Monday, April 15, 2013

How much should we give?

Giving is…to be consistent... “Every Sunday each of you make an offering and put it in safekeeping.  Be as generous as you can.”  (1 Cor. 16:2  The Message)

The church Annette attends paid its bills in full last year using the usual end-of-the year crisis call for money.  After celebrating a sense of relief that all commitments were made in full some people started asking, “How much should we give, anyway?”  Others pointed out that they wanted to give more last year but the plea for money came at a bad time.  They said, “If we had known about this all year, we could have started saving earlier.” 

As chair of the Church Council, Annette suggested they turn to the story of how Paul encouraged the Corinthians to make offerings to assist those in need by giving generously and regularly, setting something aside week by week.  She said, “If you’re seriously wondering how much to give, consider starting at 3% of your net income.  If you’re above that but below tithing, ask God in prayer what might be an amount that will invite you to sacrifice, yet give you joy as you consider the lives that will be changed.” 

The tithe was established so that all the people might know the abundance of God’s love.   As United Methodists, we tend to average giving only about 1% of our income.   Imagine the variety of ways we could be in mission and ministry if we could average giving 3%, 5%, 7% or even a full 10% tithe! 

No matter how much we are called to give to the church, it is always easier in the end if we put God first and write those checks as the first check of every pay period.  Whether it’s 3%, 5%, 10% or more, choose an amount that helps you to grow in faith through sacrifice and joy – remembering that in giving away up to 10%, we still have 90% or more to meet our obligations, wants and needs!

Seven Ways of Giving

FirstThe Careless Way: To give something to every cause that is presented, without inquiring into its merits.

SecondThe Impulsive Way: To give from impulse – as much and as often as love and piety and sensibility prompt.

ThirdThe Lazy Way: To make a special offer to earn money for benevolent objects by fairs, festivals, etc.

FourthThe Self-denying Way: To save the cost of luxuries and apply them to purposes of religion and charity.  This may lead to asceticism [severity] and self-complacence [self-righteousness].

FifthThe Systematic Way: To lay aside as an offering to God a definite portion of our gains – one-tenth, one-fifth, one-third, or one-half.   This is adapted to all, whether rich or poor, and gifts would be largely increased if it were generally practiced. 
(1 Cor. 16:2)

SixthThe Equal Way: To give God and the needy just as much as we spend on ourselves, balancing all our personal expenditures by our gifts.

SeventhThe Heroic Way: To limit our own expenditures to a certain sum and give away all the rest of our income.   This was John Wesley’s way.  

---Wisconsin United Methodist Foundation

God Is Still In Control

Miss Lladale Carey
Web Content Producer

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