It seems as if tithing is a pretty hot topic at ChristianBlog.Com. This is why this blog is not open for comments. I don't want to open up a can of worms, however as I have been reading the comments of others on tithing a few things have bothered me and I would like to comment on tithing in general.
I hope that some of the blogs I have read have simply not come across as intended. I hope the writers were trying to say "Don't be satisfied with just giving God 10% of your money. God deserves your offerings both monetary and non-monetary." Unfortunately, that is not the way it has always come across. It has often seemed to me that the writers are begrudging God even that 10%!
I've read complaints about tithes being received by the church. I'd like to suggest that those people who believe that to be wrong go back and look at how God commanded the land of Israel to be divided up amongst the Israelites. The tribe of Levi (the priests) were not given any land. Instead, they were dispersed among all of the tribes. Those tribes were to provide physical care for those Levites and their families so that the Levites would be free to minister to and teach the people.
I realize there are some pastors that have absolutely no business being pastors. They don't have the heart of a pastor and all they are is a wolf in sheep's clothing. If you have a pastor like that, you and your church need to either get on your knees and ask God to change your pastor or ask God if it is time to move somewhere else.
Over the years, I haven't seen that many pastors who live in financial paradise. The truth of the matter is that many of them have to work one or even two jobs (in addition to pastoring) to even make ends meet while their membership is often living in beautiful homes with nice cars and all kinds of other amenities. This is shameful! Many pastors have willingly given up everything to be of service to God. If you object to giving 10% to help support the ministry, I think it might be time to examine your heart and figure out why you find it offering financial support so objectionable!
I'd read that the word "tithe" does not appear in the New Testament and that the law ceased with Jesus. Jesus came to fulfill the law, not destroy it. He never told people not to give. He drove money-changers out of the temple because they were cheating the people, but he never made any objections to people giving in the temple. In fact, in the Old Testament, God was very angry that his house lay in ruins while the people had built up their homes and communities.
I couldn't help but think about the story of the woman with two mites. Jesus mentions that this woman gave everything she had and yet he never runs up to
her and prevents her from giving. I think we should feel blessed to be able to give tithes and offerings to support the ministry.
As far as giving to others in the charitable sense, no one is stopping you from doing that on your own. I happen to belong to a church that strives to give back to the community. They provide financial support for other programs besides their own. They also provide manpower as well. They provide financial support for an inner city ministry and pay for them to have an administrative assistant. We get teams of volunteers to package food for Feed My Starving Children. We have teams that go to hospitals, prisons, shelters, the Ronald McDonald house, etc. We thank God that he has provided us with the means to do these things.
However, even though these things are happening in my local church, my husband and I also continue to give offerings to God outside of the church as well. We give to a school for adults in NYC. We contribute to various aid organizations and sponsor a child. We sponsor Bibles as well as the families of pastors who have been imprisoned for preaching the gospel. The list goes on and on.
I am only sharing this because I want to emphasize that nothing is stopping you from giving outside of your local church. Tithing is only an accountability piece. It is a way to remind me that I need give at least 10% back to the one everything belongs to in the first place. While my salvation is not based upon whether or not I tithe, my growth as a Christian is!
I recently heard about a study that was done. After polling a number of Christians it was discovered that their tithes and offerings came out to less than 2% of their incomes. Does God deserve more than that from us? Absolutely!
There's one more thing I'd like to comment on. Many of us at ChristianBlog.Com are what would be considered mature Christians. We've been walking this walk for a long time. I think we need to remember that there are probably many new and baby Christians. That being said, I think we need to remember to be very careful about what we say in regards to churches, pastors, etc. I am not saying that the problems which plague the church should be swept under the rug. I'm just wanting to remind us that we do not want to become stumbling blocks that cause other Christians to fall. If you feel you do need to write about a bad experience so that others may avoid that pitfall, please let God do the writing through you. That will ensure that it will be an uplifting learning experience and there won't be any misunderstandings.
Love in Christ Jesus,