If you get paid weekly for your work, then the weekly planned giving the Apostle Paul suggests is great for you. He said, "On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made." (I Corinthians 16:2). Your bookkeeping is easier too, if you get paid by the job for a number of different clients.
What if you get paid bi-weekly, or by the month, or even with a yearly lump salary?
You could do your planned giving at those same intervals too. Or, if you budget your living expenses and space out your spending, you could set aside the amount you plan to give to also happen regularly. It would keep your heart involved more frequently.
Unfortunately, those who do weekly planned giving, or on any other schedule rarely ever talk about it, so those who would like to learn must stumble into the best plan for their giving.
This plan found in the Bible is simple yet profound. It is a principle that I have applied when I only earned $5 in a week, and as my income has increased, the amount has eased up too, without being a shock to my budget or my habits. It also means that when less comes in, I can ease back my giving amount without huge trauma.
Over the decades I have lived by this plan, there have been periods where I moaned and sighed because I could give so little, but I gave my tenth, or tithe, even if it was only .50. When nothing came in, I had a clear conscience about not giving any money to the Lord. He understood. But my joy in giving increased as my income did. Nor was it a painful or surprise bite out of my living expenses because I was used to thinking that God's portion comes off first, and I will manage on the rest.
In fact, at one point, when I was overwhelmed with payments on a used car, and I had foolishly charged my Christmas gifts for family and relatives, I cried out to the Lord and promised that if/when He would help me to pay off all these debts I would double my giving as a way of saying thank you.
In due time that happened, and I have put that extra ten percent into a separate wallet to give only as He prompts me to. Sometimes it builds up over several weeks, but then I learn of a special appeal that tugs at my heart-strings. I look into this wallet and pray, "Lord, how much shall I give to this person or cause?" In a matter of moments I know whether to pull out just one or two bills, or to take the whole amount and give it, with a special pleasure.
This weekly giving plan makes giving such a habit that we learn to give quietly, without fanfair. We no longer expect any notice. We are just doing what we had resolved to do. That may even be the ultimate purpose of the Biblical injunction to set aside regularly - planned, intentional giving.
At tax time when it's time to summarize my year's income and expenses, or when I get my church receipts, my eyes sometimes grow big as I see how much I have given throughout a year. It seemed a pittance when I gave it, but over 52 weeks it has become a larger number.
I don't mean to tell you what you must do, but if you are looking for a plan, I suggest this one. Really, I can vouch for the value of routine, weekly, planned giving. It has become such a joy that I look foward to the day when I can live on just a tithe, and give 90% to the Lord!
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