I am reading Tim Keller’s book Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho Road and he offers a helpful principle. “Be sure that your giving cuts into your own lifestyle so that the burden of the needy falls on you.” He is essentially arguing that if your giving habits do not alter your lifestyle in someway, you aren’t giving enough yet. You should give until you feel pinched.
He also quotes another book by Thomas Gouge, who said that “the poor have a right unto part of thine estate.” God supplies some of us with abundance so that we can steward it properly by giving to meet others needs. Gouge says that the poor man’s bread rots in my cupboard, the poor man’s clothes hangs useless in my closet, and the poor man’s gold rusts in my treasure chest.
What dollar amount out of your monthly income causes you to feel squeezed?
This would need to be determined by each person’s conscience, according to Keller. Are we squeezed when it forces fewer meals out in restaurants? Are we squeezed when we buy a higher mileage used car instead of a new car?
This is convicting for me, because I can force myself to squeeze when OPEC and the Saudi’s want more oil money to waste in Dubai by charging me $4 a gallon for gas, but did I squeeze myself enough for my poor neighbors down the street?