[Thank you for your patience this week. It’s been one of those nasty-allergy weeks, where the allergies mutate into some kind of illness. But I’m on prescription and OTC meds, and am on the mend. So, a quick post today from me, and another great post tomorrow from Webster Hunt.]
I’m struggling with the idea of giving this week–specifically giving to the church. I’ve usually just stuck with the tithe. It’s simple, and you don’t have to think about it too much. I haven’t had a problem with this issue before. I had my convictions about it, and that was that.
But as the wedding approaches and the cost of wedding-related goods and services is increasing, I’m starting to feel a little bit of a financial pinch. We’re trying to cash-flow the wedding, which is a challenge. My bride-to-be is paying for a lot herself, and I’m trying to do my fair share. So I’m hesitating on giving what I normally would to the church. Combine that with some bad feelings i have about recent teaching I’ve heard on the subject of giving/tithing (from pastors I normally trust), and I find myself pushing back against the idea of the (optional-but-expected) tithe.
[Honestly, I think a lot of Bible teachers, myself unfortunately included, are in danger of merely paying lip-service to the concept of New Testament giving. We’ll say, “Well, OF COURSE, we’re under grace and not the Law… cheerful giver, not under compulsion, etc. …BUT.” And that right there is the problem. We New-Covenant folks talk a good game, but lean on you with Old-Covenant muscle. Sometimes “not-under-compulsion” NT giving is preached as if it were protection money. “You know, you really oughta give your first-fruits. God said he’d rebuke the devourer from touching your crops. I’d hate to see something bad happen to ya…”]
It’s hard to tell if this is just my flesh being rebellious or if I’m sincerely wrestling with this issue. Fact is, I don’t trust my heart very much at the moment. It would be easier to just give less to the church, because I could use that money elsewhere. But easy doesn’t mean right, and I’m concerned that I would be sinning by reducing my giving merely to help pay for more of the wedding.
I ask you, friends: Do you give to your local church or to Christian organizations? If so, what’s your practice for giving? How do you actually deal with the question of the tithe?