Terry’s comment here got me to thinking. I think the focus of tithing and giving money to the church has hindered our faith and its expression. It has also hindered how our churches share the gospel.
I think our churches would be more blessed if they could accept the fact that tithing as such is not a NT command. Our churches often focus more on the money and using it, than on the gospel itself. What I mean is that it is easier to give $100 to a ministry for sharing the gospel than for the average member to step out and share the gospel and minister themselves.
We have become a society that will throw money at every problem in hopes of curing it.
Troubled teens – pay for someone else to deal with them.
Poverty – pay a ministry to feed and house them.
Hungry on the street – send our money to the Jimmy Hale Mission, or whatever your localities mission is.
Teens at church without Christian parents – pay a youth leader to teach and disciple them, so what if he has 30 or more teens to deal with.
Marriages in trouble – pay for counseling.
Foster children – send a check at Christmas time.
Orphans in Nicaragua – send a few dollars a month.
Troubled economy – spend more money on it.
Poor educational system – give the schools more money.
If you seriously think about it, our money appears to be our god and the money is the answer and savior of all.
This isn’t anything new though. My very first job was working at a Daycare. I was a pre-teen and teen, probably wasn’t even legally allowed to do so but I didn’t know. I worked for the same daycare system for probably three or four years, making less than minimum wage. But one day I was told that they had a new employee and didn’t need me anymore. Why not? Because see this single mother of five children needed a job. Did they hire her out of the kindness of their heart? No. They hired her because she was free. She came under a government program that was actually paying the salary for her. The government called it a job training program, a way to work her into the work force. So the daycare got a free employee. The government goal was to teach a mother of five how to care for children in a daycare, job development. This was my first real experience with the government throwing away taxpayer money.
I must admit that it is often easier and less painful to give some money than it is to be involved. But remember the Good Samaritan story? What would we tend to do now? Pay a ministry to go around and be the Samaritan for us?
30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead.
31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.
32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.
34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.
35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’
36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?”
37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” ESV
Notice though that the Samaritan didn’t just use his money but he got personally involved.
Luke 10:34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.
The Samaritan became seriously involved in the situation not just throwing some money at it. I’m sure there isn’t anyone reading this that would not do the same if they found an injured person on the side of the road. But there are just as injured people that we do tend to just throw money at the problem and hope someone else will take care of it.
So maybe our churches and believers in general would benefit from less focus on the giving of a “tithe” and more on the real giving where it hurts in time, emotions and true service. Now that doesn’t mean that the money is not important, but it is a tool not the goal.
Does that make sense?