Everyone who assembles with the church on Sunday mornings is familiar with the collection plate being passed around in order to collect the contribution for that week. Many members put different amounts into the collection plate each week, while others have a set amount that they set aside for that purpose. It is required that we give to God our monetary blessings as a way to thank Him for all He has given us. However, are we, as Christians, giving enough? God, who has always told His children exactly what he expects from them, also has clear instructions on how much they should give back to Him in the weekly contribution. The New Testament does not command that we tithe, however I believe that those who live under the “better covenant” (Hebrews 7:22) will want to go beyond the standard of the Old Covenant. Let’s look to God’s Word to see how He wants us to give.
First of all, why should we give? Everything we have and even our very beings belong to God. We are His, because He created us (Genesis 1:26), and redeemed us (Ephesians 1:7). Since everything we have is on loan by God, then it only makes sense that we should give some of the things He has given to us back to Him in appreciation. God sees us as stewards to everything He has created for us. And as stewards, we will have to give an account of how we used the things God has given us on Christ’s Return. If we are not serving God as we need to be, then we are serving Satan (Matthew 6:24). One way that God requires us to serve Him is through giving (1 Corinthians 16:1-2).
So, how are we to give? God wants us to give willingly (2 Corinthians 8:12). If we are reluctant to part with our money or we begrudge giving, then it is better that we do not give at all. Secondly, we should give with purpose, meaning that we should give much thought to the amount that we give back to the Lord. This means that we should set aside a certain amount of our income solely for the purpose of giving it to God on Sunday morning. I know of some Christians who wait to see how much they have with them on Sunday morning before deciding how much they want to give. Those who only think about how much money they are going to give on Sunday morning right before or during the passing of the collection plate, are being selfish because they have put themselves first all week instead of thinking of what God wants. Next, we are to give cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:6-15). We should always be happy to sacrifice our assets in order to show gratitude to God.
We should also give frequently, meaning every Sunday. A person can give money to help those in need on his own time, but it’s always best to let God have the credit for the giving, which is through the church (1 Corinthians 10:13) We should also give individually, meaning if a both a husband and wife earn an income, both should make a contribution. Likewise, if both parents and children all earn an income, children who are accountable should give as well. It is also good that parents teach their children at a very early age to give. I think it is so cute when a baby is handed a dollar bill to put into the plate! I think that teaching young ones to give early will help make them cheerful and generous givers as adults!
Now that we have talked about why we should give and what mindset we should have for giving, we will go on to discuss how much to give. The New Testament does not give a percentage (or tithe) that was required to be given as the Old Testament gave during the Mosaic time period. There are many examples in the Old Testament where God was not pleased with anyone who gave less than ten percent of their income (Genesis 14:20; 28:22; Numbers 18:21-24). The most He has ever accepted is 100% (Mark 12:41-44), but we are not required to give that much. In Malachi 3:5-12, those who gave God less than ten percent of their income robbed Him. How much then exactly should we give to God? I believe that somewhere between these two examples, a Christian can find the appropriate level of giving.
The New Testament does not mention a certain amount to give to God. Why would God give those in the Mosaical Age such detailed instructions on giving, but leave those under the New Law in the dark? He didn’t. In Romans 15:4, the Bible states, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” In this we see the principle that if something about an act commanded in the New Testament was not specified in the New Testament, but yet God commanded the same act, such as giving, in the Old Testament, Christians were encouraged to look to the Old Testament for examples of what God wants them to do in that certain situation. As 1 Corinthians 10:11 states, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” By looking at these two verses, the principle is clear that Christians today may look to the great examples of the givers in the Old Testament to know how to be pleasing to God. While the Old Law was nailed to the cross (Colossians 2:14), we can still learn from it, and it can assist us in understanding the New Testament. For example, Paul appealed to the Old Law to establish the principle that one who gives labor in a cause is worthy of his reward for his effort (I Timothy 5:17, Deuteronomy 23:4). We are under a better Covenant now (Hebrews 7:22), and we have greater gifts now than the people of the Old Testament did. I believe we should give more than ten percent, because if we are giving willingly and cheerfully as we ought to, we will want to be as generous as possible.
How can a person work out at least ten percent of his or her income, for example? If a person makes $1,000 a month, he or she might give AT LEAST ten percent of that income every week, which would be $25 a week in months with four Sundays, but it’s best that more than ten percent is given. While it is true that the New Testament sets no percentage as in the tithe under the Old Law, I believe that those who live under the “better covenant” (Hebrews 7:22) will want to go beyond the standard of the Old Covenant. The Old Testament sets ten percent as the bare minimum that a person can give, and the New Testament challenges us to give more than the minimum, much, much more!! (Luke 21:1-4; Acts 2:44-45; 4:34-35; 1 John 3:17-18).
I believe that it is wise for a person to budget his or her income each payday and set aside OVER ten percent of his or her check for God. Making several hundred a week but only giving a few dollars to God is robbing Him, and not pleasing to Him at all! If people give in the mindset they are supposed to give, then there would be no one dollar bills in the plate (given by accountable people) unless they only make $10 a week! I like to think of it this way. If God gave to us the same way we give to Him, would we have all of the blessings that we currently have? That is a question to think about.
It is time for more Christian men and women to put God ahead of themselves, and to teach their children the same principle.