Monday, September 24, 2012

Mac Graham - Live To Give

PHOTO CREDIT: Mac's LinkedIn profile,

Mac Graham has taken pages from my two favourite books and put them together to teach people about saving for themselves and saving the world.

First off, Mac subscribes to the wildly famous (and smart) principles of The Wealthy Barber...


When learning to manage your money this is one of the key elements we often have trouble learning. Paying yourself first means you take the top 10% of your income and put it into savings. How often do we wait until all of the bills are paid before deciding how much to save? The problem is, there often isn't any left if we choose this method. Paying yourself first means that you have a nest egg, which of course leads to security and that leads to a mindset that allows you to give more freely.

Secondly, Mac is a tither.

tithe  \tīth\

1. a tenth part of something paid as a voluntary contribution or as a tax especially for the support of a religious establishment

The law came through Moses from God, in Leviticus 27:30 we read "A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord". Tithing in biblical ages was not money and in fact, although "tithe" is used 13 times in the Bible (and "tithes", 21 times), money is never associated with it. The system of tithing with money came long after biblical times.

2 Chronicles 31:4-5 reads:  “Moreover he commanded the people who dwelt in Jerusalem to contribute support for the priests and the Levites, that they might devote themselves to the Law of the LORD. As soon as the commandment was circulated, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of grain and wine, oil and honey, and of all the produce of the field; and they brought in abundantly the tithe of everything.

So back to the beginning we see that tithing is a biblical principle and that Merriam-Webster defines it as a support for religious establishments. I can see how the word "tithe" can scare some people off. Searching atheist and agnostic websites I see that MANY MANY MANY of them support what they call either "secular tithing" or "secular giving". Because here's the catch...

We all know, regardless of what we believe, giving to others is incredibly important.

I wrote earlier on how volunteering often gives us more than what we put out when we volunteer. Giving our time, our support and our money are all very important ways of making communities grow and our world a better place.

Christians, Mormons, Catholics et al tithe because they believe it is biblical law. They also tithe because they want to. Not believing in the Bible doesn't mean others don't give, they may just call it something other than "tithe".

So Mac tells us to tithe (or GIVE) the second 10% of our income. You can give it to the church, you can give it to one social agency or 10. The principle is, people who tithe know the benefits. First of all, there are the tax breaks, the Canadian government gives us back close to 36% of what we give. Secondly there are the the goodwill benefits. If you volunteer and realize you get back more than you give wouldn't the same principle apply to monetary giving?

When considering tithing as a teenager someone gave me this illustration:

A man wanted to tithe but he always felt guilty that his tithes were so low, around $10/month. But he faithfully gave 1/10 of his income every month to his church. As time went on, the man became wildly successful in business and eventually he was giving his church $1000/month and then $10,000/month. Unsettled, he went to see his pastor. "Pastor" he said, "I am quite uncomfortable giving such a sheer amount of money to the church every month, it seems so much more than is necessary." And the pastor said to him, "If you feel that giving $10,000, only 1/10 of your income is too much, surely we can ask God to put you back in that place where you were only giving $10."


1. Make it a priority. Giving before you pay your bills can be intimidating at first. Trust that your good works will come back to you (because they will).

2. Focus your giving on charities and causes that you believe in.

3. Don't feel guilty about saying NO when the grocery store clerk asks you to donate $2 to a charitable organization. Those $2 donations add up and could add quite an increase to your regular charitable giving.

4. Make it automatic. Some charities can direct debit your paycheque or bank account (with your authorization, of course) and your bank is usually willing to set up an automatic monthly withdrawl to support charitable causes. Make it easier on yourself when the work is done for you.

5. Make it REGULAR. Charities plan budgets and count on regular giving. Make a pledge to your charity of choice so they can count on your $10, $20 or $1000/month. This allows your charity to make a bigger impact.

6. Small gifts can make a big impact, too. Each week I donate 1 dozen cookies to the café at my place of worship. The cost of 1 dozen cookies doesn't seem like much, in fact it's only about $2.50/week. Added up, that's 130 extra dollars each year that can be set aside for missions. Don't feel that your small donation isn't worth as much as a big one, it adds up over time.

Live to give. It's just one more way we can make a big impact on our world.

**If you've never read The Wealthy Barber, RUN to get it from your local used bookstore, library or a friend. Or check out The Wealthy Barber returns. The books, and their principles, will change the way you look at money. Should be required reading for every person, period.**

*This is part 11 in a series of 15 blogs detailing the amazing projects presented in the world's first ever Ignite Charity: Waterloo. For more info on Ignite Charity visit and follow the conversation on twitter @IgniteCharity.

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