The New Testament is very ineffective when it comes to giving a measurable standard of giving (a percentage).
As a result, I’ve always wondered where Christians get the idea that giving 10% is the standard for all New Testament Christians. Giving 10% can quickly be reduced to a sort of punching of the time clock or a simple token of our appreciation.
We all know what it means to receive a token gift.
What if someone got you something just because they knew they were supposed to. It sort of takes away the joy, doesn’t it?
Our giving to God cannot be token giving.
I get that 10% is a good starting place. I understand that 10% has some solid historical roots in the Old Testament.
What I don’t understand is how a family without any debt, making several hundred thousand dollars a year could think that there is no room for giving growth because they are giving 10%. They believe they have won the battle against the deceitfulness of wealth, but it is entirely possible that a person giving a tithe is corrupted by what remains.
I believe the biblical standard for giving is sacrificial giving.
Where in the world would I get that idea?
Jesus is the paradigm or the model for us to following in our giving habits and giving practices.
He gave sacrificially.
Those Jesus recognized and honored as gracious givers went far beyond 10%.
They gave sacrifically.
Paul honors those as gracious givers who gave beyond 10%
2 Cor. 8:3 – “For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own.”
2 Cor. 8:7 – “But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.”
Perhaps it’s time to move beyond numbers and focus on the level of our sacrificial giving.
Lately I’ve been asking myself the question - does my giving show any level of sacrifice? In some ways, I can confidently say yes, but in other ways I recognize that there are so many ways for me to grow in the grace of giving.
I think that’s where God wants us all to be. Challenging. Stretching. Growing. Realizing that no matter how much we’ve grown there is still room for growth.
What if I’m not giving 10%?
Perhaps you’re asking the wrong question. Perhaps you’re measuring with the wrong standard. Are you giving sacrificially? If you can say ‘yes’ to that question (even if you say ‘no’ to the 10% question), then I think you’re on the right track with your giving.
If you can say ‘yes, I’m giving 10%, but no I’m not giving sacrificially,’ then perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate your giving.
By the way, please don’t think I’m judging you or trying to judge you. I’m sharing publicly and openly something that I’ve been asking myself and something I’ve been struggling with.
Do you think sacrificial giving is God’s standard, or do you think it can be reduced to a percentage?