your spouse sign a written waiver or the beneficiary designation will be deemed invalid at your death.

Failing to Name Secondary Beneficiaries

       If your primary beneficiary is deceased, then the assets would go to your secondary beneficiaries. If you haven’t named any, you’ll end up with the first problem I noted above (no beneficiary named – goes to your estate). Take the time to include secondary beneficiaries when naming your beneficiaries.

Failing to Update Your Beneficiary Designations

       Failing to update your beneficiary designations after major life events can result in unintended distributions. For example, an ex-spouse could end up with your life insurance proceeds. There are other situations that could occur if you don’t update your beneficiary designations for marriage, divorce, loss of a spouse, loss of a child, or other major life changes.

Failing to Review Your Beneficiary Designations

       By reviewing your beneficiary designations annually, you can avoid many of the mistakes mentioned above while ensuring your beneficiary designations are still in alignment with your wishes and overall estate plan. Check with your insurance and investment companies every year to find out the beneficiaries on record for your accounts and update them when necessary.

Stay Tuned for More Money Saving Tips!

       Making sure you have the right beneficiary designations is just one important piece of your total financial plan. Sign up for free updates to Provident Planning if you’re interested in avoiding mistakes in other areas of personal finance as well!

The Benefits of Premarital Counseling

Corey —  November 12, 2009

Paul & Michelle

       My wife, Michelle, and I went through six premarital counseling sessions with the pastor who conducted our wedding ceremony and his wife. I thought I’d share some of my thoughts about why premarital counseling is a good idea. There are many benefits, and I’m sure I won’t cover them all. But here are at least some of the benefits of premarital counseling.

Setting Expectations

       Will you have children? If so, how many? Will both of you work or just one? Where will you live? Who will be in charge of which chores? How much personal time will you give each other? Some of these questions may seem like they can wait until later, and many couples don’t discuss these things until after the wedding. It’s good to thoroughly discuss your expectations as early as possible before you’re actually married so you can prepare for what lies ahead. By talking about these things early on, you avoid the problem of misunderstandings and misconceptions later on.

Compatibility

       Sure you’re in love, and you feel like you’re on top of the world after your engagement. But it’s highly unlikely that you and your future spouse are completely compatible in every aspect of your personalities, habits, viewpoints, and goals. Premarital counseling helps you identify the areas where you may be incompatible. Once you bring these issues to light, you can discuss them deeper and determine if there are any deal breakers. While it may not be fun, calling the wedding off now is much easier and better than a divorce in a few years.

Communication

Wisdom of Trees by lepiaf.geo on Flickr       Good communication is essential to a successful marriage. (I’d say it’s right up there with love. 😉 ) During premarital counseling, you’ll learn a little more about each other’s communication styles and discuss methods for effective communication. These techniques will greatly improve your chances of having good communication during marriage and your happiness as well.

Conflict Resolution

       Related to the communication issue is conflict resolution. When problems arise, and they will, how will you work together to solve them? How will you deal with each other when you have a heated argument? Premarital counseling will teach you ways to successfully resolve conflicts and help you set ground rules that you both agree to before any problems arise.

Intimacy

Bride & Groom Kiss by jonathanb1989 on Flickr       If you and your spouse have saved yourselves for marriage, you’ll want to understand each other’s intimacy expectations and comfort levels prior to your wedding night. It may be an awkward conversation to have with a premarital counselor, but again, setting expectations is key. Even if you have had sex before marriage, it’s important to discuss your expectations during marriage. Hopefully, you would have already discussed any past relationships, but if not this would be the time to bring them up. Skeletons in the closet can create disastrous problems in your marriage. Your pride is not worth the possibility of ruining an otherwise happy marriage.

Long-term Goals

       Another major area to discuss is your long-term goals. What are your career prospects and how will this affect your marriage? When do you want to retire? How do you envision your lifestyle together? What are your most important goals? By discussing these questions prior to marriage, you can avoid finding out that your goals are not aligned at all. Most couples will have discussed these things before setting a wedding date, but they’re still important enough to cover once more.

What Does Premarital Counseling Have to Do with Personal Finance?

       One major area of discussion is finances. You’ll talk about responsibilities and budgeting as well as any other financial issues that may be pertinent. Other topics may include your financial history, freedom to purchase items without your spouse’s approval, and your financial views. Preparing for your finances before marriage will help alleviate stress about money—often noted as one of the main causes of divorce. It will also help set you up for a successful financial future, since a budget and financial compatibility will form a strong foundation for finances in your marriage.

       Additionally, research has shown that premarital counseling reduces the chance of divorce by 30%. Divorce can wreak havoc on your emotions and your finances, so any steps you can take to avoid it are good financial moves indeed. While premarital counseling can’t guarantee you won’t end up getting a divorce, the training in communication and conflict resolution and the discussion of expectations, compatibility, intimacy, goals, and finances will definitely help you deal with some of the main causes of divorce. It also gives you a chance to commit to each other that divorce is not an option – strengthening your marriage and encouraging you to work all things out together rather than seeking separation.

The Bride and Groom by Clav on Flickr       I highly recommend all couples go through premarital counseling before the wedding. If you’re going to spend so much time planning for your wedding day, it makes sense to take a little time to plan for a successful marriage to last the rest of your lives!

Called Together

       I would highly recommend using the same book we did if you’re going through premarital counseling. Most counselors will have their own recommendations, but if yours doesn’t you should check out Called Together. You’ll need two copies (one for each of you), but they’re only $13.86 a piece (or cheaper if you buy used).

What Is Contentment?

Corey —  November 11, 2009

       What is contentment? What does it mean to be content? I wondered how it’s defined in the dictionary, so I looked it up. It says contentment is “the state of being contented; satisfaction”. Not much help, so I looked up content. It means “satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting anything else”. So then I checked the dictionary for satisfied, and I found “to have one’s desires, expectations, needs, or demands fulfilled”. So let’s start with a working definition of contentment as “when what you have fulfills what you desire”.

       Let’s visualize discontentment:

Discontentment - What You Desire Outweighs What You Have

       Whenever your desires outweigh what you have, you’ll find yourself in a state of discontentment. You won’t be happy with your situation because you won’t feel satisfied. Contentment begins when what you desire is equal to (or even less than) what you have:

Contentment - What You Desire Equals What You Have

       Contentment comes when you no longer crave or desire anything you don’t already have. It’s not just the passive acceptance of your situation. It’s a conscious choice to enjoy, appreciate, and accept what you have while giving up the cravings for the things you don’t have.

       Contentment will not come by waiting for it to appear. It requires you to assess your current situation and decide if that’s enough for you or if you want more. If you never take the time to really consider what you need to be content, you’ll never know if you’ve found contentment or not.

       This idea of contentment has powerful implications for those who choose to follow Christ. We’re going to discuss that in much more detail next week when we look at how to find contentment.

       I’m going to stop here today, and let you have your say. What is contentment? How do you define it? How do you know when you have it? What do you need to be content? Leave your thoughts in a comment below, and stay tuned for next week when we’ll talk about how to find contentment!

The Basics of Auto Insurance

Corey —  November 10, 2009

definitive car by fooosco on Flickr       If you’re interested in the basics of auto insurance and how you can save some money on your policy, you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to take a quick look at the coverages available under an auto insurance policy and how much you need.

Liability

       This section includes bodily injury liability and property damage liability for yourself and any uninsured or underinsured drivers who hit you. Bodily injury liability covers the damages you cause to other people. The coverage will pay for their medical bills and lost income up to the limits. The coverage limits are usually listed as $XXX,XXX/$XXX,XXX – the first number is the maximum payout for any one person’s injuries and the second number is the maximum payout for all people involved in a single accident. I recommend you get coverage of $100,000/$300,000 for your bodily injury liability.

       Property damage liability covers the cost to repair or replace someone else’s property that you damage in an accident. This is not limited to cars only but covers any kind of property. For example, if you crash into someone’s house, then your property damage liability coverage will pay for the repairs to their home. I recommend you get at least a $50,000 limit with this coverage, but $100,000 is better if that’s available to you.

       These same types of coverages apply to the uninsured and underinsured motorist options. The uninsured and underinsured coverages pay for the damages caused by others who either have no insurance or too little to cover all the costs. You should get the same amounts for these as you do for your own bodily injury and property damage liability coverage.

       Don’t skimp on these coverages because you want to save money. The state minimums will rarely be adequate if you cause an accident. You’d be surprised how little it costs to increase these coverage amounts.

Medical Payments, Personal Injury Protection, or First Party Benefits

       This coverage may go by various names depending on your state and insurance company, but they all mean essentially the same thing. These coverages pay for the medical expenses and lost wages you or your passengers suffer after an accident. Some states require this coverage, but most do not.

       If you have health insurance and disability insurance, there’s hardly any need for this coverage. The coverage amounts are generally insufficient unless you choose the most expensive options. So if your state requires this coverage but you’ve got decent health insurance and disability insurance, then choose the least expensive option available.

Collision and Comprehensive

       Collision coverage pays for damages to your vehicle caused by collisions with another vehicle or stationary object. Obviously, this applies to situations where you are at fault and have damages to your own vehicle. (If someone else is at fault, their liability coverage will pay for your damages.) If repairing your vehicle is not reasonable (above a certain % of the car’s value), then the insurance company will declare it “totaled” and pay you the cash value of your vehicle. Their valuation of your vehicle may be quite different from what you think it’s worth. Collision does not cover anything covered by comprehensive.

       Comprehensive coverage pays for damages to your vehicle caused by fire, theft, vandalism, hail, windstorm, riot, falling objects, flood, collision with an animal, or other events included in your policy contract. Each claim that falls under your collision or comprehensive coverage will be subject to a deductible. An easy way to save money on your insurance costs is to increase the deductible on these coverages. Just make sure you have enough money in your emergency fund to cover the higher deductible. (Yet another reason to have enough in your emergency fund!)

       If your vehicle is older, it may not be worth carrying collision and comprehensive coverage. Consumer Reports recommends dropping the coverage if the premium you pay for this coverage (check your insurance policy statement) is more than 10% of the book value of the vehicle. You can get a good estimate of the book value by using the private party value on Kelley Blue Book. For example, if your car is worth $5,000 according to Kelley Blue Book and your comprehensive and collision coverage costs more than $500/year, you should drop it.

The Extra Stuff

       Insurance companies offer a variety of extra options for auto insurance. These include rental reimbursement, towing and labor, and gap coverage. However, with an adequate emergency fund, you would be better off declining all forms of these special coverages. You’re better off saving your money for those emergencies than paying for such coverage.

The Top Tip for Saving Money on Your Auto Insurance

       The best way to save money on your auto insurance is to shop around every couple years. Auto insurance rates are always changing, and you may be able to get a better deal with a different company due to competition. You can do a simple search online using InsWeb to get quotes from multiple companies. If you want a quote from Geico, Progressive, or Esurance, you’ll have to go directly to their web sites.

       If you find a cheaper quote but don’t want to switch insurance companies, give your insurance company a call and let them know you’re shopping around. Tell them the insurance company you got the quote from and how much you were quoted. They may be willing to offer you a lower rate in an attempt to keep your business.

       If you have any questions, comments, or tips for saving money on auto insurance, please leave them below. Thanks!

       18 Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine: and he was priest of God Most High. 19 He blessed him, and said, “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth: 20 and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” Abram gave him a tenth of all.

Genesis 14:18-20 (WEB)

       Genesis 14:20 is the first time the tithe (or “tenth”) is mentioned in the Bible. This passage is often used to show that tithing is a moral law that preceded the Mosaic Law. As such, tithing is to be considered an eternal principle that was not replaced by the New Covenant after Jesus’ death. Let’s examine this passage to see what the Bible says about tithing here.

The Whole Story

       Let’s first look at the rest of the story surrounding those three verses. The first part of chapter 14 explains that five kings who ruled in the area near the Dead Sea rebelled against a king from the North (in Mesopotamia) and his three allies. The four kings from the North defeated the five kings from around the Dead Sea. The five kings fled and verse 11 picks up with what the four kings from the North did after winning the war:

       11 They took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their food, and went their way. 12 They took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who lived in Sodom, and his goods, and departed. 13 One who had escaped came and told Abram, the Hebrew. Now he lived by the oaks of Mamre, the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner; and these were allies of Abram.

       14 When Abram heard that his relative was taken captive, he led out his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued as far as Dan. 15 He divided himself against them by night, he and his servants, and struck them, and pursued them to Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus. 16 He brought back all the goods, and also brought back his relative, Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.

       17 The king of Sodom went out to meet him, after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, at the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). 18 Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine: and he was priest of God Most High. 19 He blessed him, and said, “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth: 20 and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” Abram gave him a tenth of all.

       21 The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people, and take the goods to yourself.” 22 Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have lifted up my hand to Yahweh, God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, 23 that I will not take a thread nor a sandal strap nor anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’ 24 I will accept nothing from you except that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men who went with me: Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre. Let them take their portion.”

Genesis 14:11-24 (WEB)

Abram Gave Only from the Spoils of War

       It’s clear from reading the entire passage that the “tenth” that Abram gave Melchizedek came only from the spoils of war (in verse 16) and not from Abram’s personal wealth or income. Abram only took his trained men out to war, and he only brought back the things the kings from the North took in verses 11 and 12. Therefore, we know that the tenth that Abram gave to Melchizedek had to come from the spoils of war. This idea is also backed up in Hebrews:

       Now consider how great this man was, to whom even Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth out of the best spoils.

Hebrews 7:4 (WEB)

       It’s clear that this does not set a precedent for the Israelites. Abram’s example was never used in Scripture to justify tithing to the Levites or tithing from spoils of war (both are included in the Law).

Abram Gave the Rest to the King of Sodom

       In verse 21, the king of Sodom offers to let Abram keep the rest of the spoils of war except for the people. But Abram refuses and tells the king of Sodom to give his allies their portion and keep the rest for himself. Abram refused to keep anything for himself because God had already promised to bless him. When Abram became rich, he wanted everyone to know that it came only from God and not from pagan kings.

       If Abram’s example is supposed to serve as an example for Christians, then we would be giving away everything – well, at least the spoils of war that is. But this portion of the story is hardly discussed when using Abram’s example to support the idea of a tithe for Christians.

Abram Only Tithed Once

       As far as we know, this is the only time Abram ever gave a “tenth” or “tithe” to anyone for any reason. No other place in Scripture records Abram tithing to God or any representatives of God. Abram may have helped the poor in other ways, but he didn’t seem to make a habit of tithing.

Abram’s Example Was Never Used for Christian Giving

       Finally, if Abram’s example was intended to set a precedent for Christian giving or tithing, then it seems logical that we would have found an emphasis on it in the New Testament after Christ’s death. However, neither Paul nor Peter nor James nor John seemed to think Abram’s example of a tithe was relevant to Christian giving. Instead, New Testament Scriptures emphasize the importance of giving out of love and giving according to the Holy Spirit’s leading. And I don’t know about you, but I’ve never taken my spoils of war to church.

       It seems strange that we should break from the teaching of Jesus or the Apostles to enforce tithing as a Christian rule simply from Abram’s example in Genesis 14.

Tithing in the Bible Series

       This article is the first in a series that will examine tithing as it is presented in Scripture. If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, I suggest you sign up for free updates to Provident Planning. I’ve also completed a series on the giving principles outlined in the New Covenant.

       If you have questions or comments, please take a minute to leave them below!