How to Pay for Churches and Pastors? Tithing? Or Something Else?
We’ve avoided this question for some years, because clearly we have a vested interest in what you decide about this matter and how you choose to respond.
On the other hand, every other writer typically has the same vested interest, and so much so that we sometimes see egregious examples of churches that even seem to be linking salvation to payment. We feel compelled to write on the topic and to address some of these suggestions. You can “safely” read this article because we’re not going to be rudely thrusting our hand into your wallet and greedily pulling all we can out of it, with or without any related promises of a VIP pass to Heaven being given to you in return.
We are uncomfortable with churches that mandate the payment of compulsory tithes as a precondition of being accepted as a member. Jesus never made his free offer of salvation conditional upon the ability to pay. Salvation is not for sale, nor is it for the wealthy, only. Jesus himself did not ask for nor need a lot of money – he was happy to live a modest life that didn’t require inconvenient financial sacrifices on the part of his followers to support, and he loved the poor at least as much as he loved the rich.
So we can start by a reductio ad absurdum analysis. Parishioners should not be expected to fund outrageously profligate lifestyles of their pastors. The so-called “mega-pastors” with palatial mansions, servants, chauffeured limousines and private jets – that is uncalled for and if anything, tends to tempt such people away from leading a good life based on simple Christian principles.
Why should a pastor lead a better life than his parishioners?
However, that begs a related question that also must be asked and answered – why should a pastor lead a worse life than his parishioners? We all should be willing to make sacrifices – or, if not directly “sacrifices”, definitely “life-style adjustments” as part of following our faith. These range from avoiding evils and temptations that deceptively present as offering pleasure, to, yes, sharing our wealth with more needy people and our church. Surely it is not fair that our spiritual guides on earth – our pastors and other church support staff – should unevenly carry the greatest burden while at the same time helping us all in our faith.
How much should a pastor be paid? That’s a subject for another article. For now we’ll simply say that no matter where the funding comes from, a pastor deserves a fair income that doesn’t require undue sacrifice on his part, which allows him to be a good provider for his family, and enables him to conduct his duties without monetary concerns or constraints.
Of course, a physical church costs money to build and to maintain. Repairs and maintenance are unavoidable expenses. Electricity is not free, and so on. It seems reasonable that, on some basis, the people who use and benefit from a church and its facilities and resources should in turn reciprocate and support its operation.
But how should support be provided, and how much support should be provided by each person? As the saying goes, “the devil is in the details”, and that’s where we feel some churches (and some people) have lost their way.
Some people sit back and passively say “God will provide”. Ultimately, yes, of course that is so, but on Earth, the method of God’s sustenance is through the goodwill of his followers. You are enabling, empowering, and yourself participating in doing God’s good work when you support your church. The way God provides for his church is by giving YOU the ability to support it. You are God’s tool when it comes to providing for his church.
The greatest difficulties occur when we start to drill down into exactly how much support you should fairly provide. The good news is that our God is not a greedy God. He never asks of us more than we can provide. He may expect us to make some sacrifices, but he is fair in such things.
There’s also another thing we should understand, up front. The concept of “support” is much more than just money alone.
Supporting a Church is More than just Money
We have experience of living in different societies around the world, and have noticed a very distinctive feature about American society. In the US, more than any other country we know, there is a reflexive action to respond to any issue, need, or problem, with money.
Sometimes that is a very good thing and to be encouraged, but not all problems are solved by money alone, and some problems are not solved by money at all.
For example, maybe a church most needs people to come to services, to fill the pews, and create the fellowship and warm, affirming “buzz” that is an essential element of a healthy church and congregation. You could place $100 bills on all the empty seats in the Sunday service, and that would not compensate for having a church full of parishioners, no matter how little they are actually supporting the church with cash. Similarly, a church fair needs people to come along and participate. Their presence, in the church building, and at other church events, is supporting and reinforcing each other – and that’s a key point to keep in mind. Fellowship is a two-way street – we get the blessings of friendship and fellowship in direct measure to the active participation we provide, ourselves.
Talking about the balance between giving and getting, there’s another important measure to acknowledge. Ultimately, it must be the obligation of a church to support its parishioners in at least equal measure to the obligation of the parishioners to support the church. It needs to “give value for money”.
This might seem to be a very un-Christian measure, but it is actually a key consideration, not just as an MBA would view a business, but spiritually. If a church isn’t giving “value” to its parishioners, then there’s a problem – and it is not a financial problem. More money doesn’t make a bad church good. It has a leadership problem, and that is solved very differently. (We could go further and say it seems wealthy churches are sometimes more susceptible to leadership problems than are poor churches, but that too is a topic for another time.)
Must You Observe Four Types of Giving?
Here’s an interesting article, urging you to carry out four types of giving, and not just once or twice, but regularly. They advocate giving four types of support every week.
Do you need to actually go through four separate and different acts of giving, every week? The article seems to suggest you should, and separates your giving into four categories :
- Alms : Money for the poor
- Tithes : Money for the church
- Offerings : More money for the church
- Grace : Still more money for the church
That could become very costly. Even without putting dollar amounts alongside the other three types of giving (tithing, which we’ll discuss later, is pre-defined as at least 10% – maybe more – of one’s income) clearly you’d be giving a great deal to comply with these admonishments.
So how much should you give? What happens if you’re not checking off all four of those boxes, above?
How Much Support is Appropriate?
This is a key point, of course. There’s a huge range of possible answers, and we can still remember back to the collection plate on which one simply placed a coin or two each Sunday as it was passed around.
Mind you, to be perhaps cynical, that was back when many churches were also very wealthy, with major endowment funds that supported a great deal of their work. Mismanagement and embezzlement has turned some churches, once magnificently wealthy, into empty shells of their former selves, and is shifting focus onto giving from each congregation rather than receiving generous support from central headquarters sources.
Churches also used to have larger congregations, spreading their funding needs over more people. The matter is made worse by the dwindling congregations for some of the mainstream traditional churches, although we feel they’ve only themselves to blame for their loss of supportive congregations.
In the Old Testament the concept of tithing was espoused and required. In the New Testament, tithing became one of those unfortunate grey areas – it is no longer required, but many church leaders were reluctant to forego the income and continue to encourage the practice.
It is certainly true that God loves a generous giver, but are you really being a generous giver if you are being “bullied” and brow-beaten into mechanistically giving 10% of your income every week (to say nothing of ongoing regular “special appeals” for special purposes)?
One of the rationales behind tithing is that everything we earn or get/receive is ultimately a gift to us from God, and everything we need is also determined by God. This means two things – first, we are not giving God something that he doesn’t already have or deserve, the tithe is merely “his” share now passed on, via us, to his church. That is the same as if your friend says “Here’s $100, would you give it to my spouse when you meet together, later today”, the money is never yours, even though it is in your possession for a while.
The second thing is that God will not see us suffer from the loss of 10% of our income. Some people go further than this and reassure us that he’ll make sure the remaining 90% goes at least as far as 100% would have done – maybe he’ll even make 90% go further than 100%.
But that’s a dangerous slope to start sliding down. If people start being promised that they’ll enjoy as much “wealth” – and possibly more – after tithing, that shifts the motivation for giving from true generosity to venal selfishness – a hope that we’ll be currying favor with the Lord and the more we give, the even more we’ll get in return. That is the wrong reason to give. That is like giving a wealthy person a generous Christmas gift in the hope they’ll give you an even wealthier gift in return.
We are promised rewards for our cheerful giving, but the rewards are spiritual and in the afterlife, not in the form of new cars and larger houses now. It is fair to hope that you’ll not suffer inconveniences as a result of your freely given gifts. But it is wrong to give because you hope to immediately get more in return.
Who Should You Give To?
Some churches encourage you to give all your gifting to them, and then they’ll apportion it out as they think best.
We’ve never believed that governments are the most efficient form of managing much at all, and we’re similarly unconvinced that churches are always the best managers of money. A quick glimpse at the recent financial history of the Roman Catholic Church in particular provides ample examples of that.
It isn’t just the Roman Catholic Church that has been enmired in financial ineptitude or scandal. The same is true of the Church of England in the UK, and, closer to home, the Church of Latter Day Saints in the US – for example, the “$100 billion fund” paid for by tithes and subsequent lawsuit by a prominent Mormon donor to get $5 million he gave in tithes back again due to alleged wrongful uses of his tithes.
Whether it is because a church feels “it knows best” about how to spend your money, and has a broader view of the institutional and international priorities of the overall church, or because they simply want to get as much money from you as possible and to control what is done with it, there is a clear desire on the part of many churches that they should act like a form of “United Way” – you give one single check to your church and then the church will decide, in its “greater wisdom”, how to spend your money for you.
We can see some sense in that concept, but do not completely agree. There’s an adage that dates back hundreds of years that “charity begins at home”. This statement has been around for so long it has assumed a degree of authority that may not be entirely appropriate, and it is not originally/directly from any passage of scripture, although perhaps the requirement that we should love our neighbors as ourselves (mentioned in lots of places such as Mark 12:31 and Matthew 22:36-40) hints at that. (In case you’re wondering who is a neighbor, that is answered, somewhat obliquely, too, in Luke 10:25-37).
Perhaps, with charity beginning at home, and the need to love neighbors, who appear to perhaps be the people you come into ordinary contact with, you should first give to your direct family, neighbors, and your local church – giving to people and organizations in cases where you can understand and see that your money is being wisely spent and not wasted.
We should stress that. Your first priority is to the well-being of your immediate family, your immediate living environment, and the personal church you directly attend. Maybe you should not be supporting distant good works in far-away lands when there are problems and issues in your immediate home environment?
Secondly, while the New Testament encourages generous giving, it does not limit who you should give to only to your church. Giving to a needy person in the street can be as valid an act of Christian kindness as can be contributing to your church’s next overseas mission.
On the other hand, and this is where things become difficult, should you give money directly to the man on the street corner with the cardboard sign? Would he spend the money wisely? Maybe you should give money to the local Salvation Army or Soup Kitchen or Homeless Shelter? (Yes, of course you can give to another Christian organization, such as the Salvation Army, even if you belong to a different church.)
Thirdly, allow God to guide you in your sense of how and where to spread your generosity and gifts. If God is encouraging you to channel your kindness through your church, then absolutely, by all means, do so. But if he is strongly signaling you to send some of your support in another direction – perhaps even to some secular good cause that is not directly related to your or any church at all – that too is a good work and a kindness.
Our point in this section is to observe that your gifts and kindness need not only be directed to your church.
Is There a Limit on How Much a Person Can Do to Support Their Church?
Clearly, the answer has to be yes here. You can’t contribute more money than you have, and you can’t contribute more time than there are hours in the day. Of course, in reality, you can’t – and are not expected – to contribute all your funds and all your time.
That much is easy to say. But then it gets harder to clarify. Is there a minimum amount of money/time/support everyone should give? Is there also an “average” amount or gently-suggested “guideline”?
We dislike these questions, because they are starting to assume an obligation to support. At the risk of making a distinction that perhaps doesn’t exist, we are expected to support our church, but we are not obliged to.
There may be times when it is just not possible for you to support your church. If you are out of town, clearly you can’t participate in services. If you lost your job, and are living off your savings and perhaps some meager unemployment benefit while searching for a new job, it would be unusual and probably unfair to be required to contribute financially.
Some very kind people are concerned they are contributing “their fair share” and we’ve been asked how much is appropriate. We understand their desire to set their mind at ease, and we are certain that if we stated an amount greater than they presently contribute, they’d increase their support with pleasure and happiness.
But we come back to 2 Corinthians 9:7. The New Testament nowhere provides a formula to calculate how much to give. Instead, it refers to freely and cheerfully giving the amount that you decide in your heart feels right, and specifically says that giving should not be under any form of compulsion.
We can not reconcile a formulistic requirement to give 10% (or any other number) with the passage in 2 Cor (and stated similarly, elsewhere).
Give what feels good, and stop when either the church itself tells you or when it no longer feels good. This is not a trick to test your limits of what feels good, and there is no wrong answer. As we discuss further down this article, giving “more” (whatever “more” actually means) does not directly get you any special treatment in Heaven, and should not get you any special treatment on Earth, either.
Is There a Limit to How Much Support a Church Can Accept?
Yes and no. A local church, serving a local community, has needs and opportunities that are reflected and limited by the size of the community they support.
But we’re unaware of a single church, anywhere, that turns down additional support. The problem with any unneeded additional funding that is received is that it often ends up going to less and less directly controlled purposes, and becomes less and less “efficient” in terms of value and benefit created by each extra dollar received. Similarly, we all could spend another $1,000 or even another $1,000,000 if it was suddenly placed in our lap.
But just because we could easily and happily spend an unexpected windfall doesn’t mean we need the windfall or would spend it wisely. We’d probably spend $1,000 or $10,000 wisely – pay off some debt, catch up with deferred maintenance on our home or car or whatever, that sort of thing. But by the time we get a sudden unexpected $1 million or $10 million, we start wasting money on extravagant and foolish things. Is it possible the same concept applies to churches too? In many cases, it seems so.
There is a temptation for a humble good small local church to grow. There are so many “obvious” and seemingly good ways to spend extra money. To get a bigger building, and with more parking. To open a second church. To add more staff. To get fancier uniforms for choir members, pastors, and so on. To get new church bells, or new audio-visual equipment. To start funding scholarships and other things. And so on.
Much of the western world’s ethos is built on growing, on getting bigger, and equates larger size with greater success and greater efficiency. But this is not always the case, indeed, there are many convincing studies that suggest the larger an organization, the less efficient it becomes. The concept of “right sizing” is much under-appreciated and over-looked, and we encourage all church elders reading this to search their souls and seek guidance for what their church’s “right size” actually truly is. We suggest a church’s optimum size is surprisingly small – maybe fewer than 200 people in any given church service, and absolutely/definitely not 2,000 or 20,000 people in a mega-auditorium.
Plus, in addition, when a church finds itself with more money than it directly needs, it invariably starts thinking about engaging in other projects, with not always a great deal of care and thought as to if the projects are truly appropriate. Maybe they’ll start a radio or television program, or print a magazine. Maybe they’ll start supporting unrelated unconnected charitable organizations. Maybe they’ll start funding missions. Maybe (horror of horrors!) they start to become politically active.
These are not necessarily all bad things. But they are also not always achievable objectives. Even Bill Gates and his enormously rich foundation can’t make much impact on global problems such as poverty, health, education, social services, and so on. That’s not to say it is wrong to try, or to help in a small way, but such issues are complex rather than simple – for example, advocating for childhood immunizations needs to be seen in the context that if a program succeeds, that means there are more hungry mouths to feed as a result; is there also a corresponding growth in food supplies, or has the problem (of allowing people to lead full good lives) simply shifted rather than been solved.
And does simply sending food parcels in anonymous cardboard boxes to impoverished countries in Africa actually advance the Lord’s great plans? When the people who receive the food don’t even understand where it came from or why?
Does More Generous Support Get You Extra Rewards?
Some religious groups link the level of your generosity with the “benefits” you’ll receive in return. We hesitate to single out any one such group, because it is sadly common, but by way of example, this organization encourages its supporters with the promise of being prayed for, getting special invitations to special events, and getting special communications from their leader.
Yes, God loves a generous giver, but a generous giver is someone who gives without expecting something in return.
Giving a group money so as to be prayed for is a commercial, not a Christian transaction. We feel God listens much more closely to the prayers of the person who gives anonymously without expecting anything in return, and to the prayers of people who personally know of that person and their need, than he listens to the “pay for prayer” service with a chorus line of paid prayers reciting lists of people to God who paid to be placed on the list.
This is only slightly changed from one of the key reasons for Martin Luther’s initiation of the Reformation – his objection to the concept of “indulgences” where the Roman Catholic Church levied “fines” on sinners, the payment of which was deemed to then restore a person to a state of grace and with the promise of Heaven returned back to them (and the threat of not going to Heaven being none-too-subtly a consequence if the indulgence is not paid).
We can’t start to imagine the abhorrence that Jesus would feel towards such a practice. He promised us salvation through faith, not through payments. It is hard to think of a practice that doesn’t more directly contradict a cornerstone of the Christian creed – salvation is by faith alone. We recommend you read our commentary about Martin Luther’s 95 theses for more discussion on this central aspect of the Christian faith.
Is a Lavish Fancy Church (and Pastors) a Valid Glorification of God?
Many centuries ago, the most impressive of all buildings were often churches and cathedrals. Even now, some faiths are keen to build major monuments to their faith.
The extraordinary opulence and extravagance in the designs of these buildings were excused and justified as an attempt to mirror the extraordinary majesty of God and the glory of Heaven as best could be done on Earth, and to provide visible depictions of both these concepts to inspire and affirm Christians in their faith.
We like a beautiful church as much as the next person, and of course we like an inspirational church too. Some churches really have a feeling of Godliness about them, and by simply being in their presence, we feel a sense of closeness to the Almighty. But is this really necessary? Did Jesus command his disciples and followers to construct magnificent buildings? Were any of the “early churches” enormous in scale and size (no, they weren’t).
We also note that some of the churches we have most loved tend to be small humble parish churches, and in particular, some of the modern mega-churches and cathedrals feel to us as ungodly and remote from Christian worship as is possible. We don’t sense any relationship between a building’s “grandeur” and cost, and its purpose as a place of Christian worship and fellowship.
That is not to say that it is wrong or bad to build an impressive church and monument to God and our faith. If you feel moved to support such a project, and if you are already fairly supporting other appropriate recipients with your gifts, then of course, by all means, you can and should do whatever you wish to do with your money. This is a subtle point – if you wish to make your church echo the greatness of God, then while it is not necessary, perhaps it is fine to do so (as long as you’re not neglecting other higher priority calls on your generosity). But this is something that should be done from the heart, to glorify God, not as something that comes from your ego, to glorify you and to give you something to boast about.
The concept of highly visible and dominating opulence tended to flow through to the officials of a church, too. In years past – and sometimes still, now – they would wear expensive clothing, have expensive accoutrements, live in palaces, have large retinues of servants, and be given fancy titles.
But, this reminds us of the attitudes of people who serve the rich and famous. Too often they confuse their working for the rich and famous with being somehow rich and famous themselves. If you’ve ever watched Downton Abbey, you’ll have seen how Carson, the butler, while a man from a very common and ordinary background, assumed and expected a prominence, power and respect directly related to that of his master, the Earl. We’ve noticed it being reflected by the cabin crew in the first class cabin of an international flight – rather than being even more humble and obliging to people who can afford ridiculous sums of money to fly in first class, they take on “airs and graces” of their own.
Such affectations by people who are employed by or work for important people are laughable and totally wrong.
We certainly feel happiness and delight in being servants of the Lord, and we are proud to identify as such by our clothing. But that does not give us any personal grandeur, and neither does our “office” (ie job-title) convey any automatic rights or status either, just obligations.
We understand that we are in some very small way advocates of the Christian faith and lifestyle, and as such we need and benefit from certain empowering and efficiencies, and also from having a positive image in the communities we work within and serve. But, that is the key point. We, both as pastors and parishioners, are serving our communities. They are not serving us.
For example, a photocopier clearly is an efficiency when it comes to printing weekly church notices to hand out in services. Some type of musical instruments help the church in its worshipful music. A car makes it easier for us to travel from place to place. And so on. Those are expenditures that make sense.
It is not necessary to take a “vow of poverty” – neither personally, nor handicap the physical church and its functions to only the most basic of features, either. If something is a “force multiplier” and a tool that helps us and the church we serve become more effective in sharing our message and fellowship among its members, then of course, that is to be welcomed.
So if in a location where it gets uncomfortably hot or cold, by all means, heat or cool the church. Provide community lounges and rooms for smaller fellowship meetings and activities. Let’s make our churches the center of our lives, not just a place we dutifully traipse to every Sunday for an hour and then quickly leave again for the rest of the week.
But let’s not make them into monuments to extravagance and wealth. While God is indeed magnificent and powerful beyond our comprehension, are those the attributes he most wishes to be portrayed? Is he not also the God of the meek, mild, and humble, is he not the God of love, is he not also kind and accepting?
What Actually is Tithing? How Much is It?
Tithing is explained in the Old Testament and required the Israelites to give 10% of the crops they grew and the livestock they raised to their tabernacle/temple each year. Old Testament believers gave of their “first fruits”, the best of their crops. It is mentioned in passages such as Leviticus 27:30, Numbers 18:26, Deuteronomy 14:24 and 2 Chronicles 31:5.
Old Testament tithing is actually about more than “only” 10%. There are requirements for multiple tithes to be paid, each one for a different purpose, and in total, coming to more than 20%.
The tithing calculation gets even more complicated. As explained in Leviticus 27:30, the tithe is to be one-tenth of the goods. If the tithe is given in money instead, it should be 12%, not 10%.
The concept of giving 10% of crops and livestock – 10% of the “increase” each year, doesn’t directly translate to modern day income. If you earn, say, $6,000 a month, and have $1,000 taken from that in taxes, and if you have fixed costs of living (home ownership, basic simple food, etc) of $3,000 a month, which number should the 10% apply to? The gross $6,000? The net $5,000? The semi-surplus of $2,000?
Historically, in the Old Testament, the tithe came “off the top” (Deuteronomy 14:24). So that would probably mean one tenth of the $6,000.
One could become even more legalistic – if one has some shares, and they go up in value, but you don’t cash them in, should you pay a tithe on their increased value when you cash them in or each year as you revalue them? What if you bought the shares with after-tithe money in the first place – does that mean you are paying two tithes on the money? What happens if you bought your home twenty years ago for $200,000 and now you need to move, and you sell your home for $750,000 and buy a new home for $800,000 in your new town or city – do you need to pay a tithe on the gross or net profit of your home or can you “roll it forward” into your new home?
We could raise many other questions about the calculation of tithing, and some churches that focus closely on tithing as a source of income doubtless have answers to all these questions, but we’d prefer not to become mechanistic about this, both because we are supposed to give freely and cheerfully (see 2 Corinthians 9:7) and also because tithing is not mandated or required as part of the New Testament Law that we all live under.
The New Testament does talk about the giving of gifts and offerings to the church, and in that respect we can see what Paul says in his first letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 16:1-2) (AMP) :
1 Now concerning the money collected for [the relief of] the saints [in Jerusalem], you are to do the same as I directed the churches of Galatia to do.
2 On the first day of every week each one of you is to put something aside, in proportion to his prosperity, and save it so that no collections [will need to] be made when I come.
This seems to be referring specifically to a fundraising drive for a particular purpose, but there is an underlying principle that stands out – giving in proportion to one’s prosperity.
But we’re not told how to measure prosperity, or what the proportion should be. Paul does not say “tithe”. He does not say “10%”. He could have said this, because the concepts were familiar and common/ordinary/accepted by the Jews, following their Old Testament based laws. But Paul was addressing “New Testament” Christians, for whom the Law no longer applied.
We could ask God for guidance (James 1:5) and the essence is that our giving should be generous, cheerful, and voluntary. Perhaps that is why the New Testament is so vague on how the church should be funded – because it wants us to give from our heart, in accordance with our own determination of what is fair and right, rather than mechanistically doing some arithmetic and figuring out an obligation.
What the Bible Says About Tithing
For something so important to so many churches, it is perhaps surprising that there is no New Testament authority to support the concept of tithing.
According to no less a personage than Billy Graham
However, even then the question as to whether to tithe from one’s net or gross income is not answered in Scripture, nor is the question of whether to give it all to the local church or to include other ministries. We feel that such decisions should be based on personal conviction.
Other Christians who tithe do so simply because they respect the Old Testament principle and find it a helpful place to begin in their giving. They do not believe, however, that tithing is a New Testament obligation. It is not mentioned in the New Testament except where it is describing Old Testament practices or in the Gospels where Jesus is addressing people who were under the Old Testament law.
The article then goes on to cite Luke 11:42, which seems to explain that giving money alone is not what God seeks (AMP) :
42 “But woe (judgment is coming) to you Pharisees, because you [self-righteously] tithe mint and rue and every [little] garden herb [tending to all the minutiae], and yet disregard and neglect justice and the love of God; but these are the things you should have done, without neglecting the others.
This passage is echoed in Matthew 23:23. Supporting our church is a personal voluntary decision and act of love, not a mechanistic accounting transaction and act of compliance.
Here is an excellent article that thoroughly analyzes the topic of Christian tithing, and determines that while we are encouraged to freely give, there is no law or mandate that any of us must give any amount at all to our church. We totally agree.
But, having said that you are not compelled to give to support your church, you should give, but on a voluntary basis, and an amount of your choosing, not a mechanistic 10% tithe.
All churches need to be supported by their congregations. That’s as obvious as can be, and you shouldn’t shirk from participating at whatever level you feel to be fair and appropriate.
We suggest the best answer to this question can be found in 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 (AMP)
6 Now [remember] this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows generously [that blessings may come to others] will also reap generously [and be blessed].
7 Let each one give [thoughtfully and with purpose] just as he has decided in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver [and delights in the one whose heart is in his gift].
8 And God is able to make all grace [every favor and earthly blessing] come in abundance to you, so that you may always [under all circumstances, regardless of the need] have complete sufficiency in everything [being completely self-sufficient in Him], and have an abundance for every good work and act of charity.