How much of your money should you give away? That’s kind of a personal question, isn’t it! But the Bible gives us this specific instruction: “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).
Growing up as a preacher’s kid, I sometimes sat by myself in church because my Dad was on the platform leading the service, and my Mom was playing the organ. One Sunday one of the choir members left her purse in the seat next to me so she could sit with me when the choir came down from the loft for the sermon. When offering time came, however, she watched helplessly from the choir as I opened her purse and took out money for the offering--I have no memory of how much. She gave, but I don’t know how cheerfully.
In the Old Testament giving was to be a tithe—that is, ten percent of your income for the Lord. Often people ask, “Since we’re in the days of the New Testament, do we still have to tithe?” Well, let’s see what the New Testament says. In 1 Corinthians Paul wrote, “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income” (1 Corinthians 16:2). Did you notice that phrase “in keeping with his income”?
Actually, tithing isn’t totally fair. If a person makes $500 a month and gives $50 of it, it is probably a sacrifice. But if a rich man makes $50,000 a month and gives $5,000 of it, he still has $45,000 left to spend as he likes. That’s why the Bible says our giving should be in keeping with our income. As the famous Bible teacher G. Campbell Morgan wrote, “Test all your giving by your own prosperity.”i It’s a good rule for deciding how much of your money you should give away.