When considering this topic of giving I want you to know the logic really is as follows: First, everything begins in the MIND — The Why! Should I be generous? Does God care? What is the theology behind tithing? Did Jesus speak to such things? Though we believe tithing is a matter better left for you to reason out with your Maker, I do feel a responsibility to remind you of a few important things concerning giving:
Giving is a matter of obedience… The Bible is clear that God instructs His people to give of their firstfruits. Not only have we seen this idea consistently repeated throughout the Book of Leviticus, but Jesus commanded in Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
Giving is a matter of stewardship… Keep in mind the core idea behind giving of the firstfruits was to practically acknowledge Who actually yielded the entire harvest. You see giving the first 10% helps you remember you’re to be a good steward of all God has given. Proverbs 3:9-10, “Honor the LORD with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.”
Giving is a matter of faith… In the end the great challenge and discipline in giving 10% is whether or not you really believe God can do more with 90% than you can with 100! Malachi 3:10, “‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,’ Says the LORD of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.” Giving is such an important indicator about a person and where they are spiritually we’re told in Proverbs 37:21 it’s “the righteous” who “gives generously.” Jesus builds off this idea when He said in Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Secondly, if the logic begins in the MIND (The Why) and you find yourself convinced this is something you need to make apart of your life, it’ll naturally move to being an issue of the WILL — The How! Once you’ve determined the need now you have to figure out an effective mechanism that will enable you to develop the discipline of giving faithfully. Admittedly, this is where some of us have a leg up. For those who are super organized and have their financial affairs in order the discipline of writing a check or sending off your tithe using the Square Cash App is easy. And yet, for others the issue with giving is not one of the MIND — instead the challenge centers on the WILL.
In Romans 7:18-19 the Apostle Paul writes, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.” If you received your Giving Statement and your immediate reaction was “I could have swore I gave way more than that” or if it was something to the effect of “I can’t believe I totally failed doing something I actually wanted to do” you have two options: (1) Figure out a method that works, or (2) Set up a recurring donation using PayPal or Bill Pay.
Finally, once the issue of giving has moved from the MIND and the WILL it always ends up being a matter of the HEART — The Amount! While the Bible presents 10% as a wonderful staring place, God is much more concerned with you being generous no matter the specific amount. You see the chief consideration you need to make when deciding an amount is what’s ultimately motivating your generosity.
In 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 Paul says, “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” You see in the end giving in a matter of worship. Giving is a response to God’s grace and His goodness. It’s one of the few gifts we have to give the Grand Giver of all.
Friend, it is the legalist that grows consumed with the amount one gives for grace demands no recompense nor does it establish a limit as to how one might respond. If you feel compelled to give because you’re trying to get something from God or you feel obligated and guilty if you don’t… If you find yourself consumed with an amount or for that matter a percentage, keep your money because you’ve completely missed the point!
However, if giving is motivated as a response to God’s incredible Gift — a Gift you could never repay — then the amount matters not for what could you ever give that would compare to all Jesus has given you! You see the person who really gets it realizes the key to giving isn’t a percentage of your income you decide to give back to God, but rather a percentage of all that He’s given you decide to keep for yourself!
In a famous sermon Charles Spurgeon develops this thought in a way only he could… “It is noteworthy that, with regard to Christian liberty, there are no rules laid down in the Word of God. I remember hearing somebody say, “I should like to know exactly what I ought to give.” Yes, dear friend, no doubt you would; but you are not under a system similar to that by which the Jews were obliged to pay tithes to the priests. If there were any such rule laid down in the gospel, it would destroy the beauty of spontaneous giving, and take away all the bloom from the fruit of your liberality. There is no law to tell me what I should give my father on his birthday; there is no rule laid down in any law-book to decide what present a husband should make to his wife, nor what token of affection we should bestow upon others whom we love. No; the gift must be a free one, or it has lost all its sweetness. Yet this absence of law and rule does not mean that you are therefore to give less than the Jews did, but rather that you shall give more… We should give as we love. You know how much Jesus Christ loved by knowing how much He gave. He gave himself for us because He loved us with all the force and energy of His nature… I commend to you that rule, — give as you love, and measure your love by your gift.”