The Only Safe Rule

Have you ever thought that if you didn’t give to the church you could have a nicer home? Or do more or have more?  Have you ever envied the lifestyles or possessions of unbelievers who give nothing to God?

C.S. Lewis says,

“I do not believe one can settle on how much we ought to give.  I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare.  In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little.  If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small.  There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them.” — Mere Christianity

What does it cost me to follow Jesus?  What has my giving prohibited me from doing or buying?

The greater question, which is far more important, is how much do I treasure Jesus?  And what does my life and my giving reveal about how much I treasure Jesus?  How is my life different because I’m a Christian?  What sacrifices in time or energy do I make because of my love for Christ?

Perhaps you decided to stay in a particular place because of your church, rather than take a lucrative job that would require you to move, not that it would be wrong to do so.  Maybe your gifts to the poor make it impossible for you to get a new TV or go on vacation.

There are folks in our church who drive an hour to come on Sundays, be involved in Care Groups and our Parent/Teen ministry.  What they spend on gas alone each month must rule out other purchases they’d like to make.

I wonder, would Jesus ever point me out like he did a certain widow?

And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box.  For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on” (MK 12.43-44).

photo by stuartpilbrow

  • Rachel McC

    This flows really well with the George Muller biography I am slowly chewing through! Thank you.

    • MarkAltrogge

      Thanks Rachel – George Muller – now he knew giving, faith and God's faithfulness!

  • Christina

    Many of us need to remember this always..
    To Not become so arrogant w/ our wealth that we believe it is because of what We have done, or assume that because someone does not live with a wealthy appearance or wealthy lifestyle that they are not doing what God asks of them.
    I can not count how many times other Christians( particularly those who are wealthier) have said
    to me that if I would tithe and give more or a certain way, that God would bless me and my husband.. W/ the judgemental assumption that they know what we do and don’t do with our money due to the physical appearnce of our lives.
    Our blessing is in the thithing and giving, for we KNOW this pleases the Lord! NOT because we believe we will get..
    So if I do not have a brand new car, designer clothing, a huge big brand new house.. Etc… Does that mean I do not obey and tithe or give….. Not at all, maybe it’s because
    the person believes in giving more than the minimum!!!
    It’s all Gods any way!

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  • David Paul

    So encouraging. My highest desire is to live a life giving.