Author’s Note: These posts were written out of frustration with something I feel very strongly about—to the point of being bitter. This is not the right way to handle a disagreement of this sort. That’s not to say that as some would suggest, that we as Christians should all sing Kum Ba Ya and get along on everything, but that is to say that in disagreeing, there are good and productive ways to voice a difference. On the other side, there are negative, hurtful, and destructive ways to disagree.
In some of my posts, I went about the disagreement in a way that may be topically correct but strategically wrong. The result is that the point is correct and scripturally sound, but the correction is harsh and makes it difficult for some to embrace the correction or to change. Because of that, I’ve considered pulling these posts from the blog. However, there are some good points here in both the main text and the comments that are worth keeping. Add to that my purist view of blogging—once written, it stays. And other than censorship for spelling or blatantly offensive language, comments are left “as is”. So please read on, but with these comments in mind.
I reminded a person who commented that I do not advocate NOT giving to a church or ministry. On the contrary, we need to support the work that is being done and in a very practical way, sometimes that means providing for the electric bill to be paid, or providing for the gas to keep us warm in the colder times. Here’s the reminder:
Does this mean we should not give to the church? Heavens no!
2 Corinthians 9:7
Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
That “under compulsion” would include the so-called tithe!
What I do not advocate is the broad interpretation and misapplication of a Mosaic Law that deals with crops and livestock to the modern day Believer—as if money didn’t exist in the days of Moses, and as if farming does not exist today.
If people believe in what you are doing, they will give to support the work. If the mission is clear and they can see results, they will give. And people ARE generous in giving to what they believe in. To exploit that and to make giving a matter of “religious duty” is NOT ACCEPTABLE.
Here are some examples of where people give (gave) without COMPULSION because they support the message or the mission:
- Barack Obama’s campaign (Sadly!) ($750 million!)
- Hillary Clinton’s campaign (Money down a rat hole as well!)
- John McCain’s campaign
- The American Red Cross
- National Public Radio (NPR)
- Public Broadcasting (PBS)
- Focus on the Family
And the list could go on and on. But I wanted to stop and point out the last two. The reach of these two organizations is huge! Yet neither one collects a “tithe”. They are supported, largely or in part, by those who have come alongside them in seeing the need for the work to get done.
There are local churches and/or fellowships that do not practice “tithing”, but do collect offerings. So how is it that they do it and get by, and the church that practices tithing is struggling?
Ask the leadership of the struggling church and the answer would be “that people are not being obedient in their giving”. At the next business meeting, out comes the slide showing how many families gave less than $100, more than $100 but less than $500, over $500 but less than $1,000, and so on. And if you add up the number of families, it doesn’t total the number of families on the roll.
Are we counting the right things here?
Are we counting the number of people saved this week? Helped? Served? Fed? Baptized?
If we really believe the message given on that hillside so many centuries ago, even the church needs to first seek the Kingdom of God and the needs will be met. That may mean not having the fanciest building, the nicest carpet, the snazziest A/V system—but last I read my Bible, those things don’t last anyway. Where is the Church putting its treasure?