By Edd Sterchi
I don’t know how many times I have had someone come up to me and ask, “How much should I be giving?” That’s always a tough question to answer, for it is indeed dependent upon many things.
Under the Old Law, the tithe was the standard giving amount for the faithful child of God. This consisted of ten percent of the gross amount of one’s produce and/or earnings (cf. Lev. 27:30-32; Deut. 24:32). But the Old Law was nailed to the cross, and we are no longer bound by those regulations (Col. 2:14).
Under the New Covenant, Christians are to give, to make their offering to God, in an individual, regular, predetermined, and proportional manner (see 1 Cor. 16:2 as an example of all of these). But that still does not answer the question of how much of one’s income one is supposed to give. Is it 5%, 10%, 25%, etc.? In actuality, everybody’s situation varies so much that God has left it up to each person to determine the amount to give. But we also need to note this: God knows when we do not give the proper amount or with the proper attitude.
Too many times we may look at giving as determining the smallest amount we can get away with, or possibly discovering what spare change or small bills we can find in our pocket, purse, or wallet. Maybe we should look at it as determining how much we can give back to God. Given that thought, here are some guidelines for generous giving:
* Give as much as you want to receive back from the Lord. In Luke 6:38, Jesus told His disciples that they would receive back from God in direct proportion to how much they gave (see also 2 Cor 9:6). So look at giving to God as a “down payment” on the blessings you will receive from Him.
* Give as much as you love the Lord and His people. The Macedonian brethren are set forth as an example of generous giving in 2 Cor. 8:1-5. Even in their poverty, they gave abundantly, because they loved God and knew that their giving was a part of fellowshiping with His people. So look at giving to God as a demonstration of your love and appreciation for Him and what He has done for you.
* Give as much as you want to see the Lord’s church do. In 2 Cor. 9:8-14, the Corinthian Christians are commended for their generous giving which helped the work of the church, specifically in the spreading of the gospel and in benevolence to the needy. So look at giving as a declaration of what you would like to see this congregation of the Lord’s church do in His name.
It is also important to note that we can and should give of our time and talents as well as of our treasure to the Lord. But when it comes down to the giving of our means that the Lord has blessed us with, remember that our giving is a down payment on future blessings from God, a demonstration of our passion for Him, and a declaration of how influential we want His church to be.“So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor.9:7)
- Edd Sterchi preaches for the Broadway Church of Christ in Campbellsville, KY. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.broadwaychurchofchrist.net/