When your heart is guided by an open, trusting, voluntary, inspired, internal motivation that overflows from the depth of your relationship with God, along with a loving caring response to the needs of a needy world, you will always find a way to respond by giving generously.
Most of us have heard of the concept of tithing as a basis for giving to the Lord’s work. While tithing is certainly a biblical ideal (Malachi 3:10), we should never feel that it is a legalistic obligation required by God. In truth, the Bible emphasizes humanity's need to give, rather than God's need for cash.
Tithing thus becomes an act of worship, expressing the giver's personal commitment to God. This means that we should place the emphasis not so much on tithing as on the Christian's need to take a serious look at what stewardship really means: it is a definite commitment, a very real investment of one's time, talent and treasure. Tithing is a small proportion of this overall investment. As committed believers, we need to become concerned about people and the results in their lives that our giving can bring.
So if we agree that tithing makes good biblical sense but is not something we should be legalistic about, what does this say about the person that does not have a regular income, or has income that is hardly sufficient to survive? It would seem that Scripture teaches that when it comes to earning an income, our first priority is to provide for our families (I Timothy 5:8). In other words, we need to provide the essentials for a reasonable lifestyle to those in our household. This, of course, leaves it up to us to determine how much income it takes to provide the basics, and what constitutes a tithe of the remainder.
For those who are learning how to live on irregular income that comes from sales commissions and such, it becomes an interesting challenge. Do you give a different amount each month based on income? But what about months when you earn little or nothing. If your annual income allows, you might consider doing what some people in this situation have done: open a separate bank account into which irregular income is deposited, and from which a regular monthly stipend is taken as salary. This levels out the income stream and provides a basis on which to determine charitable giving.
Another question sometimes asked is: "What if we make a commitment and our circumstances change during the giving period?" The question often refers to the possibility of a person moving to another city or province, or the loss of a job, or death of a spouse. For the most part, a three year commitment in a capital campaign is not a legal contract. It is a faith commitment that is between you and God. Some people choose to continue their giving to the campaign to which they commited, while others choose to pay it out right away. Still others transfer their giving to their new church. Ultimately this is a personal decision which comes out of your relationship to the Lord and your local church.
Because we live in a money-centric culture, we tend to think of giving only as a question of reaching into our wallets. But as with all character traits, generosity is a trait of the soul and so it can find expression in many ways, including how you share your time, your energy, and your possessions. When your heart is guided by an open, trusting, voluntary, inspired, internal motivation that overflows from the depth of your relationship with God, along with a loving caring response to the needs of a needy world, you will always find a way to respond by giving generously.
If you're looking for ways to inspire your congregation to give more generously and to embrace an attitude of tithing in their everyday lives and as part of a church capital campaign, one of the most effective things you can do is engage in a strategic fundraising campaign. Talk to us today at Faith Based Fundraising to find out how.