(2 Cor 9:7) So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
A lot of Christians have questions about tithing. How much should we give to the Lord? Is it a strict 10% or are there other principles to guide us? We all would like to give more to the Lord but we have bills to pay, etc. What should be our attitude on Christian giving?
We know from the Old Testament that God’s people did tithe (“tithe “means 10% in the Hebrew) to the Lord. But putting it all together it looks like there were three tithes of the people! There was the required LEVITICAL TITHE for the Levites (Num. 18) and this was also called the “the Lord’s “ tithe (Lev. 27:30). This supplied the needs of the Levites who served God. Secondly there was the FESTIVAL TITHE which was used for the temple and the great feasts of Jehovah (Deu. 12). Then every third year was the POOR TITHE (Deu. 14:28) which went to the poor and needy in the community. These three tithes were required giving and equaled almost 25% of the annual income of the people of God and were more like the taxes of the land. Then added to this were the freewill offerings of the people that the Bible talks so much about (Exodus 35; Lev. 22:18; Deu. 12:6; 2 Chr. 31:14; Ezra 1:4; etc.).
But we live under the New Testament and are not under the law and need to know what the principles of New Testament giving are. The departments of giving are the same . . . required giving and freewill offerings. The required giving would be to the government by paying our taxes (Romans 13:1-7; Mat. 22:21) and the freewill offerings would be offerings to the Lord with the percentage amount placed upon our heart from the Lord. We are not bound by the tithe but there are principles that give us guidance in our Christian giving. We are to give:
1) Generously - (2 Cor 9:6) But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. We need to walk the way Jesus walked (1 John 2:6) and that would be giving generously as He did (John 3:16). All our money belongs to God anyway and our giving shows the level of trust we have in God to supply all our needs. But what about if you don’t have much to give? The Bible teaches that we are to give according to our ability (Acts 11:29) but it also models sacrificial giving such as the widow who gave her last two mites (Mark 12:41-43; 2 Sam. 24:24; 2 Cor. 8:1-3). God gave sacrificially through Christ and true love is always displayed in it’s sacrificial nature.
2) Cheerfully - (2 Cor 9:7) So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. Did you know the word for “cheerful” in this verse is from the Greek word “hilaros” from where we get our English word “hilarious”? That means when we drop that gift in the offering bag or that check in the Agape box or send that special offering to that missionary, we are to do it not grudgingly or by compulsion but with “knee-slapping” joy in the Lord!
May these principles guide you into investing your money in the kingdom of the Lord. May God help us all to be good stewards of His money (1 Cor. 4:1-2), to make wise and prayerful purchases, and to invest the rest into the Bank of Heaven “... where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Mat 6:20 21)