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February 01, 2009


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You raise some interesting points. I agree with you that being cheerful is important but being prudent with your giving is also important. Why else would scripture support both arguments?

I don't think I've commented before but I've followed your blog for quite some time. I really enjoy your "The Bible and Money" segment. Out of all the money blog's I follow, this segment is my favorite and is a completely different take on being good with your money than others have.

This is a very interesting topic for me, personally, as well.

I have heard that God speaks more on the topic of money (and related topics such as stewardship) than almost any other topic in the bible. Maybe somewhere someone has posted a breakdown on the topic and verses?

As a foundation, here are my thoughts and questions on money from my rather limited education in the bible:

Does God command us to tithe to the church we belong to, to The Church, or to the poor and needy?

There is a BIG difference between those. To me, the church is the organized group of believers with similar beliefs, grouped by location and schedule, run via an hierarchy similar to a business (leader, sub-leaders, chapters, chapter leaders, group leaders, members, etc.). This is a church. They are run like a business, with expenses and costs of having a building, paying salaries, etc. Any money paid to a church will need to be spent accordingly to those needs, in addition to then being spent for the poor/needy in accordance with God's commandments.

The Church is, in my understanding, all Christians who belong to God, i.e., all of us believers. WE are the Church. We all, everyone of us, are members of the same Church, although we may not all go to church together or all believe the precise same things. To me this is a big sticking point when it comes to when God talks of the Church in the Bible, and when we people say our church and mean the local Babtist/Presbetyrian/Methodist group that meets Sunday's at 11:00. Big difference.

I think substituting giving to your church for tithing your resources to helping the poor/needy is a lazy, uncommitted way, and shirks your responsibilities commanded by God. It should be a personal commitment to tithe, and therefore performed personally, with money and actions going directly as possible to those you are helping. To just write a check that gets eaten up in any way by administrative costs is not proper tithing.

Anyway, I am probably not as articulate on the matter as I could be in person, but I think this gets the gist of it.

By the way, if there is some scriptural aspect I am missing that better explains the churches, The Church, and tithing as a concept, please, please, please send me the info!

I don't tithe but I certainly -can- give more cheerfully when I know my money is going to a deserving organization. For my work I'm investigating scam non-profits. I'm sure a lot of their donors would be sad to know exactly where their charity actually went.

I believe that it's not what the person does with the money, it is the spirit in which it is given.......

In the word of God cheerful giving/tithing is i think
2 totally different things. Tithing is required of you to give to the church and its needs. ANd what ever salary you have 10% of that goes to the church.Cheerful giving is the attitude you have in doing so. correct me if am wrong but, that is how I undertand it.

The bible speaks of giving/tithing to support the levites (the ministry of the church)and to the poor. The bible also speaks in particular about caring for two specific classes of people we are to care for: the widows and the orphans.

The is the group of people that make up each local church. If your church is not doing what is commanded with the resources, it is up to each one of us to try and address it.

Many churches are very good at stewarding the money and addressing each of these commands. Others do not do so good. Some think it is okay to let their ministry leaders live near the poverty line. Some spend all the money on the building and staff, but ignore the poor in the community. Have you ever been part of a church that takes on a bunch of debt to build a fancy building and then is so burdened by the debt payments it has no ability to pay decent wages to the ministry and can do little to nothing for the poor. Why do we just put the money in the plate and sit on our hands when all of this is going on? It is my opinion (which you can agree or disagree with) that we often can do one part, but then fall down on the other. I have yet to see a passage that says give money to the church and then ignore it.

My perspective comes from a methodist church with an established structure and accountability.

Just as we place our trust in Jesus, we can learn to place our trust in our Church leaders and Board that handles finances. There are just too many things that are out of our hands and we should not try to dabble in everything.

What is a wise use of money? Is buying a pizza for youths wasteful? Is printing bulletins on good quality paper wasteful?

Trying to hard develops a complaining spirit. ;)

It is really not the hard to see if the money is being spent in line with what the bible has to say. Does your stewardship accountability end when you drop your check into the plate? Church leaders are human afterall.

We should not lose sight of the fact that the collection and use of money is only a means to further the mission of the Church. Additionally, the Church is not the clergy and lay leadership, but all believers. It requires the participation of all members.

Each of us has spiritual gifts which must be exercised within the body. Every congregation has boards and committees to direct its activities. How are we participating in that directions in addition to our giving?

I know that before my wife and I decided on where we will go to church (and pay our tithe) we looked to see where the priorities were for that church. Do they give to organizations outside of the building? Does the church tithe on the money they bring in? Etc...

After we found a church heading in the direction we felt it should, we decided to go to church there. When we pay our tithes, it is no longer in our hands and it is now Gods to use as He sees fit. It can be used for whatever purpose the council/board/pastor decides it needs to be used in, because as a whole it is being used for what my family agreed upon in the first place.

Offering, I believe, is ours to be a bit more choosy with. When we give an offering, there is much more "research" going on to ensure that our dollar is being spent they way we want it to. If we feel the offering is being mishandled, then that is the last time we give to that organization.

If you like the doctrines your church is teaching but don't like how the church is spending its money, join the Stewardship Board. The doctrines are more important than the stewardship and the stewardship is something that you can put in the works to change. If you don't at least try to change the Stewardship plan to fit your ideals, you have no room to complain.

If you feel you can join a board to change the doctrines of your church, you're in the wrong church. The Bible doesn't change, why should the doctrines?

I consider giving to God as giving to any charity, as long as that charity isn't supporting witchcraft or something. If I felt that my church wasn't doing the job with the money, I would still give a small portion of my "charity" money and give the rest to a different charity of my choice. Once my work on the Stewardship Board started working, I would increase my percentage to the church.

Having worked in my church body's corporate offices, the waste I saw there disgusted me. For example: People buying new computers not because they needed them (or even used the one they had) but because their egos couldn't deal with their secretaries having a newer computer than they had. Stuff like that.

It changed my perspective on giving. Offering money is for furthering the work of the Church, not for accumulating status symbols.

So I'm careful how I give. I don't want to be an enabler.

I hope I am not intruding. The same issue also exists in other religions. I share the view that you are promoting. Give cheerfully but be wise about how the money is used.

I give because we are just stewards, the wealth is not really ours. I also give because my holy book says that the hand that gives is better than the one that receives.

When I give to a mosque I give in sincerity. If the mosque officials screw it up and waste it, the burden of answering is on them. But if the waste is, in my opinion, blatant, then I stop and give to another.


There are several very good points here, but a few things that need to be tied together.

The Bible speaks to three different types of giving. The tithe, offerings and sacrificial giving.

Your tithe is Biblically established as a tenth of what God provides you and is made to your local church by God's design. The tithe is to be set aside from your first fruits. If it is not, you are robbing God. This eliminates the question of where/how you should give your money because God has very clearly defined your mandatory giving. This tithe is your pastor's or church adminstration's to manage and they will be held accountable for it, in the sight of God and men.

Offerings, which go beyond money to your time and other resources are to support the ministry of yourself and others. If you deem something worthy, then you make an offering. But, our offerings are to be made to support our brethern first and foremost, so this must be kept in mind.

And, lastly, sacrificial giving is used to support God's mission and either yourself or others as missionaries. We all have a responsibility for supporting the great commission, and a part of that is supporting missionaries, whether approved through your local church or someone with whom you have some sort of relationship or connection.

I'd be happy to provide Biblical references for any of these points if anyone's interested.

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