Generosity Q&As

Download a Generosity Card and Evaluate Your Giving

Where are you on the ladder? Download a card and determine your next step.

What is healthy generosity?

Giving shouldn’t be stressful

God asks us to give joyfully—out of abundance. But God also wants us to give sacrificially. It can seem paradoxical: joyful, yet sacrificial giving? How is that possible?

Oftentimes, we believe it isn't. As a result, some Christians compromise. They don’t give, give irregularly, or give only a small percentage of their income.

The path to joy

God wants us not to put our hope in money, but in him. Money will enslave us until we're free to give it away—until we recognize that it all belongs to the Lord. Once we gain this freedom, we gain joy.

We can't get there overnight. But we can get there one step at a time.

How to grow

By small, consistent acts of faithfulness, we can grow into the truly generous, joyful people we want to be. At Sojourn, we refer to these steps as five rungs on the “Generosity Ladder":

  1. First-time givers have given once or twice.
  2. Occasional givers give rarely.
  3. Consistent givers give regularly.
  4. Tithing givers give 10% of their income.
  5. Abundant givers give over 10%.

What's the next step for you?

Take Your Next Step

Take stock of your giving

Want to see your giving history? Take a look at your most recent yearly giving statements in your profile.

Q&As about Generosity

The Bible talks about money and possessions a lot throughout its 66 books and over 31,102 verses. In fact, there are more than 2,000 scriptures about money and possessions in the Bible, which is twice as many as faith and prayer combined.1 Consider some other statistics:

  • 16 out of 38 of Jesus’ parables deal with money and possessions
  • Nearly 25% of Jesus’ words in the New Testament deal with biblical stewardship
  • 1 out of 10 verses in the Gospels deals with money

Why are money, possessions, and generosity so important for the Christian life? Because money and possessions can either be used for great kingdom impact or money can use us! Money in its right place can be a tool for great good and enjoyment of God’s gifts. Money in a wrong place will become a god, luring us with a false sense of security, hope, and identity. Like all God’s gifts, money can be used "in the flesh" (in greed, envy, lust, jealousy, etc.) or "in the Spirit" (in stewardship, generosity, sharing possessions, helping the poor and loving one’s neighbor, etc.).

If we were to summarize all that the Bible has to say about money and possession into five bullet points, it would be this:

  • God is the owner of all. (Psalm 24:1-2)
  • Everything I have, I have received from God. (James 1:17)
  • God’s good gifts are to be enjoyed, not worshipped.
  • God entrusts me as a steward of his money to manage his resources for my good, others' good, and the advancement of God’s kingdom. (Luke 19:11-26)
  • How I use God’s money will have a direct impact on my heart and my worship (Matthew 6:21)


In the Old Testament levitical law, Israelites were asked to bring 10% of their firstfruits (animals or produce) to the temple on top of several other yearly rituals and offerings. While the New Testament doesn’t prescribe an exact number or percentage of how much believers should be giving to the local church, it does offer some principles. Here are some admonitions (from Paul’s writings to the church in Corinth) on how to give:3

  • Generously (2 Corinthians 8:2-4; 9:6)
  • Regularly/systematically (1 Corinthians 16:2)
  • Proportionally (1 Corinthians 16:2; 2 Corinthians 8:11-12)
  • Sacrificially (2 Corinthians 8:3-5)
  • Willingly (2 Corinthians 8:11-12)
  • Voluntarily (2 Corinthians 9:7)
  • Cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:7)
  • Eagerly (2 Corinthians 8:10-11; 9:2)
  • Enthusiastically (2 Corinthians 9:2)
  • Excellently (2 Corinthians 8:7)
  • Strategically (2 Corinthians 9:12-15)
  • Scrupulously (1 Corinthians 16:3-4; 2 Corinthians 8:18-21)

You mind find it helpful to read the FAQ question on tithing below for further thoughts on this subject.

3   The Biblical Purpose of Money: A Balanced View (A Thesis by Taylor Martin Wise, RTS SEminary, 2025, p. 200)

Generosity is not primarily measured by how much you give, but by the posture of your heart and the willingness to sacrifice for Jesus and his kingdom.

In Mark 12:41-44, Jesus tells the story of a widow who gave “two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents” and compared her to “many rich people [who] threw in large amounts.” Jesus uses this moment to teach his disciples: “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

In 2 Corinthians 8:12, Paul tells the church, “the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.” Instead of measuring your generosity on how much you give, evaluate if you are giving cheerfully and proportionately to what God has provided for you in this season.

No matter how little or much you make, giving proportionally and regularly is a key opportunity to follow through with your conviction to use what God has given you for the advancement of his kingdom. Giving when you have little also builds discipline into the rhythms of your life so that as time grows and money increases, it will be more natural for you to continue giving regularly and proportionally to how God has provided for you.

The word tithe comes from the Hebrew word for “tenth” and refers to the Old Testament requirement that Israelites give 10% of their goods (animals or produce) for various purposes and events. In fact, the Old Testament Law required multiple tithes—one for the Levites, one for the use of the temple and the feasts, and one for the poor of the land—which would have pushed the total to around 23.3 percent.4 Here are a few Old Testament examples:

A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD. -Leviticus 27:30

I give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance in return for the work they do while serving at the tent of meeting. -Numbers 18:21:

Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops. -Proverbs 3:9

While the New Testament doesn’t instruct every Christian to give 10% of their income to the church, it does encourage believes to give regularly (1 Corinthians 16:2), cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:7), sacrificially (2 Corinthians 8:3-5), and proportionally ( 2 Corinthians 8:11-12).

When considering the Old Testament standard for Israelites to give 10-20% of their income away, why not aim for a similar percentage? As Randy Alcorn says,

There's a timeless truth behind the concept of giving God our firstfruits. Whether or not the tithe is still the minimal measure of those firstfruits, I ask myself, "Does God expect His New Covenant children to give less or more?" Jesus raised the spiritual bar; he never lowered it.

In principle, we would encourage every Christian to be working towards giving 10% or more of their income away each year to the local church and beyond. Start somewhere and take your next step in stewarding God’s resources. If you’re currently giving 2% of your income, what would it look like to give 3%? If you’re giving 7% of your income, what would it look like to give 8%? If you’re giving 15% of your income, what would giving 16% look like?


There are no biblical rules on what to do in this situation, but here are a few ways to think through this question.

One way would be to calculate your profit (income minus expenses) every month and give a percentage of that each month to the church. For example, if your income is $8,000 and your expenses are $4,000, your profit would be $4,000. You could give a portion of that $4,000 to the church that month. Your giving may not look the same each month, but you would be faithfully and proportionally giving based on your monthly profit.

Another way to give if you own your own business is to give based upon minimum estimated profit and adjust at the end of the year. For example, you might estimate your profit will probably be between $35,000–$70,000 by the end of the year. So you decide to give conservatively on a monthly basis (10% of $35,000) to the church. At the end of the year, if you make more than $35,000, you could give a one-time year-end gift based on the profit you received beyond what you estimated.

There are two passages of scripture that are extra helpful in answering this question. The first is Number 18:21. It says,

To the Levites I have given every tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service that they do, their service in the tent of meeting.

The second is 1 Corinthians 9:13-14. It says,

Don’t you realize that those who work in the temple get their meals from the offerings brought to the temple? And those who serve at the altar get a share of the sacrificial offerings. In the same way, the Lord ordered that those who preach the Good News should be supported by those who benefit from it.

The principle in the Old Testament and New Testament is that God’s leaders (Levites in the Old Testament, pastors in the New Testament) are supported by those who directly benefit from their work. In the Old Testament, 10% was given to the Levitical priests for the service they provided God’s people. In the New Testament, Paul reminds the Corinthians that “those who preach the Good News should be supported by those who benefit from it" (1 Corinthians 9:14).

In summary, we would not say Christians should only give to the local church, but that they should prioritize the local church above all other giving. Just as a father would not provide for the food and needs of other children above their own, the people of God should not give beyond the local church before giving to the local church. There are many ministries and missionaries that are worthy of your support and gifts. But none of these ministries or ministers play as vital a role in your health, care, and spiritual growth as your local church and local pastors.

The Bible gives us several principles to consider when answering this question. In the Old Testament, Israel was to offer their “first and best.” In Genesis 4, we see Cain giving an offering of the firstborn of his flock. In Leviticus 23:10, we see this command for the nation of Israel:

When you come into the land which I give you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest.

In Malachi 1, God scolds Isreal for offering blind and diseased animals. Malachi 1:8 says,

"When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the LORD Almighty.

Proverbs 3:9 says,

Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops, then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.

These Old Testament principles remind us that we shouldn’t spend the money we have however we want and give God what’s left over. He deserves the first and best of what we have. The principle is this, if the government gets a percentage of our money off the top, then shouldn’t King Jesus be worthy of the same?

We also want to say clearly that this isn’t a "gospel issue." You don’t have to agree with us on this point to be a church member. We wouldn’t cease to love and accept you if you disagree, but we would also say the pattern of firstfruits in the Bible is worthy of your consideration.

At Sojourn Midtown, we regularly offer Financial Peace University as an environment to grow in financial literacy and wise financial practices. We also provide individual or marital financial coaching for those trying to work through particular financial challenges. To learn more about either of these, please contact Steve Watkins.

Below are some books we find helpful and practical for wise stewardship of your money and resources.


Redeeming Money

Redeeming Money

How God Reveals and Reorients Our Hearts
Paul David Tripp
The Treasure Principle

The Treasure Principle

Unlocking the Secret of Joyful Giving
Randy Acorn
The Money Challenge

The Money Challenge

30 Days of Discovering God's Design for You and Your Money
Art Rainer
Money Problems, Marriage Solutions

Money Problems, Marriage Solutions

7 Keys to Aligning Your Finances and Uniting Your Hearts
Chuck Bentley

Generosity and Membership

Being a member means being all in. Members at Midtown commit to giving regularly, sacrificially, and cheerfully.

Your Next Steps

First-time givers Begin your journey

Occasional givers Commit to generosity

Consistent, tithing, and abundant givers Give greater

More Ways to Give

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About Us

Sojourn Midtown is a part of the Sojourn family of churches. Our mission is to reach people with the gospel, build them up as the church, and send them into the world.

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Sojourn Midtown  1207 S Shelby St Louisville, KY 40203 · · 502 237 1122