HOW MUCH SHOULD ONE GIVE AND BE PLEASING TO THE LORD?
This is a very important question. Many think that one should give whatever they have left in their pocket, some believe that their giving should be based upon the 10% rule as outlined in the Old Testament. However, when we look at what they did in the Old Testament, is 10% right? Under the Mosaical law there were three types of giving: 1 tithe - the one most familiar with is the priestly tithe. In Lev. 27:30-33 is states, “And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD'S: it is holy unto the LORD. And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof. And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD. He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.” Now, this was not 10% of a paycheck. It was 10% of everything. 2 tithe - is the tithe to eat with the family and Levites (Deut 14:22-23). 3 tithe - is to support the poor and the Levitical priesthood (Deut. 14:28-29). So each year, the Jews gave 20% of everything they received this would include anything for birthdays, holidays, etc . . . On top of that, every 3rd year they would give another 10%.
But, what about today in the church, how much should we give? Well, I know of a congregation who only has 29 members (less than ½ of our membership), where 90% of the congregation is retired and no longer works. Of that 90%, most of them use to be farmers. Their contribution was 1,300 each and every week which they exceeded for a weekly average of 1410 a week. I know another congregation that has taken a mortgage out on everything that they have: namely, the building because what good is it to have a $150,000 or $500,000 building with no mortgage? They believe that the money for their building could be best spent making the building larger, or giving to missionaries or having a real solid food pantry. Therefore, each week, they have to make payments on the building.
So, how much are we to give? We are to be giving as much as possible because God loves a cheerful giver! Instead of counting pennies to up to a usual 2% (which is what many congregations usually give), try tossing your pocketbook in the collection plate and see what good it does. This is what the poor widow did in Mk. 12:41-44 who gave all she had. We are to give so that the church will grow. I get letters and emails on almost a daily basis from Christians who need help. I have had request for song books, bibles, paper and shoes because the members are tired of having blisters on their feet daily, missionaries who are constantly unfunded and starving, devoted Chrsitians who want to go to a preaching school and preach the Gospel all over the world. Without an abundance of funds, we cannot do any of these things except, keep house. And our Lord never wanted us to do that!
Now, many will whine like a two year old stating that they are little and cannot do what other congregations do. But, this is just an excuse. God is not fooled!
Christians often forget that the church has a great responsibility to help the poor, the orphans, and those who are in our community to teach them the Gospel which takes money. If we spent as much money on evangelism as we do our toys, our gardens and our nicknacks, the whole world would have been completely evangelized years ago.
Alas, giving must be voluntary. Notice 2 Cor. 9:5-7, “Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness. But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” Look at 1 Cor. 16:1-2, “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” And, since we worship on Sunday evening, we should also at least offer the collection on Sunday evening unless we are saying that Sunday evening worship is not the same and Sunday morning worship. Worship is worship and it would be terrible if the Lord came on Tuesday and you explained to Him that you forgot to give Sunday morning and that you would just wait until next Sunday to give, but the next Sunday never came.
It is through poor giving that we see a poor attitude in the Christian. Read Mal. 3:7-10, “Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. Giving poorly, mars the fellowship between God and ourselves. Let us all give cheerfully and not make excuses of why we cannot give much.