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
I enjoyed reading your blog and agree with most of what you said. My husband and I as well do not “belong” to a particular church but have been led for years as to where to give the initial 10%. We move around as the Lord leads and, believe me, there is no shortage of places and people in need.
The only area in which I may have some disagreement with what you wrote is, “We should stretch our faith and prove God herewith by giving all we can.”
My belief is that 100% of what is in our care belongs to the Lord. Absolutely nothing is mine. Therefore, I don’t believe that it is a matter of what we can give. Again, it is a matter of obedience. As Paul said to the assembly at Corinth, “But to have equality, your surplus over necessity at the present time going to meet their want and to equalize the difference created by it, so that their surplus in turn may be given to supply your want. Thus there may be equality. As it is written, He who gathered much had nothing over and he who gathered little did not lack.”
Bills (debt) are absolutely no excuse for not giving. God warned us against debt and if we have disobeyed Him by getting into debt, He does not make allowance for it. Since the fall of man there has been the struggle between the world and Him. This is just one area of that struggle. We cannot serve both.
One other thing I would like to add is that too many times people have felt that by writing that check for 10% of their income makes them obedient. In reality, that is the easy way out. Yes, write that check if led to do it, but Jesus also said “Go.” Writing that check does not come in the place of “Go;” even if the go in your life is prayer.
This is a topic which has become near and dear to my heart more and more with each passing year. It saddens me to hear Christians argue [i]against[/i] tithing claiming it was only in the OT and we are not under that "law" anymore or that we are free to tithe whatever we decide is [i]enough[/i] whether it is 10%, 5%, 1%, 0.5% or nothing because we have to pay other people first, you know! I think you stated it well when you wrote:
[quote]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.[/quote]
My husband and I give both tithes [b]and[/b] offerings. They are not the same thing. We bring our tithes recognizing that all that we have is from God. It is also our way of thanking Him as well as caring for those who are in His service. Most of my life, I had pastors who had to "wait on tables" in order to provide for their families because either the church was too small to support them or people failed to pay their tithes. That is a shame!
We give offerings because we desire to bless God and others. As you say, offerings should not be restricted only to the local church. To tell you the truth, I have never attended a church where the offerings were left exclusively "in the church". While some did go for operating costs like paying the light bill and repairs, a good percentage went out to support the Gospel in various ways such as supporting missionaries, printing Bibles, tracts and teaching curriculum, funding orphanages, etc.
The church I attend gives to a number of ministries and projects both locally and globally so when I give to them, I give to those things. However... I feel it is important that I myself select some specific things to give to on my own and I do.
In the New Testament we read that the Philippian Church was very poor but they did not let that stop them from giving! Will we do the same?
It may surprise you, but I agree with you B2Y. (But you still need to find a church:) A local one also.
Personally I pray about where God would have me give His money, and ignore all the greed of others:)
You are accountable to God regarding. His storehouse is MUCH bigger than a church building. God Bless Brother.