Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Tithing Tangent

In churches all across America today, the pastor undoubtedly stood in the pulpit and encouraged the people in the pews to give a tenth of their income to the church. Some folks sat and thought to themselves, “Why should I give 10 percent to the church? Why should the pastor drive a Benz while the parishioners are on the bus?” These folks either reached in their wallets and gave anyway, or they passed the bucket without contributing and continued to participate in the service. This seems to be a popular sentiment among non-believers and believers, alike. People who give their hard earned money to the church are looked at as gullible fools, paying for some robed crook’s lavish lifestyle. So, what’s the deal here? Is tithing a gimmick? Are preachers pimping their congregations?

Tithing is specifically mandated in the Old Testament (Leviticus 27:30; Numbers 18:26; Deuteronomy 14:24; 2 Chronicles 31:5; Malachi 3:8-11) but is not mentioned in the New Testament. It is made clear throughout the New Testament that giving is important and that the needs of the Body of Christ should be met by believers. (2 Corinthians 9:6-12; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2; Acts 4:34-37) If we aren’t bound by the Old Testament law as Christians, specifically giving 10 percent isn’t necessary, right? Doesn’t it count if I volunteer or give money to my brother? Why should we give anything to the church at all?

Paul said to give “in keeping with your income” to benefit the Body of Christ. (1 Corinthians 16:1-2;) This says to me that you are to be consistent in your giving and a percentage of your weekly earnings should be given to the community of believers to which you belong (i.e. YOUR CHURCH). If you can’t give 10 percent without taking food from your children, use the common sense God gave you and give less, but give what you can. If 10 percent is just a drop in the bucket to you, it is your duty to give more.

Ok, so I know some of y’all clenched your booties at that last sentence, so, let’s get away from the bible verses and look at practical reasons why you should give generously to your church AND your pastor.

1) It’s not your money anyway - We get really uptight about material things that aren’t even ours to begin with. God has provided you with the skills and the favor to earn a living. Whatever you make on your job belongs to Him. Who are we to complain about giving a portion back to Him?

Some would say, “But you’re not giving your money to God, you’re giving it to the church.” The church was established to fulfill God’s purpose, therefore, when you provide for the church you are giving back to God.

Others would say, “But you’re giving money to the Pastor and he’s not doing anything with it but buying fancy suits.” This leads me to my next point.

2) Don’t worry about what the pastor is doing with the money - Does the person in charge of payroll at your job ask you what you do with your paycheck on the 1st and 15th? Your pastor is doing a job and deserves to be compensated. If you don’t think your pastor is doing a good job, find another church. You are not obligated to support a pastor that is not sowing into your life but it is unfair for you to sit in the pews every Sunday and be blessed by their labor without giving back to the pastor and the church.

Have you ever noticed how the heat is turned up on your life when you decide to seriously commit yourself to Christ? Can you imagine how much hotter it gets in the spiritual kitchen when you’re responsible for bringing souls to Christ and being a shepherd to God’s own flock? That’s no small task. Ministers of the Gospel go through untold turmoil on our behalf. Can a monetary value be put on the work they do? Souls are at stake when they get up to do their jobs. If anyone deserves to be paid well, wouldn’t it be them?

Once again, if you are not being fed spiritually at your church, find someplace where you can grow in God. You are doing yourself a disservice by staying in a stagnant place. Move! When you find the right church, you should want to give generously to your pastor because you will see the value they have added to your spiritual life.

3) The church has needs - The physical church is a building like any other, with a light bill, gas bill, etc. You sit under the lights and central air every Sunday but don’t think it’s your responsibility to financially contribute to the church? How do you think they pay the bills every month? You complain about them not doing enough for the community but how can they do so without any money? It takes money to run HIV/AID prevention and support programs. It takes money to run food banks and job training centers.

If you can honestly say your church isn’t even trying to positively impact the community outside it’s four walls, you need to find a church that is. It really is that simple.

Lastly, don’t complain about what a church is or isn’t doing in the community if you don’t know. Especially, if it’s not your church. It’s easy to throw stones at mega churches but you may be surprised at the good they’re doing in the community if you took the time to go inside and find out.
Leave me a comment and let me know your viewpoint. I'd love to hear from you!