It is so very clear to me that all things belong
to God, and we are only His stewards.
The question is not ten percent, as I believe we are to give much more. The question is where the Holy Spirit wants you to give God’s money. 1 Cor 9:9-18, 1 Timothy 5:17, and Acts 28:10 teaches that it is lawful for a minister of the gospel to be fed by the people to whom he ministers. But when Paul uses the phrase “Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn” he is not justifying greed and selfishness. An ox is fed and its basic needs are met but that is it. The ox is there to serve. The ministry is not a business where a person should get an unqualified percentage; an unending percentage of what comes into the offering plate. The ministry is not a business where a CEO can justify becoming wealthy because he has made the business successful (church grow). The minister is serving the Lord Jesus Christ in being a servant to the bride of Christ.
Paul said he was worthy to live from money collected from Christians for his support but he refused to take monetary support from the Corinthians choosing instead to work with his own hands. Paul had no problems asking Christians to give their money to extend the gospel and do the will of God in serving fellow believers. In 2 Cor 11:8, Paul admitted taking financial support from other churches so he could freely serve them. It was intuitively clear that Paul supported the general bride of Christ and admonished others to do the same. Paul was not a local kingdom builder. Paul was a great example of challenging people to give money to extend the gospel and meet the needs of the church (people) without abusing the position in terms of taking money. (Acts 20:28-35)
If more pastors did this, there would not be the jealousy in the
local church against other servants of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I have been in countries where some pastors are like entrepreneurs making huge amounts of money on the tithes that are collected in the offering plate. I have seen their people who make up their congregations live in poverty and the church building in ruins or not even built, yet the pastor has a large estate.
I firmly believe that is one of the reasons some people become pastors in some countries and their zeal for their church to grow is so they can get more money from the people for their own usage. It is literally nothing more than a business to some pastors, both in third world countries, as well as in America.
Again, they need to read what Moses did to the Levites to ensure they never became rich above the rest of Israel, as I mentioned earlier. Yes, Jesus and the apostles had no problems encouraging people to give financially to spread the gospel (meetings, crusades, printing, radio, et cetera) and do the work of the ministry (feed the poor, widows and orphans, Matthew 25:31-40). But, Jesus would be and was the loudest voice of criticism and warning to pastors (Pharisees) about not abusing the saints and using them to get rich (Matthew 23:1-33). Jesus wanted His Bride (church) built but not the little empires of men (big beautiful buildings that feed the vanity of men). The heart of Jesus was revealed in Mark 12:41-44 and Matthew 23:23, where He condemned tithing in and by itself without coming from a heart of worship. It also reveals how Jesus expects us to give all to spreading the good news of salvation.
Yes, a person can be taught to give his tithes to the church, yet be a hypocrite and not even saved. No compassion or sensitivity to fellow believers or sinners; just believing he could buy his way into heaven through giving his tithes believing the deception taught to him that by this means he was serving God. Jesus instructed his servants (missionaries etc.) to live a lifestyle of simplicity and faith in Luke 10:3-16 and Matthew 6:25-34, yet few follow his advice. Thus much less is accomplished for the kingdom as faith is replaced many times with denominations.
Many times in local churches we train people to pay their tithes; yet, those same people lie, cheat, steal, hold bitterness, slander, et cetera. They can walk past a starving or dying man on the streets with no concern or compassion. Jesus condemned the religious leaders of His day: “...Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayer; therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation...Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone...Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness....Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city...” (Matt. 23:1-38).
At World Ministries International at the time of typing this article nobody takes anything financially from donations sent to us. It all goes back into spreading the gospel through articles, radio, shortwave, and crusades. Are people worthy to live off the proceeds? Certainly...if done in moderation. But, as long as God provides other ways, then we will continue to give all our time, energies and resources completely to getting the gospel out to the nations. Fellow believers, pray where God wants you to send your resources to support His kingdom. Wherever the Holy Spirit directs, then do so proportionately as He directs in your heart.
Is tithing for today?
Today it all belongs to God. We should give much more than ten percent!
The law was given to show us our selfishness and our sins.
World Ministries International (WMI) is The Church Without Walls.
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