God instructed Old Testament believers to give a tithe, or a tenth because this ten percent represented the first, most important portion of all they had. The New Testament doesn’t suggest a certain percentage for giving, but implies being generous with our giving.
Giving shows we trust God.
First and foremost, God wants us to give because it shows that we trust Him and His authority in our lives. Everything we own and everything we have comes from God. So, when we give, we simply offer him a small portion of the abundance he has already given to us as an expression of our thankfulness and praise to God.
We are blessed when we give.
Giving brings more blessing to the giver than to the recipient. God promises to bless us over and above what we give and also according to the measure that we use to give. But, if we hold back from giving with a stingy heart, we hinder God from blessing our lives. Jesus said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' (Acts 20:35) God wants us to give because he knows we will be blessed when we give generously to him and to others.
The attitude of giving.
Giving is meant to be a joyful expression of thanks to God from the heart, not a legalistic obligation. 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 9:7, NIV)
The widow’s offering: Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on." (Mark 12:41-44, NIV)
In God's eyes, the value of the offering is not determined by its amount. The passage says that the wealthy gave large amounts, but the widow's "fraction of a penny" was of much higher value because she gave all that she had. It was a costly sacrifice. Notice that Jesus did not say she put in more than any of the others; he said she put in more than all the others.
The text says Jesus "watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury." Jesus observed the people as they gave their offerings, and he watches us today as we give. If we give to be seen by men or with a stingy heart toward God, our offering loses its value.
At the time Jesus observed this widow's offering, the temple treasury was managed by corrupt religious leaders of that day. Yet Jesus did not mention anywhere in this story that the widow should not have given to the temple. Jesus is more interested and impressed by how we give than what we give.
When we truly recognize all that Christ has done for us, we'll want to offer ourselves wholly to God as a living sacrifice of worship to him. Our offerings will flow freely from a heart of gratitude.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. (Romans 12:1)
God watches what and how we give. God not only cares about the quality of our gifts to him but also the attitude in our hearts as we offer them.
How our offering is spent.
Although we ought to do what we can to ensure that ministries we give to are good stewards of God's money, we can't always know for certain that the money we give will be spent correctly or wisely. We can't allow ourselves to be overly burdened with this concern, nor should we use this as an excuse not to give.
It's important for us to give to the church for God's glory and for the growth of God's kingdom. But once we give, we shouldn’t worry about what happens to the money. That is God's issue to deal with, not ours.
Giving to the Church
Malachi 3:10 says: 'Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,' says the LORD Almighty, 'and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.'"
This verse suggests that our giving should go to the local church (the storehouse) where we are taught God's Word and nurtured spiritually. If you're not currently giving to the Lord through a church home, begin by making a commitment. Give something faithfully and regularly. God promises to bless your commitment. If a tenth seems too overwhelming, consider making it a goal. Giving might feel like a sacrifice at first, but soon you'll discover its rewards. We may experience times of financial hardship when we can't give as much as we'd like, but the Lord still wants us to trust him in those times and give. God, not our paycheck, is our provider. He will meet our daily needs.