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August 08, 2010

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Ok, so you are an Old Testament guy? The New Testament says everything you have belongs to the Lord, not just 10%. The New Testament focuses on loving your neighbor and Jesus, not the church. Giving to churches are an Old Testament thing. Our focus shouldn't be paying the utilities and expenses of a brick building and full staff. Jesus was angry for those who required this of thier followers. "Stop making my father's house a marketplace!".

Get with the program!

Money is "our way" of viewing our way of giving. God is not a bank and does not keep track of deposites and withdrawls. Giving should be like our commitment to God. Given freely and willingly. Giving should also not be just money but time and effort with others to build the kingdom. "Faith without works is lost". It does not say "Tithing your gross income is necessary" for the rich man pointed out all that he was doing and the widow lady gave her coins and she gave all that she had.

I give my time which is more vaulable than money, to make my relationship with my wife and kids stronger, an example of a Christian man with all kids and people, to give my time to help others and oh yeah we do give money and possession to charities and our church.

If I could put a monitery value on all that could be considered giving it could be close to "tithing"

But how closely does God keep track? You are not going to heaven because you only gave 9.9% and not 10%.

Agree with the previous poster. That is more in the correct spirit versus bragging about how much money you give.

I agree with the author's approach and perspective. Very similar to our approach.

jayda - It's funny that the author gives his approach to all things financial but only here when he explains his giving plan do you accuse him of 'bragging'.

bobsmith - His explanation of his giving does not imply - nor is it inconsistent with a view - that he does not believe that everything you have belongs to the Lord. When following the Biblical model, churches are ministries that serve people, and that is encouraged; nothing in the New Testament forbids giving to a church. Certainly, the ideal is to give above and beyond the tithe, and that is what he says he is doing through other organizations.

Matt - I agree that giving takes many forms. Giving of time and talent, however, does not exclude the idea that we give of our treasure. As for what is required for heaven, the only giving required was done on the cross. Only by accepting Christ and His redemptive work can we enter heaven, so you are right that the question of 9.9% vs. 10% is irrelevant. It is out of gratitude for His gift that we give back. That's all that the author is saying, I believe.

I totally do not think the author is "bragging". He, however, is using this post to encourage and challenge us in the area of giving. To that, I say a hearty, amen!
I am a former pastor's wife and know first hand what it is like when people don't give of their time AND their money. What we do with both of those is a good indicator of our love for our Savior. He gave ALL for us, what will we give back to Him?

I'd like to extend the idea of income vs net worth. As a student, I have had several discussions with one of my friends about tithing 10% while in school. My position is that tithing 10% is not reasonable if the source of the money is a student loan. Any thoughts?

Just like the argument of do we tithing on net income or gross income.

If it is a student loan there is NO INCOME but a LOAN. Don't tithe the money but the spirit and give willingly from your heart.

On my offering to the church has this saying printed on it

"Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, and inexhaustible treasure in heaven, that no theif can reach or moth destroy. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be" Luke 12:33-34

Lynn - I don't see tithing on a loan. That is not true income. You should tithe on income while in school (and give above that if God leads), but a loan is not income. If you borrow $100k to buy a house, you don't tithe $10k on that.

To all the posters who believe that time is more valuable than money, I'd have to say that I disagree. I attend a small church where many people give their time and energy to sustain ministries and bring in the harvest; however, we can't have a service if the electric is cut off or hold an outreach and not be able to afford food or things to give to the community. I think people use giving their time as an excuse because they'd rather spend that money on something else instead of being obedient to the Word and making a sacrifice and allowing God to bless them and supply their needs. To anyone who may be wondering, the tithing principle does work. I tithed throughout college when I received income and after graduation when I was underemployed for over a year and truly couldn't afford it. During that time God supplied all my needs, kept me healthy, allowed me to travel, and a year later blessed me with a great job in my field despite the recession. I continue to tithe and give to God's house because I love Him and want to see His Will fulfilled in the earth, a feat that takes both money and time.

bobsmith --

See what JP said. I agree with his thoughts.

And btw, I'd be interested in your thoughts on giving and how you implement them into your finances.

Matt --

Giving is not a salvation issue. Did anyone (other than you) say it was?

JP --

You summarized my thoughts nicely. Thanks.

Lynn --

As others have said, you tithe on your increase (income) -- what you earn. You do not tithe on loans.

All --

Two additional points:

1. On issues like this, I can't cover every facet of the topic in one post. That's why it's good for you to read what else I've said on the issue (in the archives.)

2. I always find it "funny" how nothing gets people stirred up like a post on giving. ;-)

@L.V. "however, we can't have a service if the electric is cut off"

Really? Why not? I went to a church that actually did that once just to prove to people that we think we need fancy equipment to have a service when in reality we don't.

That said, I don't think that giving of your time should be short changed. I don't think it is an excuse either. I stopped giving 10% to the church when it wasn't cheerful to do so anymore. I got tired of seeing people in the church struggle with finances and get no help back from the church. I got tired of seeing the pastoral staff make more money than 90% of the church congregation.

We now give most of our money to outside organizations. We sponsor a missionary monthly. We sponsor families in need at Christmas by personally going out and buying things they need/want. We sponsor a child in Africa who sends us pictures and letters. We do all kinds of things that put the money directly into the hands of those who need it the most.

I see time and time again how churches use the money only for themselves and not for the surrounding community or even its own members. I found my cheerfulness to give by actually cutting down on how much goes directly to the church. It feels so right, and I am happy to be able to help those in need.

Jon

I definitely see your point and agree with you. In fact, I was actually in service one Sunday and the power went out and we kept right on trucking!! I attend a church in a garage that's nearly freezing in the winter and unbearably hot in the summer. No pews, just folding chairs. No pulpit, just a carpet. So I hope you didn't misunderstand my comment. It's not the building or fancy equipment that matter, just the hearts worshiping the Lord.

But that being said it does take money to run a church. I may feel this way because I am a logical person with a business background. It pains me to see churches mismanage money and/or congregants expecting things to be done and draining all the resources for their own selfish pleasures, personal edification, or fiscal irresponsibility instead of helping those who really need it. I'm not saying don't help the congreagtion when they are in need, but IN MY OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCE, I've seen people use the church as a crutch for their own lack of financial planning and all of a sudden when the church says it can't afford to help (i.e. bail them out) then it's the church is a selfish fraud. It's like church is becoming a social service agency and when the money dries up, congregants jump ship or get upset and forget about all the non financial support and resources they have been receiving. They also forget that the church is majority funded by their own contributions, and can only afford to sustain operations when they are giving consistently of their time, money, and spiritual gifts. I think all three are equally important and everyone should give a combination of these three according to the measure of each which God has given them.

If you really don't have it to give financially, you don't have it and God will honor your desire but if you just don't have the desire then some serious prayer is in order. But again, based on what I have seen many people desire cars, clothes, smart phones, etc, over seeding into the house of God. If more people did give financially, either to their church directly or as God leads them, then more could be done to help God's people.

"none of you knows who I am anyway?"

Good point! Will we ever find out who the real FMF is? I'm guessing not but I am curious.

Rob --

Maybe... ;-)

So from the Jewish perspective...in Judaism, giving is considered one of the 620 Mitzvot (orginally "commandments" but now translated as "good deeds")which one should perform. Giving charity is called "Tzedakah."

It's considered a responsibility for every Jew to participate in Tikun Olam (Repairing the World) through the performance of Mitzvot. There's no specific dollar amount or percentage associated with giving charity, although modern traditions include giving 10% of catering costs from your wedding to a food pantry, etc.

In addition, there are degrees of giving according to the Rabbi and Sage Maimonides, and his famous Eight Levels of Giving (below) which suggests that giving freely and anonymously is the most desirable way to give.

1.Giving an interest-free loan/grant to a person in need.
2.Giving tzedakah anonymously to an unknown recipient via a person (or public fund) which is trustworthy, wise, and can perform acts of tzedakah with your money in a most impeccable fashion.
3.Giving tzedakah anonymously to a known recipient.
4.Giving tzedakah publicly to an unknown recipient.
5.Giving tzedakah before being asked.
6.Giving adequately after being asked.
7.Giving willingly, but inadequately.
8.Giving "in sadness" (out of a feeling of compassion for those in need).

From the posts above, I see a lot of similarity with Christian traditions and Muslim traditions as well, but it's not exactly the same. Interesting topic, FMF!

We are always to support the church. The idea of church has just changed. In the time after the Resurrection, the disciples appointed people to care for the widows and orphans of the church. Of course, then, most church goers were Christian. You don't fake your beliefs if you are being persecuted and killed.

Paul usually supported himself in his ministry, but others did not. And the disciples sent out by Christ were not to take a purse. They were to be SUPPORTED by those they preached to. Isn't that the church? The same thing applies to our churches today. The minister is worthy of his hire.

I do tithe on my retirement income. It is so much fun that I am trying to up it to 20%. Remember me in your prayers as I attempt this. I do not give 10% (or 20%) to the local church because it is old, large, and well endowed. I do give a regular monthly amount. The rest of my money goes to Children of Promise around the world, helping cleft palate children get surgery, a local Christian radio station, 2 radio ministries that have been a blessing to me, sending books to the Camel Library in Kenya and other items as I see the need. For instance, our church does the Back to School with Pride program and I volunteer there and buy some of what they need when it is on sale and my money goes 5-8 times as far. Don't you just LOVE sales????

I cannot give a huge sum, but a regular monthly small sum can be of much benefit also.

I am researching tithing, and I give to our church, for the church has expenses. My findings so far is far from what is being taught. First, the tithe,of the increase, meaning, you gave a tenth of the increase above what was needed to survive, to live on, and it was the fruit of the land and of flocks, it was not money, also the tithe was brought to the Temple in Jerusalem, if your tithe was changed to money, because of long travel, then an added tithe was applied, because then the money had to be used to buy animals and land products, then a feast was prepared for the tithers. The storehouses were filled with the fruits of the land, and the flocks of the temple. These flocks and storehouses, were used to feed the Priests,ceremonial sacrifices, feed the poor, the orphaned, the widow and the people, who were without. Today, how many church's take care of their community, some help, but not to the extent of Biblical, as they are on tithing.
New Testament teaches on a cheerful giver, led by the spirit. A thought on this is, Israel, Jews, were under the Law, of tithing, commanded by God. Jesus came, and fulfilled the Law, but the needs still remained, thus the cheerful giving from ones heart, also, Gentiles were not governed by the law, Gentiles, us, are not obligated to tithe, under the Law of the Old Testament, but in the New Testament, through Christ, we are adopted, as part of his people.
My point is, putting a side the need of money,that all church's need to run their church's. But it seems as a church, they pick and choose the law or command for us to follow, and also omit parts in order to keep all of the offerings. Many Church's do give to the poor, but as it is written, they are to be taken care of, all the time.
Just imagine, if all of the churches and the charities took care of their communities, poverty, homelessness, foreclosures and so on, could be wiped out, moving us from government dependency to God dependency.

I think that a good thing to keep in mind in our giving is that everything we have actually belongs to God. While we journey through life, we are stewards of the money and possessions that God has given us. It follows that before anything else, we would want to give of our first fruits back to God. Though it is a good guideline, we should not limit ourselves to a tithe of 10% of income, but give freely and cheerfully from a heart filled with love for God.

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