Monday, July 14, 2008

quote of the week: how much should I give?

How much should we give?

Ten percent? Living on this side of the cross, doesn't Jesus' sacrifice call us to a more costly generosity? But doesn't the cross also free us from rules and regulations? Is 10% too much for a struggling family?

Maybe 10% is a good starting point. Certainly it keeps us honest. Sometimes it's an excuse not to be generous enough.

Overflowing love doesn't ask "how much". It sees a need and delights to meet it, even at great cost. It gives with abandon, having experienced God's abandoned giving of his only Son. It is so excited about heaven's treasure, that earth's treasure is joyfully given away.

A wise man once told me to give until it hurts. On paycheck day, his first act was to give money away, before spending money on himself.

Here's what C.S.Lewis has to say:
I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charities expenditure excludes them. I am speaking now of 'charities' in the common way. Particular cases of distress among your own relatives, friends, neighbours or employees, which God, as it were, forces upon your notice, may demand much more: even to the crippling and endangering of your own position. For many of us the great obstacle to charity lies not in our luxurious living or desire for more money, but in our fear--fear of insecurity. This must often be recognised as a temptation. Sometimes our pride also hinders our charity; we are tempted to spend more than we ought on the showy forms of generosity (tipping, hospitality) and less than we ought on those who really need our help.
Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:6-7

The quote is from chapter 13 of Mere Christianity. The picture is from stock.xcnng.

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