Freedom in Giving is Fraught with Danger

By Luther Blackmon

In the Old Testament the amount that Jews had to give is pretty definite. Some think they only gave a tenth. They did not “give” a tenth. They were taxed a tenth. They came more nearly giving 25% than 10 % .

In the New Testament the Lord has left the amount to us–put us on our honor. “Give as prospered;” as we “purpose in our hearts,” “cheerfully.” Have you ever considered the danger inherent in this freedom? If you have not, it is time you did. The very freedom which God has granted us in our giving (as “prospered” and as we “purpose in our hearts”) may be the means of causing us to lose our souls. Seldom have I met a member of the church who was not concerned with the “amount” he should give. And I have found that generally speaking, what he wants to know is how “little” can I give? What is the very least the Lord will accept? He wonders if a tenth, a tithe, will do. Either this fellow does not care or he has not yet learned that the very fact that God did not specify the amount we are to give is the means of testing us.

One fellow asked, “How is a man to treat his wife?” The answer came back, “Love her with all your heart and then just treat her any way you please.” Of course if he loves her with all his heart he would not mistreat her. And I might add that he wouldn’t spend much time wondering if she could make out with one dress and one pair of shoes. Not if he loved her. The Lord knew about this disposition in man before we found out about it. And the Lord knows that if we love Him, we will not have to be told exactly how much we must give. In leaving it up to us He makes it a test of our love for Him and for His church.

If “as he is prospered” means “how little” to you, you need to be converted to Christ-at least on this point. If “as he is prospered” means “how much can I spare and still meet my obligation to my family,” then you have found out why the Lord did not tell us how much to give. Giving is a grace, Paul said. And grace is something God does for us, not something we do for Him. God does not need your money. He does not need you. Then why did He tell us to give? He could have preached the gospel to every man on earth through the medium of angels if He had desired to do it that way. Where then did we get the idea that God needs our money? The only reason on earth that God requires us to give anything is for our benefit — to help us. What other motive could have prompted the Creator of the universe, including man, to ask for the use of our measly, soiled dollars. Ask yourself that question out loud sometime and then be honest with the answer.

Truth Magazine XXI: 41, pp. 653-654
October 20, 1977