Our church is in budget review season and today is pay day for me so as I was scheduling payments for the month I was thinking about giving and thought I would share my approach to it.
Now it should be said that I am discussing giving, charitable giving, as a Christian. I do believe that as believers we are invited into a life of reordered priorities and most often this will mean financially partnering with others to see the gospel go forth.
While I don’t think there is a rigid guide in the New Testament on giving specifics, I do think there is an expectation of a sacrificial life as we live from the gift of grace we have in Christ. There is also meant to be a mentality that even the money in my bank account is not my own, it all belongs to the Lord and he has given me stewardship of it as he determines.
With those thoughts out of the way here is how my family approaches giving.
To start we prioritize giving to the local church. While that seems like common sense because I work for the church it has been a priority for us since before I was in vocational ministry. It is usually the first payment that goes out after I receive my monthly income. We do this as an act of obedience to what we feel God has directed us in.
The amount we give to the church is more than ten percent of my income but not by much. I don’t think a tithe (or tenth) is mandatory but it has always been a good rule for us. We make the church the first and most significant receiver of our giving because just as Scripture has the church as the conduit of mission and care of the local community we think it should be in our day.
Beyond that initial tithe we also have individuals and couples that we support each month along with a child sponsorship. While the tithe to the church is non-negotiable for us, in deciding on these other places to support we evaluate our budget with prayer to determine what we can give. We are currently doing just that as we are praying about how to support dear friends set to take the gospel to a really hard place.
Stacy and I have had a few conversations about giving in our nearly 13 years of marriage but mostly we established a rhythm of it and have kept going. In each season of life, with large salaries and with small, the Lord has provided for us and we have never gone without. Sometimes it has felt like we need more faith for it but we have always preferred being desperate for Jesus to work than not. Because he does!
So that is my approach to giving. Feel free to ask questions if you have any and I hope this encourages you to trust in the Lord.