Daily Bible verses, tithing, and the three most important things!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mtsofan/3396206919/This morning I opened the ChristianBlog.Com website and lo-and-behold there was noDaily Bible Verse displaying!

"Meh?" I asked myself.

Turns out, today is a leap day, and because there has not been a Feb 29th over the last three years we have had a daily bible verse, there was never one made for feb-29.

So I had the extremely rare chance to add one. The first time in at least three years I think.

In order to find a new Bible verse for today, I went meandering around the online Bible we have here at CB and came across Matthew 23:23:

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you take tithes of mint, dill, and cummin, and you have overlooked the more important matters of the law, such as justice, mercy, and trustworthiness. These were necessary for you to have done, and these very things by no means to have left undone." (peshitta)

I have been pondering a lot on an age old issue that many clergy/ministers are faced with, at some point other another in their life.

Should clergy/ministers tithe?

There are those who say "no" because it would be a 'tithe on a tithe' - that being, the clergy/minister is financially supported through the tithes to the church/ministry.

There are those who say "yes" because regardless of whether or not the funds have already been tithed on, all are suppose to tithe. But, are they? Some say that is not true.

In regards to the latter option, there are those who point out that those who have served the temples of God have never been asked to tithe of their tithe. At most, they were to tithe (sacrifice) a perfect yearling sheep/goat, but there is zero deference that the sacrificed lamb was suppose to come from the priests own herd. Chances are, very good chances, that the priests did not have a herd large enough, or even own one, and thus the lamb was provided to them as part of a tithe to either the priest or the temple. That said, all of this is, too, just speculation, the Holy Text never truly details this information.

Anyway, even after twenty years of studying this issue I am still at as much of a loss as I was when I started studying this issue. This is one of those areas where, as a elder in a church I once served at, use to say, "where the bible is quiet{about an issue}, it is meant to be". Sometimes all we can do is take what we do know, or what we do not know, and choose a path, and stay walking on that path until something reveals itself that we should take another path.

There are those, here at ChristianBlog.Com that have chosen to offer their tithe to the CB ministry. They are the "unchurch christians" (if we are still allowed to use that term in 2016) that feel blessed to give their tithe to the CB ministry as a result of their receiving and giving such a great deal of their life to the community, the ministry, that is ChristianBlog.Com

More and more Christians from around the world, that are bloggers at ChristianBlog.Com website, are not only being supportive by having a non-free account, but are giving above and beyond by giving by offering of their tithe to the ministry. This has had me pondering on whether or not I, and thereby CB, should start giving above-and-beyond too. Perhaps to a missionary abroad, or a missionary serving in a sub-poverty region of the USA (native american reservation, for example). Or, if that would fall into the "tithe on a tithe" aspect of things, and thereby be against the spirit of the tithe. Given the fact that I am now a minister living in sub-poverty, it further leads me to view all of this from a different perspective than in years past.

I suppose in the end, perhaps the bigger issue here is not whether or not I give of what little funds I do have, but rather if I enforce justice to those who it is warranted, and if I provide mercy in those times when mercy needs to be given instead of justice, and if, through those times when I have to make those decisions, if others view me as somebody who can be trustworthy in which direction I choose to go. "And take care of yourself, that you present yourself perfectly before God, a laborer without shame" - 2 Timothy 2:15 (Aramaic Bible in Plain English)

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 John B. Abela+ (@abelajohnb)

I am the owner of ChristianBlog and a believer in God's blessings!

I have been a minister for 20+ years and suppose I would describe myself as a literal messianic levitican.

I do not publish very many blogs as I tend to spend my time working on the CB website.

The motto of ChristianBlog.Com is "A place to be blessed and to bless othersI" and I truly do hope that is something that applies to you!

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You bring up a very interesting question which I have never thought about before. I grew up in a denomination where the pastors paid tithes as well and a tenth of what the local church received in turn went to support the individual over the district who in turn had also paid tithes into THEIR local church and so forth. This went all the way up through the regional, national and international level. As for the person who was at the "top", well, that person paid tithes to their local church. You get the idea. Paying tithes wasn't a test for membership (my current denomination does check that when you apply for membership) nor was it supposed to be made public if you did not but interestingly enough, ministers, whether they had a pulpit or not, were required to answer the question in their quarterly report.

As for paying tithes, I can't answer the question in regards to when you are in the ministry but I can share what happened to us right after I lost my job due to health issues and we were facing a 60% loss of income. I remember that day very well. It was a Sunday afternoon and we had just heard a message about tithing. My husband and I have always tithed but we would tithe on our net rather than our gross. That had always been a question skirted around when I was a girl. The logic had been you pay tithe on what you actually receive into your hand. That day, I realized all the "benefits" we received from money taken out from our gross. Yes, a lot of it was taxes but much of that paid for public services provided. We also paid for health insurance, retirement, etc. Hmm...

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So many varied views on this subject I stray away from it. Your a brave man John.
Since K gave her wonderful testimonial I thought I would share the polar opposite - mine.

When I was in ministry I never tithed to the organization I was working for: My time vs pay was largely voluntary. I did give time and money (tithe if you like) to other community based organizations, what percentage of both I have no clue. I have never been big on the percentage factor since I have always worked with the moderate to poor. When your having trouble feeding your children, can't make the rent or afford to fix the car to make it to work how do you ask them to pay more than what they themselves feel they can give.

We have x number of individuals and organizations we give too today, granted not much and some of them not monthly.
As K showed and your blog reveals tithing is a very personal thing. As an ("un-churched christian") at least one of no affiliation to one with a building (that fair to say?) my view today, if someone gives at all to support a ministry (money and/or time) they are at least moving in the right direction. Let the One that is most personal of all convict/reward as He sees fit.

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I think that he who provides mercy when justice is the obvious path is the bigger man.

I have been re reading the story of Hosea and indeed mercy pours from that book.

Mercy flowing from Christ follows me therefore I would rejoice to be known as merciful , rather though I am sometimes abrupt, judgemental and harsh.

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Was looking at this chapter on Sunday with my eldest but with rather a different focus.

As for the tithing question, I feel like from an old covenant perspective the answer to your question would be yes, based for example on Numbers 18:21-32, so I don't know if 'a tithe on a tithe' could really be considered to be "against the spirit of the tithe" per se. As K says, and 2 Cor 9:6-11 agrees, "whenever God lays it upon your heart to give, whether it be a tithe or offering, you can be confident that He will not only honor it but enable you to do so".

Under the new covenant, I don't see anything which expressly changes the Old Testament yes to a no for people who earn their income from ministry, e.g.:

- Matthew 10:8-10
- Matthew 23:23-27

Now, most of the people I know involved in ministry who receive a regular, reliable salary do tithe, whether their earnings come from ministry or another employment.

But in the past, I was part of a group where the workers (ministers) received only donations and had no real property of their own, moving around lodging with different families. They would cite Matthew 10 as their modus operandum. Hard for them to tithe really, when dealing with erratic donations, and when the bulk of what they received, be it meals with families or clothing or a bed for the night, was not really shareable.

Bottom line is, you are right in that last paragraph - "justice, mercy and faithfulness" (and, I would add from the following verses, being clean from "greed and self-indulgence", "hypocrisy and wickedness") are to be prioritised over making gifts from our income.

God bless,

Sarah

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