Tithes and Offerings
I get so sick of listening to Pastors talk about money. Why do they continue to do it?
Because church-people as a group are famous for not being generous with money, that’s why. If every person sitting in American churches obeyed the Lord regarding his command to tithe and give—if every person stopped robbing God (this is what God calls it: thievery) no pastor would ever need to preach or discuss money. The lack of obedience regarding money inside our church culture forces Christian leaders to address it. Christians won’t or don’t give as God asks of them, so Clergy are left with the difficult responsibility of reminding people how important it is to give.
Of course, there are terrible cases of pastoral abuse and misuse with money— pastors who persuade heavy tolls into their offering plates behind secret agendas of self-promotion, self-interest and greed. As a clergy member, I’ve apologized nationally, on behalf of all pastors, for these awful crimes.
Unfortunately, there is no industry where embezzlement, greed and materialism don’t exist. This is because every industry has people in it. Including the Church. People aren’t perfect; they sin, disobey God’s statutes on giving and then wonder why Pastor is launching a study on the Book of Micah:
“From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from My statutes and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord of hosts. “Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.” (Micah 3:7, 8, NASB)
Congregational giving keeps the church open, the buildings temperature-controlled, the Bibles in the pews and the coffee pots perking. God made the decree so his Church would not fall into ruin.
Unfortunately, some denominations are more focused on money than others. There are specific TV evangelists we could all picture right now who seem to have been carried away by what the Bible calls “the deceitfulness of riches.” (Matthew 13:22; Mark 4:19) In their defense, most of us have no idea of the cost of television time and what God has required of those who televise the Gospel for him.
Perhaps we should be more compassionate and put ourselves in their shoes.
At the end of the day, we all have a choice. We choose the church we attend, the leaders we listen to and the Bible we read. Every biblical translation encourages our freedoms: “Choose this day whom you will serve; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”(Joshua 24:15) Serving God means we give back—not only out of our obedience, but because of our love for Christ. It means our tithe; ten percent of all our income before taxes; goes to the local church. Then, as the Lord blesses and rebukes the Devil from our bank accounts (Micah 3:11), we are also asked to give offerings above and beyond our tithe—special gifts for people, projects and things.
It’s not a lot to ask when we consider how God oversees our lives. Every breath, every heartbeat comes from above. God’s asking for our money because he knows the truth: If he has our wallets, he has our hearts. Let’s give him both, in joy and generosity! Let’s fund the kingdom so it can function as God intended.
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