I don’t know about you and you might find this strange coming from a pastor but I don’t like tithes & offerings. This isn’t a debate as to whether tithing is even a biblically mandated New Testament church practice or not. I feel the terminology sets us on the wrong path.
If you look at the modern church many have stopped using the term “tithe” because of the whole New Testament debate. In order to not have to face that question we started to simply call it the offering. Say what you will about the idea of giving regularly to your local church but calling it an offering still feels a little like I’m trying to pay for something I did or didn’t do. Maybe I’m not worthy by Christ alone…I better bring an offering to make sure me and the Big Guy are square. It seems like many times we are still trying to earn something.
Perhaps it’s not even the terminology but the mindset and application that bother me. I strongly believe that followers of Christ should be generous people and even support their local church financially but the why is very important to me. Here are three things that I never want to control why people give at the Exchange.
Convenience – The tithe is an easy out and that’s why I don’t teach it. It’s too convenient. No prayer or thought, just deposit your 10% into your spiritual 401k and trust that God matches well over 100%.
Compulsion – The basket gets passed every Sunday morning and sometimes it feels like a robbery. You place some money in it with very little thought of why. You just know you’re supposed too or something bad might happen.
Circumstance – This is the main reason people give less than they should (TBD) or none at all. They know the bills that they have and so they adjust their giving based on what’s happening at the moment. Seems reasonable to me but it still isn’t God’s ideal.
So what am I proposing? I’m calling for a Psalm 40:6 focus on all of our giving. Here’s what it says in the Amplified Bible.
6Sacrifice and offering You do not desire, nor have You delight in them; You have given me the capacity to hear and obey. Burnt offerings and sin offerings You do not require.
Did you get that? No more offerings or sacrifices. Why? Because God has given us the capacity to hear and obey.
Christ was the ultimate sacrifice and offering on our behalf. There are no more to be made. Instead we have been given the ability to hear the voice of God on these matters and obey Him.
So the next time your church takes up an “offering” or you’re at the Exchange for our time of giving, don’t just give 10% because it’s easy. Don’t give because you feel the compulsive need too. And definitely don’t let your current circumstances get in the way.
Ask, hear, obey…