Showing posts with label Offering. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Offering. Show all posts

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Tithing With Wisdom & Faith

Are you tithing out of desperate need?
I believe giving 10% of all funds that we receive is a good point from which to start tithing. We can always give more or less. Additional offerings can also be given. I don't believe that tithing should be done if a Christian has only enough money or less to pay the bills. To be faithful, some Christians give part of their bill money in tithes, believing for an immediate return from God. When God does not make it up by bill time, the person is in a worse situation than before.  Oftentimes, they have given into ministries where the ministers and staff are doing much better economically than they are.
I am not begrudging ministers for prospering. The Bible teaches that we should not muzzle the mouth of the oxen. (I Corinthians 9:9) I am asking you to examine your faith if you've been struggling to tithe or give because you observe the recipients prospering, but you do not do any better financially.

I know many Christians believe that in order for our financial status to grow we have to give out of our lack. They often use the widow's mite Biblical story as an example. (Luke 21:1-4) I agree to a certain extent. I like tithing and giving into God's work. I think, however, that people who are struggling financially are often coerced to give and they do it because they need an immediate return. Their intention is sincere, but they can't afford to give and wait on a return that may not come until who knows when. It may come tomorrow but often it does not.
If a Christian has a spouse and family and is tithing and giving significant portions of their finances away when they are barely making ends meet, it is poor money management. If God instructs a person to do it though, he/she should follow the lead of the Holy Spirit. The question is whether or not the Spirit is truly leading. We all make decisions and choose to believe that God is leading us when he is not. He did not put us into the situation and it was never his desire for us to suffer like we did. We were misguided in our desire to be faithful.
Is your tithing equal to poor money management?
More people than ever are in precarious financial situations today and our economy has been crippled for some time. Tithing and giving should be tailored to each individual who desires to do it. I do believe that the widow's mite example can inspire faith in a clear mind and a pure heart. I once gave 5 cents in offering, all that I had but I was not thinking about that Bible story.
I was visiting a cramped, bedraggled, storefront church and felt the desire to give it, but then drew back in my spirit. It was all that I had and I was putting a penny a day into the Lion's Club bubblegum machine to get 3 little square pieces of gum. This was my daily encouragement as I went to the library to use the computer to search for work. If I gave these 5 pennies, I wouldn't have that little bubblegum encouragement anymore.
For some reason, my desire to give was stronger so I placed the coppers into the offering basket. The youth who was helping gawked at my 5 pennies and my face felt hot with shame and embarrassment at my paltry offering. If it had been an adult who gawked, I would not have cared. It was something about that youth  not understanding that made me feel like I was being a poor example. I so wanted to explain to him but I just dropped my head in humbleness.
Are you tithing because you need an immediate return?
The next day a stranger with a black dog that I met gave me $50 for no reason other than that we started talking in the park. I only needed $6 to get where I needed to go, but had not even thought about that impending trip when I gave the pennies the day before. I gave all that I had, like the widow did. Note that my return was 1000 times what I gave. Wasn't that magnificent! The 5 pennies could not pay any bills and I had no dependents so I did not hurt anything or anyone by giving all that I had. It was a personal sacrifice that God honored.
The return was swift, coming the very next day! It was showered on me, pressed down, shaken together and running over. I have given up 15 pieces of gum and I was then able to buy all of the Chiclets that I wanted and more. I was so grateful that I made that $50 last me for weeks. Most importantly, I was able to travel to where I needed to go so that I could accept help to begin rebuilding my life. It was weeks before I connected my church donation with that astounding blessing.

If you want to tithe but you are struggling financially, maybe you should consider this. Pray to God to help you get your finances in order so that you can begin to tithe. If you have dependents and you barely have food, your lights are about to be turned off for the nth time and your rent or mortgage is behind, consider this. If you give a large sum of your funds in tithes, assuming that God will make up the difference by the time the bills are due or by the time dinnertime arrives, you and your family just may suffer more than you already are.
Assuming and presumption are types of faith but they don't produce faith-filled results. God wants us to develop and practice good money-management skills. If you take money and give it away, to ministries or to anyone, and your dependents suffer more than they are suffering now, what type of witness for God is that? What type of example would you be to your children, your spouse? How would you be representing the Kingdom of God?
Do you need your tithes to pay off by a certain date?
How can I sacrifice if I don't give what I can't afford to give, you ask? Well, tithing is always a sacrifice whether we are financially sound or not. When we are financially stable, the tithe could be used for something else, so it is a sacrifice to be obedient. A greater sacrifice is when we give above and beyond our tithes, when we occasionally give away money that we were going to use on ourselves. Work with God and get to the point financially where you can tithe regularly, then start to give above that and watch your cup overflow!
Is your tithing equal to gambling?
You do what you feel is best according to your relationship with God. If you feel that you can release some funds, just not 10% at this time, do that. Just remember that to give money for God's work while expecting a needed return by a certain time is unwise. Some may call it give and name it/claim it. Some may call it great faith. It can, on the other hand, be gambling and that is not something that our Heavenly Father wants us to be involved with.
He wants us to give from a pure heart. To do that, we have to give not needing an immediate return. The Bible tells us that we will receive when we give but we should give being happy if we never, ever receive a return. It's best to be in a position to kiss the tithes goodbye and forget about them, in Jesus' name.