"And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’" (Acts 20:35). Giving is just a part of our responsibilities as a disciple of Christ. The question is often asked, "How much should I give?" Unlike the Old Testament practice of tithing, there is no specific amount given for Christians in the New Testament. Instead, we are governed by principles. Consider the following when choosing how much to give.1. As We May Prosper. "On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come" (1 Cor. 16:2). The amount we give should vary in proportion to how much we have made that week. If we have earned more, we should give more.
2. Bountifully. "But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully" (2 Cor. 9:6). Bible giving requires bountiful giving. We should be generous and liberal in our giving, looking to see how much we can give, not how little we can get by with giving.
3. As We Purpose In Our Heart. "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). Bible giving is planned giving, not putting in what is left over after bills are paid and we’ve had our fun for the weekend. God wants our offering to be an expression of the heart, not a cold, calculated figure.
4. Cheerfully. (2 Cor. 9:7) God is not made better by anything that we give Him. If our attitude is that we would rather have the money to spend on ourselves we would do better to keep it in our pocket until we can learn to give from a cheerful and grateful heart.
5. Sacrificially. "And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, ‘Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had’" (Luke 21:1-4). This widow knew the meaning of sacrifice. She gave more because her gift cost her more than it cost the others. She gave her "grocery money, rent, utilities, etc." She would have to go without because of her gift. The others gave from their surplus.
David understood the meaning of sacrifice. When he is arranging to buy a threshing floor in order to make an offering to the Lord, the owner of the floor offers to give it to him—a noble and generous gesture. But David replies, "No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing" (2 Sam. 24:24). Do we have the right to call what we give a sacrifice? Are we doing without because of our giving, or are we giving out of our surplus?
Let us carefully and prayerfully consider both the amount and manner in which we give back to the Lord.