Stewardship is an ancient idea and a current concept I wholeheartedly embrace. Historically, the steward was charged with caring for the assets of his master. Those assets were not the steward's property, but he was to treat them as if they belonged to him.
An interesting article called "Money and Property: Whose is It?" by the Trinity Forum explores the roots of the ownership question: "The...view, represented by Jews and Christians, was that human beings have qualified right over money and property. Or, put more precisely, God has the ultimate ownership, but we have stewardship of money, property, and our talents. In the true sense of the old English word steward, we are responsible for the prudent management of an estate that is not our own."
Hopefully you would not use the assets strictly for your benefit and comfort, instead using some to help others.
How much of the money should go to these causes? I subscribe to the theory that the tithe is a current concept, not just something that applies to the Old Testament. Even though the concept of the tithe is thousands of years old, it remains a good plan today. In fact, in ancient Israel the total tithe came to about 31 percent of gross income. That being said, I think 10 percent is a good place to start when considering how much to give.
If you agree with the stewardship argument I put forth earlier, the tithe looks like a pretty good deal. All the money is God's, and you get to keep 90 percent of it. Having said that 10 percent is a good place to start, let me add that I believe it is just that — a starting point, not the finish line. Also, the more money you have the greater percentage you can give, since what you have left is still a substantial sum.
Having determined why I give and how much I should give, I am left with the problem of where to give. RTS is my number one priority for giving because I think the seminary is performing the most important work for the kingdom — preparing men to preach the Word and bring the gospel to the unsaved. In addition, RTS prepares men and women for the vocations of counseling and teaching. There is tremendous leverage in this process. By this I mean that RTS trains these men and women to train others, who train still more people. One RTS graduate can influence countless lives during his or her lifetime of service on this earth.
The old saying goes, "Do your givin' while you're livin' so you're knowin' where it's goin'." It's more fun to give while you are alive because you see what your money accomplishes.
When noted billionaire John D. Rockefeller died, a newspaper reporter asked his accountant, "How much did John D. leave?" His accountant replied, "He left it all." You (and I) will too. The only thing you get to take with you is the satisfaction of knowing that you have made the world a better place through your giving and your good work, and that you have been an important part of an important project.