‘God loves a cheerful giver’, wrote St Paul. Paul encouraged Christians to give their money to the work of the church in a regular and organised way. But how much is the right amount?
What makes a generous giver? There are many measures of what makes a generous giver, many of which are in the Bible. The Old Testament set out the concept of the ‘tithe’ – 10% of your wealth to be given back to God. Jesus praised the poor widow who gave all that she could. The Church of England’s target, set in 1978, is that church members should give 5% of their take-home pay to fund the work of the church.
It can be useful to check your own giving against such measures. Perhaps you could ask yourself:
‘Does what I give reflect the real state of my finances?’
‘Does what I give reflect my understanding of God’s goodness to me?’
Giving in Bath and Wells
The actual giving by church members in Bath & Wells is probably around 3.7% of take-home pay. The average regular weekly gift to the church in the diocese of Bath and Wells in 2017 was £11.90. The national average weekly gift was £13.00.
The charts below do not tell you how much you ought to give. That is for you and your household to prayerfully decide. But the charts show the effect giving certain percentages of your income away would have on a weekly gift.
|Annual Income||Monthly Donation|
|Annual Income||Weekly Donation|
We’re all different
One reason why we don’t lay down a fixed rule for giving is that God has put us all in very different circumstances. For example, a pensioner who relies on the State pension alone may not be able to give as much as one who receives an index-linked company pension.
It is right that people should consider how much to give in accordance with their own circumstances. Those who are well-provided for materially may, in true Christian fashion, be called upon to bear more of the burden on behalf of their less well-off brothers and sisters, perhaps by increasing the percentage of their income that they give away. This proportionate giving is clearly taught by St Paul.
Make more of your giving with Gift Aid
Did you realise you can substantially increase the value of your gift – 25 pence on top of every pound at no cost to yourself? If you are a UK taxpayer paying sufficient tax to cover the tax reclaimed on all the donations you make to church and other charities in the tax year, a simple signature could make a big difference to your church.