Scripture Reading: “No man should appear before the Lord empty-handed:  Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you” (Deuteronomy 16:16-17). 

Giving Proportionately

God directs us to give in proportion to our blessings.  “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum in keeping with his income . . .” (1 Corinthians 16:2).  Through faith, we willingly surrender our proportionate gifts from our income to the Lord.  In both the Old and New Testaments, the standard proportion of a person’s income to give was the tithe or ten percent.  By grace, Scripture gives us examples of believers who even gave beyond the tithe.  Zacchaeus gave 50 percent (Luke 19:1-10) and the poor widow 100 percent (Luke 21:1-4).  The Macedonians, who were poor and distressed, gave sacrificially beyond their ability to give.  After they gave themselves to the Lord, they gave their resources joyfully and freely to help the poor (2 Corinthians 8:1-5).

 

Whether God gives us little or much, we are to give from the blessings that God provides.  Our blessings come from the Lord, so His gifts to us will determine what we have available to give.  If, in God’s sovereignty, He chooses to give us little, we will be able to give only a little.  However, if He gives us much, we have the responsibility to give much.  “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12:48).  When we faithfully give in proportion to the blessings that we receive, a gift of $1,000 from $10,000 of income is just as God-pleasing to God as a $10,000 gift from $100,000 of income.

 

The proportion that we give is determined more by our faith than our financial condition.  As our faith grows, we are empowered to increase the proportion that we give.  “For Christ’s love compels us” (2 Corinthians 5:14) to give generously.  Through faith, we grow in our giving to the Lord through our churches.  Rather than giving our leftovers, our giving becomes a priority.  The two or three percent that we gave in past years is no longer satisfactory because we know that God deserves our first and best.  As we grow in our proportionate giving, we see God’s grace at work in us as He gives us even more to give (2 Corinthians 9:8).

 

Discussion thoughts:

  1. Read 1 Kings 17:2-24.  What portion was the Widow of Zarephath asked to give?
  2. Read 2 Corinthians 8:1-5.  Why did the Macedonians give so generously?
  3. Why is proportionate giving fair to the rich and to the poor?  Is there an amount of income that giving only a tithe would be selfish?

 

Prayer: Dear Lord, You are so generous with us.  Grant us faithful and giving hearts so we can be generous with You.  Help us to hold onto our things loosely.  Empower us, Lord, to use our time, talents, and treasures in Your service.  In Your precious name we pray.  Amen.