Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
I often get questions about the amount one should give. Most people think that 10% is a hard and fast rule. You'd be happy to know however it is not. While 10% might have been a firm rule for those in the Jewish faith, for Christians the amount is not the issue. Your attitude and your heart is the issue.
Jesus' two biggest rules were 1) love God and b) love neighbor. Why? because 1) God is love and therefore worthy of the connection and b) because God loves us and therefore our neighbors are worthy of our connection too (even when we don't understand why).
The same is true for money. God gave you brains and ability to earn wages. And if you are in the right circumstances, where you have extra beyond your needs (no the internet is not a need and yes I know you are reading this via said luxury), then why should there be a limit?
Jesus didn't say, "Love your neighbor 20% of the time, because we all know you'll be sick of him/her the other 80%." Jesus said, "Love your neighbor." There was no amount placed upon it. Just the emotion or preferably the emotion in action.
Which brings us to "Giving to the Needy." Think of giving as putting your emotion in action. It is an extension of loving your neighbor - the needy neighbor. Not needy as in "you don't have the patience for them" but needy as in those-who-can't-meet-their-needs. And while this could be an actual neighbor, it could also be someone, who for whatever reason, is living in poverty.
You may question giving to such people. And wonder if giving them money will actually go to needs or if the money will go to un-needed substances.
But that is where faith comes in. You don't know. And perhaps they might just use your change to buy alcohol or something else. But the fact that you reached out is an act of compassion that God will bless in some way.
No, I'm not saying that you should throw your money at everyone on the corner begging. But deliberately think about where you can make the most impact and then MAKE THE MOST IMPACT! Whether that is 2%, 10% or 40%.
Its up to you. Do as you are led and feel good about it.
Until Everyone Hears,