Q: I can't decide how much to give. Part of me wants to give a large, reckless number, and another part of me knows I'll need some money for expenses coming up.
A: That's normal. I believe it's in part because the Bible has several overarching themes about money that it holds in creative tension. One biblical theme about money?is what I would call the "Prudence" theme: work hard and prepare now for future need (Proverbs 6:6-8) and provide for your family (1 Timothy 5:8). Another biblical theme is the "Carefree" theme: don't store up treasures on earth (Matthew 6:19), give to the needy (Matthew 6:2), and don't worry about your food and clothing (Matthew 6:25-27).
How do you honor both themes? That requires a lot of prayer and conversation with wise spiritual friends and mentors. You'll know you've reached the right number, though, because it will have these three qualities:
- It's not sparing but generous: "Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously" (2 Corinthians 9:6).