Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come (1 Corinthians 16:1-2).
Giving should be proportionate to what we receive, “… put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper…” This answers an important question: “How much should I give on a regular basis?” There is no ironclad rule laid down in the New Testament, but Paul gives an excellent guideline for us all to follow. We are to give to the degree that God prospers us financially. This is proportionate giving, which is taught throughout the Bible. For example, tithing (giving 10%) is one form of proportionate giving. In the early days the Jews were farmers. The amount of their tithe depended upon the Lord’s blessings upon their crops.
Even so, the amount you give will usually depend upon how much income you have (income, not income minus expenses). In Deuteronomy 16:10, we read that at the feast of weeks the Israelites were to give a freewill offering “as the LORD your God blesses you.” So both the Old and New Testaments teach proportionate giving, which is about the same as percentage giving.
Now the issue is, “What percent?” I read recently that American Christians give on average about 3% of their income to all charitable causes put together. That falls short of the teaching of our text. I believe that how much you give should depend on how blessed you are financially.
Do you remember the story of the rich tax collector Zacchaeus? He gave 50% of his income, mainly because he was a wealthy man. I doubt than many are so prosperous that they should give 50%, though God has blessed some with that much wealth. Therefore, many of us just give a tithe, plus some extra. I personally cannot see how I as a New Testament believer could ever justify giving less than 10 percent.
And when we think about all the good that is accomplished by giving, and how God has blessed us, how can we give less? Yet George Barna found that only 8 percent of adults surveyed in 2001 had chosen to tithe. But I realize that even giving a tithe may seem like a lot to you, especially if your income is low or if your living expenses are high. But I pray that the day will come that you will step out on faith and begin to give at least a tithe. I say “step out on faith” because that is often required in order to become a tither. Humanly speaking you can’t see how you can afford to tithe. But consider what Jesus said in Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38). You cannot out give God.
Because of Jesus,