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October 17, 2010


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Most importantly, its not about "how much" but where the heart is. In 2 Corinthians 9:7, Paul writes "Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (ESV) Once you get your heart aligned I think that 10% is a good starting place because it was the amount set in the old promise. However, we are called to so much more than what is in the old testament. The new testament is full of examples of people sharing half or all they have. Through all of that, the focus is vertical - love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and God will lay on your heart to give. How far would you go for someone you love? If your child/sibling/parent/spouse needed $10,000 in 3 months to live, would you be able to give that to them? How much greater is the call to love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength?

I am not a huge advocate of designating a certain percent of income to church/charity because you never what life will throw at you. Believe me, I am all for donating, but we have had some wrenches thrown at us the past year, and I don't know what I would have done if I didn't have the 'emergency' money saved up.

Also, I like donating to a variety of causes. I probably do give 10 percent away each year, but it is not solely to church. I spread it around instead because I really can't give more than 10 percent right now.

give as much as you have the capacity to. but the IRS certainly agrees with the 10% as well ;)

I'm new to this blog. Thanks for writing it.

Just wanted to add that I don't think one needs to be religious to find this post interesting/important.

I'm not one for a hard-and-fast set rule like that.

First off, technically, a Christian's money is 100% "God's". Not just 10% belongs to Him, but all of it.

Secondly, I know that there are really poor Christians who feel pressured to give a standard 10% or more, putting them further in debt when they're already trying to subsist on poverty-level wages.

This year, my gross income (GROSS, not net) will be somewhere around $6000. That's so far below poverty, it isn't even funny. I give when I can, when I feel I'm led to. I don't always feel led to give 10%. But when I can give, I do. And I don't stress over people telling me to give 10% or more. No way. I don't think the rule is hard and fast for everyone, and I think Christians who are super-poor should give what they feel led by God to, and not be pressured to follow some hard and fast percentage rule.

tithing is a value issue, and how can you put a $ amount or percentage on that.

I could stand to give more, but I'd suggest NOT giving it to
a religious institution. (Give a church money, and they'll build a
bigger church). Give to a charity that helps the unfortunate.
This IS, of course, just my opinion, and I know it's somewhat
overgeneralized. There are worthwhile religious organizations....

@ Freely Giving- agree! When your heart is right, you can see how blessed you are and how wonderful it is to give. We've continued giving to the Lord when it certainly made no sense on paper whatsoever. We never went without a thing we needed. You don't give to get, you give because you love.

Sermon this morning was on stewardship, and I touched on just this topic. It does seem to me both that some people could easily give more than 10%, and the poorest shouldn't feel guilty for giving less than 10%.

I also have some sympathy with Harm-I think there should be a balance in your giving between the local church and that mission, and to the poor and those in need for other reasons.

Finally, Freely Giving, that passage from 2nd Corinthians is part of Paul's firm appeal to the people of Corinth to give more than they had already. As he puts it, "I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others." so sure, you're supposed to give cheerfully, but if you don't give much when you have an abundance, people will fairly judge you.

I am not Christian, but I am still fascinated by this discussion. It seems like the discussion is focused on the monetary aspect of giving and what that monetary threshold should be. What about the donation of time? How does that factor into the equation? You aren't giving money directly, but you are making a contribution to healing the world through your efforts. Also, some people (like the posted BD above) might not have the financial resources to give 10% of their money to charity, but they might be able to contribute in some other non-monetary way which may be just as valuable as writing a check.

MBTN, I think this conversation is focusing on money because the website is Free Money Finance. I agree that our time is also something to be given generously. As you note, it can make more of an impact than our dollars.

I do think regardless we should give 10% and see how God blesses that. Even when it doesn't seem like we can give, God will use it and provide for needs. I agree with some that there are times and seasons for giving above the 10% threshold laid out in Scripture. I think it is a worthy goal to set (as intentional not accidental) in our lives - to stretch our giving as time and opportunity allow. We should not wait for that to happen, we should plan for it as we look to whatever future we have.

I think that the first 10% belongs to the local church. Even what I give to the local church has a component (due to my church's budget) that goes to address needs around the world. Some churches may not have that built in to the budget; mine does. Part of being a good steward means not just giving but checking out the organizations to which we give.

Ironic to see this post today as my wife and I have wrestled recently with shifting from "Let's give XX percent" to "Let's live on XX and give beyond that."

As always, appreciate the food for thought, FMF.

@MBTN - totally agree with the concept of giving time. There are lots of other things you can give besides money. We (I'm speaking for my wife and I) that we should be giving our money. But often time and other resources are more necessary than money.

That being said, we do still give 10% of our income as a starting point. But I think as far as increasing our giving (I certainly hope to one day) I can also do that through time and other resources beyond just money.

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