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Heat, No Light – Pastor Bill Lewis

Search the web and you find about any opinion that you want. Some of the Christian postings are vehemently attacked by atheists in the comment sections. Follow a few of these down the column and you find atheists and Christians going back and forth with argument and hot comment. This means there is a lot of heat, but really no light produced.

Sadly, this type of approach applies to argument in the Christian community as well. Take any sensitive subject and you will find the heat rising.

One of these hot button topics is tithing, giving, and benevolence. The real sticking point is usually tithing. Tithing is setting aside a tenth of increase to the Kingdom of God. The French use the term “dime,” meaning the dime or tenth. Most Christians believe in giving something, but the idea of a tenth requires re-organizing priorities and budgets.

The opponents of tithing make a severe separation of the Old and New Covenants. Their primary argument says that there is no such command in the New Testament; although Jesus says to the Pharisees that they should tithe, but not neglect weightier matters of the law like justice and mercy. Paul speaks of special offerings for the poor. However, little was said of tithing since the church was based in former Jews who would have been practicing tithing as a way of life from birth.

If we follow the logic of the anti-tithe argument, there would be an increase of income to the Kingdom of God, not a decline. The New Covenant principle was always a greater response, not a lesser response. So, if we were to follow the principle espoused by Jesus then the anti-tithe group would be the largest donors to the work of God.

Following those who hold to the tithe, the preponderance of the scriptural support comes from the Old Testament. There the principles and instruction for the tithe are outlined. The Old Testament says the tithe is to be used to support those who minister such as the Levites and the High Priest. Offerings were used to support the temple and of course, the alms were set aside for helping the poor.

Our eldership team holds to the Biblical pattern of tithes, offerings, and alms, We have categories and accounts for each. Our tithes support four staff members and is the primary way of financing all activities of the church. We tithe from the tithe to missions; so 10% of all our tithe goes to missions. All the offerings go to support the general fund. Designated offerings are applied to the desire of the donor. Alms are given regularly by a few that is used to help, mostly our members in special need.

Primarily the load of the ministry financing is carried by those who tithe regularly. Historically and experientially, those who tithe have invoked the blessing of the promises in Scripture. Famous people through the years have been tithers. Many of those who believe in tithing have made it their goal to exceed the tithe pushing to give greater percentages. Some of these who believed in tithing were not even known as Christians i.e. J.D. Rockefeller.

Giving is really a matter of one’s heart. The axiom of where your treasure is that is where your heart is, or it can be stated, where your heart is there your treasure will be. If your heart is convinced of the work of God, you will be investing. Laying up treasures in heaven is not your money, but where you invest your money now.                                                                                                                  

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