If you are not a churchy type of person I’d skip right to the bold words even if you’re not churchy this stuff still applies, because today I’m going to talk about tithing and giving to church to start, but there is something I think for you at the bold marks (also thanks for reading, let me know if there are some other not so churchy/religious things you’d be interested in reading about or stuff I’ve written that was applicable to you. You’re just as much a part of this journey even if religious churchy stuff isn’t your thing).
Ok back to talking about money.
This is not the first time I’ve touched on it. I like talking about money here, here, here and here. I suppose it’s because I like taking about things that we often don’t talk about. Money is definitely one of those topics.
Bruxy talk about it on Sunday and so it’s on my mind again, specifically the idea of tithing.
Couple of starting points.
No your time doesn’t count.
Yes it should go to the church.
No you don’t have to do it anymore.
There we go all sorted, right?
Ok, so were starting at the same point and I suspect you’re thinking “do you have anything remotely helpful here or are you just filling space?”
I hope so and not the just filling space part.
To start then, why the church? The tithe is to help the poor and widow and others group do that.
Support them for sure. I wrote about giving to cbm (which you should go do right now). But do that over and above. Let the tithe to the church be the starting point or a primer for your generosity not the end.
I think where our money goes says a lot about what we value and who we trust.
I think when we keep out tithe from the church what we’re really saying is “I don’t trust you with my money. You don’t love the world the way I think you should and I’m going to put my money somewhere that does it right.”
I think it says “while I appreciate all that you do to pour into me and support me I’m not going to help sustain this. I’m just going to take.”
I think at times it says “I know best.”
You think that helping orphans in Uganda is more important than the work your local church is doing.
If that’s true you’re part of the problem. Why are you not connecting with your leadership and asking them to support orphans in Uganda or whatever you think is more important than what the church is doing now? Why have you not started the ministry through your church that you are so passionate about or made the connection to the group that supports orphans for the church? Why does none of this misuse of dollars involve you, an engaged member of the local church?
Again, remember you should still support MCC or World Vision or cbm. But if we gave generously to the local church and those in leadership knew the heart of their community was for the work of cbm, cbm could be supported by the church organization. But we do it as a community, pulling our resources together and working as a community.
Instead we take OUR money and give to OUR charities because the church isn’t going to do it right.
If you’ve spent much time here you know I’m hard on the church, but I really believe that’s the way it was supposed to be. A community pooling it’s everything to support what God has called them as a community to support. And I get that sometimes your passion and the vision of the church or the leadership can’t seem line up. We’re a bunch of imperfect people doing imperfect work. But you need to start there. Give church a chance to be what it was meant to be first. Do your part to build church the way Jesus wanted it.
We need to be committed to the church. There has been a long period of my life where I struggled and questioned if that was true but we do. Jesus called us to church. We need to support and foster the community it was designed to be and committed giving is part of it.
If you still don’t believe me go read your bible. 1 Corinthians 16 sounds an awful lot like a community (the church) consistently pooling it’s resources.
- give to the church first
- if your church doesn’t’ give the way it should your responsible for that miss too
- if the ministry you’re passionate about isn’t there go start it with the support of your church (or at the very least try first)
- keep giving to worthy organizations. This is not an excuse to stop giving to other spaces.
Even if you’re not churchy this stuff still applies.
The idea of a tithe, committed consistent support of a cause you are passionate about, is so important to this life of compassion.
I run a community centre and when we get donations it really speaks to me. It so clearly shows that the person believes in what we do and that what we do matters to them. We don’t have anyone that gives monthly to us. But that commitment would be amazing. It would speak volumes about how that person sees the work that we do.
Pick something that your passionate about and invest in their work, consistently. It may be a stretch and it may be hard but the life of compassion is hard. It opens you up to being a more generous person on the whole. Continued, committed generosity breaks the hold money can have our lives and lets us be the generous people a person marked by compassion should be.
Tomorrow, how much.