Last night after bible study we ended up having a discussion about tithing (giving 10% of your income to the church) and whether Christians should do it or not. It came about after one of the guys talked to a friend who came from a church that pushed tithing. Hard.
My view on the subject is this: We don’t have to do it, but it is an appropriate response to God providing us with a church. The church (locally in this instance) needs money to run, to pay the ministers, to help fund missionaries and charities, and it can’t get this money without asking for it (well, some churches I know of buy properties and rent them out, but that only acts as a supplement, not a primary income).
If everyone at pretty much any church in Australia gave 10% of their income (net income, I don’t count the money that is taken from my pay in tax – it was never my money ) to their local church, I think we would see a major shift in the view of the church. There would be huge amounts of money for charity work, probably enough to make a real dent in poverty and homelessness. We could pay for our pastors (and not just them, anyone who needs it) to get further training. We could make sure that everyone who wanted a bible could have one. For free.
It would make a huge difference.
But most christians just give what’s left in their wallets at the end of the week. It’s not wrong, but it’s sad. I think that your church should be an extension of your family, and we don’t/shouldn’t treat our families stingily. I think it is often a lack of trust that convinces people that they shouldn’t give large sums of money away. They need it for themselves and their families. Which could be true, but usually isn’t.
22Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 26Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
27“Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
If you haven’t guessed, Jen and I tithe what we earn. It was something my parents taught me to do from a young age. Mum always said that if I couldn’t afford to tithe now, and I said I would do it when I earned more money, that I would never do it. I think my mum is very wise. If we can trust God with what little we have, he will give us plenty more (that we should then use for his benefit).
I guess what prompted this little sermon is that in the mail today we got a letter from the Australian Government telling us they had underpayed us our family tax benefit for this year, and so they were giving us a further $1,300. Which is pretty much exactly how much it will cost for us to pay for registration and insurance on the car, which we weren’t sure if we would be able to afford without dipping into our savings this year. God always seems to drop money on us when we need it, hopefully we will be good stewards when we get more money too.
RodeoClown: doesn’t have to stress over where the money will come from.
Update: I have bumped this up after posting it on 10,000 words