I believe most Christ followers want to be givers, not just consumers. Most want to be free from the love of money and to be seen as generous with their time, their abilities and their monies. Becoming this type of person takes time and intentionality, plus lots of obedience and some measure of faith. In my experience, I believe there are four phases of giving and generosity.
These are people who give the leftovers of their money. This level requires hardly any faith and is motivated primarily by guilt or duty. They are typically inconsistent, giving only when prompted by a pastor at a church, or by an appeal on TV. If they have money, they will give a portion, but the amount never stretches them out of their comfort zone and always makes “sense”. Almost 90% of people in most local churches are in this group.
These are people who set aside the first 10% of their income to give to the local church. This is a huge step up from the first level, because some faith now enters the equation. These people believe that God can do more with the remaining 90% if they are willing give the first. Tithers typically give consistently and seldom have to be prompted or “motivated” to give. They give even when it seems risky or when not giving would ease another temporary financial burden.
These people have discovered the joy of giving and are now on the lookout for opportunities to bless other people. While still tithing, they give even more to ministries, single parents, missionaries, and struggling neighbors. These people are super budget conscious, intentionally living below their means and setting aside money now, to give later. They love to hear about dreams and ideas to build the Kingdom. They’re never offended at being asked to give because they see it as a privilege and as worship.
4. Extravagant Givers
These people are radical about their giving. This is an elite group that is willing to give everything. They carry the same faith as the widow seen by Jesus in the temple giving all she had to live on. They completely believe that God owns it all and they are just stewards. They are prayerful and wise about their giving, but will not hesitate to give large percentages if God speaks. This group prefers anonymity and will ask a lot of really good questions because they need details. They take their time getting to know ministry leaders and only give when they see high levels of accountability and integrity.