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The Case for Tithing

Landon's Money Musings Newsletter: June 2024

A marble arch above sliced citrus fruits

Whenever we're out, my little son will ask me, "Are we close to home?" A few blocks, a few neighborhoods, a few states - are we close to home? My answer, that it depends what you compare it to, doesn't land with him.

The first ten times I was asked, "How much should I give to charity?" I had the same reaction. I hesitated to give any answer since it's completely subjective.

But as Query Capital's intake process has become more robust, I have the opportunity to ask this question first: "Do you have any practices or goals around giving?" The resounding answer is that my clients either give or wish to give 10% of their income.


Of course, the tithe (i.e. tenth) has its roots in Judeochristian obligations to give the church "the firstfruits of grain and wine, oil and honey, and of all the produce of the field... the tithe of everything." 2 Chronicles 31:5

Despite these Bible-y origins, plenty of non-religious people see 10% as a good benchmark for giving in general. Now that I realize that the ancient vibe and round number just feels right, I'm on board.


There are many motivations for giving. We might give for progress, in gratitude, in generosity. We might give to atone, to sacrifice, to worship. We might give to belong, for importance in this life, or to be remembered when we’re gone.

Sharing is a gift in itself, a natural impulse in children and adults alike. Making a practice of it brings us, as Alden would say, closer to home.

A man holding a map in a field of grass looks happily into the distance.

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