I have a friend who once asked me a question about giving. He’d heard about tithing and asked, “Is this before or after tax?”. At the time the question seemed a little odd, but my friend had recently become a Christian and was keen to “do the right thing”. His question is something all of us need to ask occasionally, “How much should I give?”.
This question about giving often gets to the core of our attitude towards God: “What are my obligations?”. When it comes to following God, C.S. Lewis said, “Our temptation is to look eagerly for the minimum that will be accepted. We are in fact very honest but reluctant taxpayers. We approve of an income tax in principle… We are very careful to pay no more than is necessary. And we hope – we very ardently hope – that after we have paid it there will still be enough left to live on”.
This contrasts with King David’s joyful attitude towards giving. When he gave extravagantly towards the construction of the temple, he prayed to God, “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand” (1 Chronicles 29:14).
We know of God’s generosity even more than David did. We know that God has given us his own Son, Jesus who died for us. Everything we have comes from God, including salvation. We cannot out give him.
This Sunday, we’ll have a finance update at our Sunday services. Church Council has recently approved the budget for 2023, and we’d like to communicate with you the needs of our ministries. We continue to be thankful for God’s provision upon our church. As you prayerfully consider your own giving, please keep in mind the following things.
First, assume that giving is often difficult for you. Money blinds us to its power over us. It’s often our security. We normally think that we don’t have enough. We don’t like to let it go. We need to continually work to detach ourselves from the hold money has on us.
Second, have a plan for your giving. In the Old Testament, the tithe (roughly 10%) was the standard for God’s people. Whilst the New Testament doesn’t give us a rule, 10% should be considered the minimum. We should always ask ourselves, “What are ways I can give beyond this? What are the needs that I see around me?”.
Third, always remember the gospel. God has been overwhelmingly generous to us in Jesus Christ. In him, we have all the riches of an eternal relationship with God. Therefore, God calls on his people to be generous in using the resources he’s given us. It’s a privilege to give to God’s causes.