BY John Redig
Recently as I was praying about the financial needs of a
friend of mine, this is what came to me... People
have been taught, and indeed programmed by the various churches they
attend that the "tithe" is to be paid to the "house"
We really need to look into the theology of this and examine the
reasons and motives behind this. I.E.
it is one thing if your church is small, and really meeting the needs the
tithe is supposed to address, but if you are giving into an increase of
wealth is your tithe or offering really serving the purpose for which it
In the Old Testament book of Malachi, God tells the house of Israel that they are robbing Him of tithes and offerings, and they should bring the "whole tithe into the storehouse" and they will be blessed instead of cursed. But I think in modern times, the so called "new testament church" has taken this out of context, and in some cases Charlatans have even used this to exploit folks in their greed.
Recently, I attended a church service that places a strong emphasis on giving. Understand, the people of God need to be giving, and tithe to their Church, "unless" that Church is not properly using the gifts it receives, or fleecing the sheep, or getting "fat' off the tithes, or not feeding the sheep the entire truth of God's Word. In such a case as this, which is far more common than most Christians know, they should pray and seek the mind of Christ as to their involvement with that certain ministry. Yes the true remnant of God are to be loving, and a generous people, but do they really need to move to a better building? Have a bigger parking lot? Most of the time, this type of giving would have been 'far better spent' truly helping others who have genuine needs. Those in, and outside of that local Church congregation.
So much of the modern "church" emphasizes giving, to support a "building fund", so they can move further out into the suburbs, further away from the people that are in need, and into a bigger building, with more land, and fancier "surroundings" in the sanctuary. While people in and out of their congregation suffer.
I think the Apostles understood the concept of tithing/giving better than we do...
The tithe was setup in the Old Testament, because God had called the Levites as priests to serve and to minister to Him, and to the people. They didn't participate in the economy for their livelihoods, but did the work God had them assigned to.
In the New Testament Church, this translates to those who are truly called of God into full time ministry, they spend their time in the assignments God gives them, and the preparation for those assignments, and God takes care of their needs. God uses people to do this, (to meet the needs of these workers), just as he commanded the tithe to take care of the Levites in the Old Testament. ( Full time ministry does NOT just take place from one who stands behind a pulpit each week. There is more to ministry, than being in a pulpit.)
In the book of Acts we see where the Christians, went beyond a 10% tithe in their giving, some were even selling their possessions and their lands, to bring the money to the Apostles to be distributed to the needy among them...
I can just about guarantee you that there are needy folks who attend some of these churches that are saving up for a new building. Some folks find they can't make their rent on time, or perhaps their car payment, and are struggling to put food on the table, and not because they are lazy and won't work either, but due to the difficult economic times. Or, due to the position God has them in, the place He has put them for a season, or until what He has for them next is ready, and they too are ready....
However, the (so called) "church" for the most part are so blind to these dealings of God, and so disparate, and so disconnected in the days we live in, that each little corner building is it's own little kingdom, and not necessarily really a part of the greater Kingdom of God, seeing what God is really doing, or wanting them to do. One group has a headquarters in Nashville, another has it's headquarters in Springfield, Missouri.
The true Church has it's headquarters in Heaven, and Jesus Christ is the head of the Church, 'not some man'.
The "Early Church" accepted the tithes and the
offerings to take care of those that were ministering, and to help the
But so many of us have been turned off by the greed we have seen on TV, with men getting rich off of the poor. Wolves growing wealthy by fleecing the sheep, and enticing them with motives of greed. But the principals of sowing and reaping do stand, in spite of the abuses of men, but what are you "sowing" into? Are you giving to a "wealthy church" that really will not miss your tithes and gifts? Is the money being distributed to those that are truly in need ? Do you give tithes, and neglect to give "offerings" to those who need help in some way ?
What about the smaller ministries?
What about the ministries that are preaching and teaching the truth of the Word, as opposed to what is popular?
Let's look at the parable of the good Samaritan in Luke 10:30-35
Jesus replied and said, 30. In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'
Here was this man, who had been beaten and robbed and left for dead in the ditch on the side of the road. I would say that this man was in need, wouldn't you? We see in the text, that both a Priest and a Levite passed him by and did nothing to help him or meet his needs. They both saw him, they knew of his needs. Herein is a ministry need before us ! Small as it seems ! But it was the "Samaritan" A 'type' of the True Church of Jesus Christ, that got the man out of the ditch.
This reminds me of the passage in James 2:14-19
14.What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15. Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17. In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18.But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds."
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
19.You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
The Priest and the Levite represent people that were
supposed to be "called" to minister to people, but they had
their religious duties to attend to, and could not be bothered with this
man who was truly in need. They were not willing to suffer the
inconvenience! But the Samaritan, now this represents a
man who was not even a friend or an acquaintance, of the man in the ditch,
but a total stranger. He too was needing to get somewhere, he had plans,
he was on a journey. The difference is, he had compassion. He stopped by
the ditch at the side of the road, and he went out of his way to help the
man. Again, a 'type' of the True Church of
Jesus Christ, that walks in the love of God, got the man out of the ditch.
What about us, do we have any compassion when we know of someone in need ? Or are we like the Priest and the Levite, too busy with our own agendas, and too programmed with religious teaching to help ? Instead of constantly giving to a wealthy "church" system that doesn't really need your money.
Someday you may find your in a ditch !
Let God use you to provide for His "Elijah's"... (see 1 Kings 17:1-16)
1Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word."
2Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah: 3 "Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. 4 You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there."
5So he did what the LORD had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.
The Widow at Zarephath
7Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. 8 Then the word of the LORD came to him: 9 "Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food." 10 So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, "Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?" 11 As she was going to get it, he called, "And bring me, please, a piece of bread."
12 "As surely as the LORD your God lives," she replied, "I don't have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die."
13Elijah said to her, "Don't be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD gives rain on the land.' "
15She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the LORD spoken by Elijah.
I close with this:
If you see a man in a ditch, (there are many types of ditches in life), on the side of the road, and others in the "church" are passing him by, why don't you be the true church, the true remnant of God to him, the true example of God's love to him, and help him ? if you see a need that someone has, and that need isn't being met, why not help to contribute to that need? ( instead of debating about why he is in the ditch...)
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
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