Giving is where many of us struggle. A recent statistic I came across revealed that:
- 75–90% of church members do not tithe (give 10% of their income)
- The average giving by adults who attend US Protestant churches is about $17 a week.
- Typically, 77% of those who do tithe end up giving 11%–20% or more of their income, far more than the baseline of 10%.
What this reveals is that when it comes to giving, we find that in every congregation there are some who don’t give at all, there are others who give a little out of habit or obligation, and then there are those who joyfully and generously give above and beyond.
Why Do We Struggle to Give?
There are different reasons why people fit into each of these categories as well as there are different reasons why people struggle to provide financial support to their local church.
(1) Maybe you have overextended themselves so that you have nothing to give.
If this is you, what you need to do is sit down and audit your budget. Once you have audited your budget, you need to make a budget and stick to it.
Many of us spend more than we make, which results in credit card debt or debt in other forms — a car payment too large to really afford. I’d counsel you to spend time balancing your budget and offloading those items you really can’t afford. It will take some time and a change in your spending behavior, but it is necessary if you want to be able to help further the gospel ministry of your local church.
Once your budget is balanced, plan your giving into your budget. In other words, make your giving a line item in your budget. I’d suggest it be the first line item, so that you are giving out of your first fruits rather than your leftovers.
(2) Maybe you don’t realize the impact your individual giving has on the church budget.
Churches budget based on past giving and number of members. If a member is not giving, they are severely impacting the budget of the church. If a church can’t make budget, they can’t effectively do ministry. Your giving matters!
(3) Maybe you do realize the impact your giving has on the church, but you are upset about something the church is or is not doing, so you withhold you tithes and offerings out of protest.
This is an area in which you really need to check your heart. The reason people withhold their tithes and offering is almost always a selfish one. Your pet project didn’t get selected or it was cut from the budget. The church isn’t moving in the direction you want. Change is occurring and you are uncomfortable with it. A minister slighted you and in order to get back at them, you are withholding your gifts.
In some situations, a minister or ministry leader will notice your giving has dipped. But in most instances, many ministers, including myself, don’t know what individual members give. I purposely keep those numbers from myself so that I won’t treat any one person different than another.
Instead of withholding out of protest, the best solution is to set a meeting with the pastor or ministry leader with whom you have issue or questions and talk it through.
(4) Maybe you have the money to give, but you don’t because you don’t trust that the Lord will provide.
God doesn’t need our money, but God does desire we give on a regular basis to support the gospel ministry of the local church.
Giving is not just a money issue. Rather, it is a heart issue. If you struggle to give, your heart is most likely directed towards something else. Where our money goes, there our heart goes as well. What you spend your money on is indicative of what you believe will provide you with joy, satisfaction, purpose, comfort, and security.
A lack of consistent giving reveals a trust issue.
God, however, can be trusted. Jesus tackles this issue in Matthew chapter 6 when He says,
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.Matthew 6:24-33
If God provides for birds and flowers, how much more do you think He will provide for you? Our God is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. He is all sovereign. Not only is He in control of all things, but He is a generous God. So generous, in fact, that He gave His only Son to die in our place. Jesus freely came and took the condemnation we deserved so that we might have a restored relationship with the Father and experience His kingdom both now and for all eternity.
God is not one to withhold good things from His children. Instead, He gives freely and abundantly to those who have need. The greatest gift of all being our salvation. If you are struggling to give, consider God’s generous gifts to you, especially the gift of salvation.
As well as consider your giving as a form of worship. When you give, you are exhibiting trust in the Lord. You are saying He is great enough to meet your needs. You are proclaiming that He is your Provider. Giving is an act of worship.