Oh that dreaded five letter word that pastors like to use, tithe. Much debated as a practice under the New Covenant, tithing is embraced by some as a Godly requirement and attacked by others as a legalistic throwback to an era before the coming of Christ. I really don’t care which side of the argument you come down on
because in the end we can replace this five letter word with a four letter word, give. I think we can all agree that God calls us to give both of our time and resources.
I never preach about giving when the church is in need of finances.
I know it sounds counterintuitive, after all if you need money then why not ask for it? I never said I don’t ask people to help out, I said I don’t preach about giving at that time. There is nothing more manipulative than telling people that God insists that they give money when what you are really saying is we need money. I would even go as far as to suggest that this is using the Lord’s name in vain. It is wrong to tell someone that God wants them to do something because that something benefits your cause.
I never preach that giving or not giving changes the course of your life.
I’m not saying it doesn’t, I am saying that for me to tell people to give because God will bless them or that their current predicament exists because they are not giving is wrong. We can’t buy God because He doesn’t need what we have. To assume that God works on a cash for blessing basis is to assume that grace and abundant life are not free.
I can’t deny that God calls us to give and I can’t deny that obedience is rewarded, but I will not automatically connect money giving to other people’s lot in life. I would even go as far as to suggest that this is using the Lord’s name in vain. It is wrong to tell someone that God is punishing them so that you can get them to do something that benefits your cause.
I will never let money given remain unused.
This may be an eye-opener to some of you but if people do not believe their church is good with money, they will often designate all the money they give to missions or the benevolent fund. To be obedient to God’s call for us to give without supporting what they see as an ungodly waste or use of funds, people will give to the areas that have the tightest use parameters. If you give to missions the money can only be spent for missionary projects. If you give to the benevolent fund the money must be given to people in need.
It turns out that some pastors and church leaders have figured this out. To put a stop to it they hold back the majority of the money donated to missions and the benevolent fund and inform the congregation that they no longer need money for these two budget items. Why won’t I let money given remain unused? It is wrong to collect money for the mission field and the poor as part of giving to God’s work and then not distribute it so that people will shift their giving to projects that benefit your cause. I would even go as far as to suggest that this is using the Lord’s name in vain.
Money talks or at least we talk a lot about money in church.
It takes money to run an organization but it takes God’s provision to operate a church. The manipulative tactics that some churches employ has led people in the church and outside the church to think that all Christianity is about is getting more money. The poor stewardship and extravagant spending on salaries, programs and facilities has led people in the church and outside the church to think that all Christianity is about is getting more money.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Matthew 25:35-36 (NIV)
For I was hungry and was thirsty and you gave me nothing from your overflowing benevolent fund. I was a stranger to your faith and but you wouldn’t pay for a missionary to teach me. I needed clothes and was sick and you told me if I gave more I would be blessed. I was in prison and you came to visit me so you could tell me that the church was in need of money and as a Christian it is my duty to give.