Does This Ring a Bell?
Joe has a family of four. He is a college graduate that had no job openings in his field. He is working for better than minimum wage but cannot support his family adequately. They enjoy going out each weekend to dinner and the movies.
Shelby is a single mom of two. She works at the diner during the day and the hotel front desk overnight. She relies on her parents to watch the kids in order to make enough to survive. She enjoys getting a mani-pedi often as a reward for all of her hard work and stress.
Brody finished school and started working in his field. He loves his job but it does not earn enough to pay back school loans. He has defaulted and is facing IRS problems. He regularly gets a string of lottery tickets with his 12-pack on Fridays.
John and Becky are struggling to make ends meet. House payments, car payments, family needs, and more are causing the credit cards to rise just to pay the electric bill. Their competitive nature creates a scenario where if one gets something so does the other one.
Is God Broke?
“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!”
When each of these go to church they hear the need for money. They are told to tithe 10% and trust God for the rest. If God is so big and awesome why does He need the money? Why doesn’t God just provide for the church if He is so concerned about it?
God is very concerned for His church because it is through her that His plan is put in motion. He desires for all to be made into disciples – dedicated followers of Christ. He has chosen to allow humanity to bear the task of this process. That task is not free. The Church is the people. However, people have buildings in which they meet that requires utilities and upkeep. People have educational needs in many ways. Provisions for materials, markers, curriculum, and more is needful today. As we share the gospel and others profess faith, the little group grows needing more. As we minister to one another and to our community it costs money.
God is very concerned for His people. He knows that when we do not tithe we are not trusting in Him or His plan. Most often, people do not tithe because they feel they don’t have enough money. God’s concern lies not only in a lack of trust on our part, but also in that we spend beyond our means on products we want but do not need. This type of spending feeds the selfish desires. Tithing is healthy because it increases our faith and makes us be more aware of our spending habits. Is the latte required? Do you NEED more clothes, cars, or shoes, or golf clubs? Do you have to have the latest style? Is that $45 mani-pedi so required? We are a creative bunch, I am certain we can find other ways to trim the spending so that God can be honored.
What About Other Organizations? Do They Count?
“When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. It is the same with your grape crop—do not strip every last bunch of grapes from the vines, and do not pick up the grapes that fall to the ground. Leave them for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the Lord your God.”
There are those who will drop in a few dollars here and there. There are those who will send money to worldwide organizations, community help organizations, Disaster Relief, and even Relay for Life who believe that the money they give is tithing. It is not. God instructs the people to give provisionally for those in need by leaving some of the crop around the edges. However, God still called the people to bring the tithe of their harvest to the temple. One is an offering to the poor. The other is a tithe to the Provider. We are to bring both. There are many organizations and fund-raising opportunities out there. However, they come second to tithing. Once you have given to God’s Kingdom effort through your local church, then look to give provisionally for others.