The problem is that my salary barely covers rent, food, car costs, etc.
I'm sure it will get better, but right now I can't give what I would like to give.
P.S. I believe God is working in my heart on this, because it didn't used to bother me nearly as much.
A: The subject of giving money to the church is touchy and sensitive.
We try to handle it here at Hope UMC with grace and accountability.
Your problem is shared by many people: Senior Citizen's on fixed/declining income, young families with children just starting out and a big mortgage, people in mid-life crisis and job loss.
The events of life often leave us unable to give as we would like to.
Percentage giving allows our giving to change as our income changes and still keep our commitment to God.
Remember, Christ seeks to be present in ALL of our life. Our time, talent and presence is as valuable as our treasure.
Can you "tithe" your time to help various ministries? They all need behind the scene people to help them go smoothly.
You also have certain abilities ("Spiritual Gifts.") that can be used to build up the body of Christ. (Check out: http://www.elca.org/eteam/assessment/OpenSpiritGifts.htm)
And then there is your "presence." Show up to support Choir concerts, Special events, Youth Car washes, etc. Spend more time in prayer and fellowship with other Christians. Join a mission team, a bible study, a ministry team. Your time, talent and presence are all things you can "tithe."
Finally, it's also clear that God often calls us above and beyond the local church. You may have a particular charity, mission or ministry on your heart that you support. You may have a special needs child or parent that you are caring for.
The key is to understand that God wants to be present in all you do and the only question is how you respond, what you choose to do about it.
Ask yourself: "Do I truly see God more and more in my work, in my home and in my neighborhood?
Do I actively dedicate part if not all of what I do with prayer, reflection, forgiveness and grace?
Am I growing in ways that allows Christ to be with me every moment of my life?
When these questions have positive, strong answers, then it becomes clear we have given far more than ten percent.
I hope you discover that you are growing in your giving to God giving every day.
What do you think? Does this answer your questions?