Giving has been a wonderful blessing and honor for Jennifer and me. We haven’t always put God first in our lives. We put our own financial priorities before the Lord in the past. Thankfully, we both decided to take that step of faith and begin tithing consistently about 5 years ago. I know the blessing has come in many forms and not necessarily financially. The best blessing comes from our trust and faith in God and knowing that he will be provide for our needs.
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. - Matthew 6:31-33
Today my pastor shared a sermon on giving and provided 3 options to give -
Tithe: He challenged people to consistently give 10% for 4 months. The tithe is Old Testament law and the law was affirmed by Jesus in the New Testament. 10% is a good place to start and it’s easy to calculate (10% of gross income divided by 12).
First Steps: If you’re struggling with tithing or just don’t feel like you can make the 10% commitment just yet, he challenged people to give X%. In other words, he asked that people pray about how much to give and simply get started giving something even if it’s below the 10% tithe.
I love the first steps approach. I think this works for many people who are struggling with giving. Honestly, I believe a first step will lead to 10% or more. It’s a baby step and I believe when people experience God’s blessing through their generosity they won’t turn back!
Above & Beyond: This is the next step after the tithe and for someone who feels God is calling them to give even more to His kingdom. My pastor told a story of a missionary who just couldn’t give the Tithe. The missionary felt it was the least he could do to give God 20% of his income. Wow! This missionary trusted God so much and he was so thankful for everything God had done for him that he gave to the point of this amazing faith!
If you’ve read my manifesto, you know that true financial freedom for me is about generosity and stewardship (managing our resources for God). True riches are found in God and not acquiring more money.
Is now a good time to give if you’re not already doing so? As we approach the holidays and Christmas, this is a great time to start giving or perhaps extending giving further. Why not make a new commitment in one of these areas for just 4 months as my pastor suggested? Remember that God gives generously so we can give generously.
Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written:
They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever. Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. - 2 Corinthians 9:6-11.
What do you think of these three options for giving?