Vol.XIX No.XI Pg.6
January 1983

How Much To Give

Robert F. Turner

How much shall I give? It would be easier if God sent bills! Careful evaluation determines the amount---but amount is not even the first thought.

First, man must want to give. "... they were willing of themselves ... as there was a readiness to will ... if there be first a willing mind ... not grudgingly or of necessity' (2 Cor. 8:3, 11,12, 9:7). No gift without a willing heart is enough.

First, man must give himself to the Lord (2 Cor. 8:5). — God's interest is man — not money. The greater gift given, the lesser gift (money) is not hard. And a man who gives himself is not likely to be stingy with money.

First, man must love. The Corinthian's gift was proof of their love (2 Cor. 8:24). If people love souls, giving to preach is easy. If men love the brethren, giving to feed them is natural. We invariably put our money where our heart is.

First, man must recognize that he is a steward. God just entrusts man with these material goods. They still belong to him, and man must give an account for all he has. Jerusalem saints understood this--"neither said any of them that ought of the things that he possessed was his own" (Act. 4:32). That makes giving easy.

Now to the amount of giving — the amount depends on income. God puts us on our honor —give as we see God giving to us. "...let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him" (1 Cor. 16:2). The more our salary is, the more we give. The amount of giving depends upon what we have — "...it is accepted according to that a man hath..." (2 Cor. 8:12). We must not think we have paid "our weekly tax" on our income and no other claim can be made on us. Just as surely as we have resources, we have responsibilities.

The amount of giving depends upon the need. When crisis threatened the Jerusalem church, that special need compelled special giving. Brethren sold their houses and land to be able to give (Act. 4:32-35). They did not ordinarily give this way, but saints were hungry. Extraordinary need could compel us to give all we have.

The amount of giving is established by priority. How does my giving compare with my spending for other things? Do I spend more on movies or golf or fishing or hairdressers than God's work? If my spending for the Lord's kingdom is way down from the top of the list of my expenditures, something is seriously wrong. People who seek first the kingdom of God, use their money accordingly.

The amount of giving reflects my thankfulness. God ministers bread for food and multiplies our seed sown (2 Cor. 9:10). How much do I appreciate God's generosity? As Christians, we have all spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3) — chosen by God, redeemed, forgiven, an inheritance. How much does all this mean to me? Paul's last argument to the Corinthians was brief but profound. "Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift" (2 Cor. 9:15).

Joe Fitch, San Antonio, TX.