The question of the role giving should play in the lives of Christians arises fairly often and in my experience the answers vary depending on who is broaching the subject. There can be no doubt that giving both talent and treasure should play a central role in lives of Christians. How much should we give? Great question! I believe the tithe is a good place to start but it is certainly not the end of the giving one ought to do. Though some would say we are no longer under the law and are therefore not obligated to tithe, I would respond to that by saying, we are no longer under the law, is murder now okay? Of course not! By the way, the tithe came before the law (Gen. 14:18-20), was practiced under the law (Malachi 3:10), and is at work after the law (Matt. 23:23).
Now here is something many Christians do not consider: the gift of one’s time in service to the body of Christ. The 80-20 rule (80% of the work in the local church being completed by 20% of the congregation) ought never to exist in the local church. Rather, there should be so many volunteers for the various ministries of the church that people need only serve a few times a year. Regrettably the 80-20 rule has been the norm in my experience. The church needs more people willing to serve the body of Christ across all ministry areas!
This leads me into the next point: Christians should feel free to give to other causes worthy of their time and treasure. I teach a budgeting/money management class each week for a work recovery ministry. This is not a ministry supported by the church where my family and I are members though the ministry is well known in our area of Metro Atlanta. This is a ministry where my educational background is put to very good use. Here’s the thing: my wife and I understand that we cannot support every worthy cause, Christian or secular, that has need of funding and volunteer hours. But the fact that we cannot contribute to all of them should not prevent us from contributing to some.