A formula is not presented in the Scriptures for the amount a believer should give to the work of the Lord. Minimal standards of 10% are established, but beyond that, giving is based on a believer’s conviction to help in the work of our Lord. Leviticus 27:30–33 is direct in establishing minimal standards. Note how the importance of this act is emphasized by the demand for a penalty payment if the tithe is not paid. It states, “If a man wishes to redeem his tithe,” that is, keep it for himself, “he shall add a fifth to it.” God is requiring 20% interest on any tithe that is not given directly to the work of the Lord. New Testament Scripture in which Christ teaches the importance of tithing, that is giving 10% of one’s income to the work of the Lord, is found in part in Luke 11:42 and Matthew 23:23.
The attitude behind our giving is important. In 2 Corinthians 9:6–8 we find, “The point is this: . . . Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” This passage does not mean we are exempt from giving until we can be cheerful about our obedience. Instead, it is saying we need to develop spiritually to a level of maturity in which we are cheerful about obediently giving to the work of the Lord.
2 Corinthians 8:1–8 addresses further the concept of giving. Verse 7 identifies giving as an act of grace and states the role of giving in our Christian walk. “But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also. Some might argue that sacrificial giving is required in order to “excel in this act of grace.” Many personal benefits can be gained from sacrificial giving. After all, it requires the believer to focus attention upon the Lord and his discrimination of provisions. It is also important to remember the importance of balance to all aspects of life. 1 Timothy 5:8 points to the need to fulfill all personal obligations. It reads, “And whoever does not provide for relatives, and especially for family members, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” Giving sacrificially in a manner that impacts negatively a healthy family life for a long period of time is not a part of that balance.
Giving should be seen as an act of worship. The amount given is dependent upon the needs and passions of the giver.
Content is derived in part Bryce Bartruff's book, God, Your Money and You (CrossLink Publishing).