Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Bucks Stop Here - Pt. I

I can't think of a more uncomfortable subject to approach in the Church than that of giving. Throughout scripture, God's commands to his people concerning giving are unequivocally clear, yet by many abuses, misunderstandings, and false assumptions we've turned a glorious form of worship into an affair that is tedious at best and scandalous at worst. So Part I will deal with the biblical perspective on giving.

is the English word translated from the original Hebrew and Greek words that both mean “a tenth”. The Tithe is a God-commanded 10% “return” of our increase (income) which is used to support the ministry of the Church and those in His service. Tithing and the purpose of those funds given was formalized in the Law given to Moses. (Leviticus 27:30, Numbers 18:20-21, Numbers 18:25-29). God designed the Tithe to be affordable for everyone by placing it in proportion to each person’s income. Jesus Christ paid both the tithe and civil taxes to the Roman government (Matthew 17:24-27). He also commanded it by saying, "Then give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." (Luke 20:25)

An Offering is a voluntary gift given beyond one’s Tithe to the work of the ministry. Offerings may be requested and distributed according to specific purposes or needs of the Church.God has given us right to be able to make our own decisions concerning the resources He has provided. We can bless God or curse God (and ourselves) with our obedience concerning money. Obedience blesses God, while disobedience is a reproach unto God. (Isaiah 1:19-20) Whether concerning Tithes or Offering, giving is a matter of Obedience to God and Love for God. The two attributes are intimately related by Christ Himself: “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) This clearly indicates that are claims to love God and are spoken desires to support the Church are questionable at best if we are not obedient in our giving.

Finally, let's deal with the abuses. It's important to realize that the money grubbing gimmicks we are so familiar with are not a new concept. Since the time of the ancient Hebrews, there has been no shortage of charlatans and tricksters who seem to possess no fear of God and are all too willing to take advantage of the faithful and gullible to satisfy their own greed. Whether it's hundred dollar prayer lines, "covenant" partnerships that promise special access and "point of contact" items (cloths, oil, pendants/jewelry) for a monthly or annual gift, or just the old fashioned pulpit begging, it all reeks with the stench of corruption. We would do well to avoid all such dubious practices, and instead remain faithful to the teaching of giving our tithes and offerings faithfully unto the Lord.

elder todd

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