Practical Advice About GivingNAE Financial Health
Here is some practical advice for people who have questions, doubts or fears about giving to the Lord’s work.
If you are not a Christian: Don’t worry about giving to God. Instead, realize and accept what God wants to give to you — complete forgiveness, a brand-new start, the strength to do good for others, help for your problems, the ability to forgive and a home in heaven. If you recognize your need for these things, pray and invite Jesus Christ to bring these things into your life.
For all Christians: Make it a priority to faithfully support the work of your local church first. Then give special gifts and offerings to other Christian causes, projects, missions or the needy as God leads you.
If you’re fearful about giving 10 percent or more of your income to the Lord: Try a 90-day test. In Malachi 3:10, God invites people to “test him” in the matter of tithing (giving the first 10 percent of your income to God’s work). Begin giving 10 percent of your income to the Lord’s work and see if God begins working in your life in ways you haven’t previously experienced. If you regret that decision or if you feel you did not experience God’s help in your finances during this time period, discontinue the test. However, if you experience God’s help, joyfully continue giving 10 percent or more to the Lord’s work.
If you want to give to God first: Here are four different ideas to choose from:
- Whenever you get any money, set aside 10 percent or more to give as the Lord directs.
- Whenever you put a deposit in your checking account, write out the first check/s to God’s work for 10 percent or more.
- If you track your finances through a bookkeeping system or computer program, set up a category for church giving and another one for other Christian causes. Then begin to set aside 10 percent or more of your income into these categories.
- If you like to handle your finances electronically, consider using NetworkForGood.org or the electronic giving option from your church (if available) to give 10 percent or more to the Lord.
If you are married to a Christian, but the two of you do not agree on how much you should give to the Lord’s work: See if your spouse will read through this material. Then talk and pray together about a mutually agreeable “testing period” concerning your giving 10 percent or more.
If you are married and your spouse is not a Christian: Identify any money you have freedom to spend (read Luke 8:3) and set aside 10 percent or more of this money to give to the Lord’s work and/or show this material to your spouse and see if you can try the 90-day testing period.
If you are deciding whether to give off the gross or the net of your income: Pray and ask God what he wants you to do. If he prompts you in your heart to give off the gross amount, go ahead and do this, trusting him with the results. If you don’t have a peace about this, give 10 percent off the net amount for a few months and see what happens. After a few months, if you experience God’s creative care in your life, then begin to give 10 percent or more off of your gross income.
If you’re wondering about how much to give to your church and how much to give to other places: One practice is to give 10 percent of your main source of income to the local church. Then, use 10 percent or more of all other incomes sources and unexpected blessings to help fund other Christian needs and opportunities that God brings into your life.
If you have children at home: Help your children set aside God’s portion of any money they receive (e.g., allowances, work projects, gifts of money, etc.) and have them give at church, to missions and/or to help people in need.
If you have fallen behind in your giving to God’s work: You will never regret the decision to “get right” in this area. Review your financial records from the past several months and pray about making up the amount you have fallen behind. One elderly lady in her 90s sent a tithe check to the church office with the note, “I want to be prayed up, paid up and ready to go!”