7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:7 (NIV)
2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.
1 Corinthians 16:2 (NIV)
12 For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.
2 Corinthians 8:12 (NIV)
One of the most commonly-asked questions about giving is “How much should I give?” Although the New Testament doesn’t tell us exactly how much we should give, it does give us some guidelines, two of which we’ll highlight today.
If you’re like most people, you probably don’t spend money totally haphazardly. You may have a budget. You probably save for retirement, your children’s college costs, their weddings, unexpected expenses, and so on. If you’re married, you almost certainly discuss major purchases with your spouse.
What about your giving? Do you ever think about how much you’ll give and how often you’ll give it, or do you just write a check when you feel like it or give some cash if you have extra in your wallet? If you’re married, do you discuss your giving with your spouse? Do you pray about how much to give?
The Apostle Paul says, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give” (2 Corinthians 9:7). Paul says that we should give intentionally, not just on a spur-of-the-moment whim.
Certainly we should give spontaneously when we’re moved by a need we encounter. But, we should also think and pray about our giving. We should consider how much to give, and to what people and organizations we will give. We should give intentionally.
In addition to giving intentionally, Paul says we should give proportionally. The greater our income, the greater our giving. In fact, if my heart is in the right place, I’ll want to give more as my income increases.
That’s why many people choose to give a percentage of their income. The particular amount is secondary compared with my desire to give. As Paul says in several passages, God focuses on my heart; and when my heart is willing, my wallet will follow.
Take some time to pray about your giving. Ask God to give you a cheerful and generous heart; and ask Him to help you to make wise decisions about how much and to whom we should give.