I’ve done a lot of research on giving in the Bible and God’s desire for Christian giving. The most disturbing thing I’ve found during my research is arguments between Christians about tithing versus generous giving. They argue over words and trivial things while neglecting to look at the simple example Jesus gave us for how we should give.
Jesus gave up everything to save us from sin. He left the power and glory He had in Heaven to come down to earth so He could lay down His life for us. He taught us to love one another – even our enemies. He told us to give generously to anyone who asks and to take care of the poor.
Jesus exemplified and taught us to practice sacrificial, generous giving. He didn’t want us to get caught up on just how much we should give or following the letter of the Law. He asked us to look at the love of God and then to show that love to all people. Now God’s love is so generous that He gave up His Son for us. Jesus didn’t just give 10% of His life – He gave it all. And when you read Jesus’ appeals to give to the needy you don’t see any talk about minimum requirements. He asks us to give up our devotion to the world and worldly things and instead to build up our treasures in Heaven.
Paul pointed out the generosity of Jesus to the Corinthians:
7 But as you abound in everything, in faith, utterance, knowledge, all earnestness, and in your love to us, see that you also abound in this grace. 8 I speak not by way of commandment, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity also of your love. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that you through his poverty might become rich.
2 Corinthians 8:7-9 (WEB)
Jesus set the example for us by becoming poor even though He was very rich. He had every right to enjoy His limitless wealth. He was under no obligation to give it up. He deserved it. But He chose to become poor so that He could meet our need. He chose to give generously and sacrificially because of His abundant love.
That is the example we should follow as Christians when deciding how much we should give. We need to let the love of God guide our giving. If we say we believe in Jesus and we love God but we don’t give as God’s Spirit directs us, how can we say we are really following Christ? If our actions do not make God’s love evident, how can we say that His love lives in us?
But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and closes his heart of compassion against him, how does the love of God remain in him?
1 John 3:17 (WEB)
Christian giving should be focused on following Jesus’ example and teaching. Pure generosity motivated by pure love. We should be charitable because we depend on Jesus’ charity. Without it, we would have and be nothing. There would be no hope for us. But because of Jesus’ generous sacrifice we have hope beyond this life and wealth that exceeds all the riches of this world.
My plea to all Christians is that we would not argue over silly things like percentages when Jesus has shown and taught the example we should follow. Our giving should reflect the love of God and be based on His generosity – not on percentages. God will provide for our needs and the needs of our churches if we seek to walk in the love of Christ. There is no need for percentages or commands to guide the giving of Christians following God’s Spirit. The Holy Spirit will teach us how to give, where to give, and how much to give. God has made it clear that He expects us to submit everything to Him – which includes all of our money and not just 10%. Have faith in the wisdom and power of God to accomplish His will and to teach His children.