I do not think there is much disagreement regarding God’s instruction with respect to giving. It is plainly stated that we are to give 10% of our income as a tithe to God. In the New Testament Paul expands this to say that we should give all we can, for that is what love is all about. Any attempts to justify giving less than 10% are nothing but selfish means to circumvent the truth.
In my mind the question is not whether we are to give but where we give. If a survey were taken of Christians who faithfully tithe, the overwhelming majority would say that the tithe must be given to the church. I believe this narrow minded interpretation of giving has resulted in unmet needs within the Body of Christ and fiscal abuse within the church.
If we were Jews living under the dictates of The Law, there is no question where the tithe would go. All tithes and offerings were to be given to the priests and at the Temple. But, we are not Jews living under the dictates of The Law. We are Christians living under the law of Love. The law of Love dictates that we give to whomever and wherever the love of Christ is manifested.
Limiting our giving to only the church we belong to severely hampers God’s ability to meet and supply the needs of His people. By being locked into a narrow minded definition of tithing to only include gifts made to the church leaves a multitude of needs unmet within the Body outside of the local church.
I have been in churches that use all the money brought in to run their church. They have no funds allocated for charity or meeting the needs of its members. All the money is used to pay salaries, mortgage and other bills. To me, this is totally upside down and cannot be what God intended when He instituted the law of giving.
My wife and I do not “belong” to a church. Many say we cannot be Christians because of this. Others say that if we are Christians and are going to tithe, we must find a church to give to. I vehemently disagree with both of these arguments.
I believe that God has stated clearly in 2 Corinthians 9:7 the guidelines regarding giving in our current administration:
“ As every man purposeth in his heart, so let him give, not grudgingly or out of compulsion; for God loveth the cheerful giver.”
I believe that the law of Love allows us the freedom to give as we feel led by the Holy Spirit go give. I believe we are free to give to individual believers as we see a need, to charities that really help others and to on line Christian blogging sites that are spreading the Gospel. In other words, I believe that God has left it up to each believer to determine in his heart where and how much to give. I believe giving should spring naturally from the love in hearts for God and each other.
Some believe their tithe should go only to their church and only the church disperses funds to meet needs. I cannot buy into this rationale for I see no basis for it in the New Testament. If a person determines in his heart to give 10% to their church, that is wonderful. But, if a believer wants to give only 7% to the church and 3% to Christian Blog, that is wonderful also.
The reality of the situation is that in our current administration of grace, we should not be content with giving only 10%. We should stretch our faith and prove God herewith by giving all we can. We should be praying for prosperity not for ourselves but to be able to give more. I once knew a man who gave 95% of all he made to the ministry and to individuals who had needs. This defines what giving is all about.
It has been said countless times that we cannot afford to NOT give, and I agree. The minute we cut back on giving due to bills etc, is the moment we cut ourselves off from God’s ability to meet our needs. This is why we must strive to give more and not be held back by a tough economy and not confine our giving only to the local church.
“But this I say: He who soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly, and he who soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
As every man purposeth in his heart, so let him give, not grudgingly or out of compulsion; for God loveth the cheerful giver.
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound in every good work.”
2 Corinthians 9:6-8