Is it robbing God, or just falling on hard times?

Posted: January 18, 2010 in Age Quod Agis, Keep it real, Networking, WWJD
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings (Malachi 3:8 NKJV).

There isn’t a child of God alive that hasn’t heard this scripture attached to a message on tithing or a capital fundraising campaign. Now, let’s keep the pulpit pimps out of this conversation… this is for the real people doing real stuff for Jesus.

Nonetheless, there seems to be a continued problem with money in today’s churches according to a recent USA Today article.

Citing a national survey by LifeWay research, it seems the Church needs a stimulus package wrapped in swaddling cloths because it ain’t getting it from the people warming the pews:

  • 28% reported raising less money than in 2008.
  • 57% said the poor economy was hurting their church.
  • 70% reported increased requests from people outside their congregation for assistance.
  • 43% budgeted more money to help more needy people.
  • 3% were considering closing down their churches.

Of course, these harrowing statistics don’t include the scheming rallying cries of Rick Warren and Rod Parsley who pleaded for a rapid-fire stimulus package of their own… and got it.

No, these numbers reflect the corner church in your community, the pastor of 40+ years in your neighborhood who loves the Word of God but doesn’t have the benefit of TBN.

In 2009, pleas for cash have rose dramatically while answers for change have decreased at the same rate. Of course, it’s the economy. The question is about the faith side of things though.

“Churches have not yet entered the recovery,” says LifeWay director Ed Stetzer. “Historically, they tend to recover financially when unemployment decreases, usually after the economy as a whole” recovers.

And why is that?

Many, many Christians across the U.S. hear the vitriol of a bill collector on the other side of their phone far more than the comforting, dulcet tones of their pastors. Where do you think their cash goes?

Is that still robbing God or just keeping the lights on?

Full disclosure: I have said before that building this Wall was cathartic for me. I was unemployed for months, with no light at the end of that tunnel. Actually, the only light I could see was a truck speeding toward me to run me over.

Did I tithe? For a few months… and then I bought groceries, paid utilities and made sure my home wasn’t repossessed. Erstwhile was that scripture in Malachi chiming in my head, but I had to believe Jesus knew my heart.

Is it that important to God because I felt guilty?

Crown Financial Ministries says that there are actually about 2,350 verses on finances and possessions in the Bible. That is more verses – more material – than all 13 letters in the New Testament that Paul wrote! God obviously cares about our view of possessions to instruct us that much about it.

So, surely he knows the hearts of all these nameless statistics who want to give, but can’t. Right?

God loves a “cheerful giver,” and how full of glee can you be when your phone is ringing off the hook with ne’er-do-wells looking to collect a check? Not much.

Sure, you may “reap sparingly,” but at least that reaping will come while the heat is still on in the house. Wall Watchers, these numbers got a brother thinking. What are your thoughts?

That insight could be a blessing to many brothers and sisters dealing with this… or are one of those numbers themselves. Peace.

Comments
  1. Dave says:

    Tithe propagandist are so blind that they do not realize that they are the ones robbing God. They are robbing God by stealing the glory from Jesus and His finished work on His Cross, then replacing it with their own tithe works.

    Listen up all you tithe boaster: You can give as much money as Oprah, Bill Gates, Donald Trump, Warren Buffet and every Billionaire on the Forbes 500 list combined and that would still not be more than the debt Jesus paid in full for his body of believers. The credit belongs to Jesus for everything he freely gives us, not to you so shut up already!

    • Jeff says:

      Dave, Tithing is not about the amount you give it is about the condition of the heart! I agree that Jesus paid the ultimate price and no amount could ever repay his sacrifice. Now where is that scripture you are using to exempt us from giving back?

  2. SQ says:

    Hebrew 8:6″But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises”.
    What is the better Covenant on better promises. Grace through faith which is free favor in Jesus name for any need in the Believers life.

    Hebrew8:7 “For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
    What was the first Covenant-It was justification, favor and right-standing through law (self-efforts).

    Galatians 3:13
    “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree”

    Galatians 3:14 “He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit”.

    Galatians 3:10 All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”

    Colossians 2:14 “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross”

    Do Christians still keep the Sabbath, Circumcised male babies on the 8th day after they are born? Not eat pork or foods that were considered unclean in the Old Testament, conduct ceremonial washing of hands up to the elbows, buy a spotless lamb for the High Priest to slaughter sins on the day of Atonement. Do Christian women covered their hair, never cut their hair but keep it long? Are people banned from Church services if they have any minor skin rash, do women sit separated in Synagogue from their husbands and other males, women were unable to attend Synagogues on their menstrual cycles, is that the case today? Priest had to wear a certain attire & no wearing wool and linen together. All Jews had to keep the Seven Jewish feast such as the Passover, Day of Atonement, etc. The Christian Churches considered this abolished but not tithing. Some of us are not stupid robots we see the inconsistency and the holes in your tithe propaganda. Abraham did not tithe either. Giving a tenth without God commanded it and giving it one time is not paying tithes (as in plural) ! Our New Testament Instruction is in 2nd Corinthian 9:7 “Give as one decides (purposes) without pressure or necessity for God loves a cheerful give”. No set amount is even in that verse.

    The word giver is not the same word as payer! One is voluntary the other is a payment due you for what you paid for! Big insult to the Lord’s gift of (free-unmerited) Grace! The debate and arguments will continue as people began to read their bible for themselves. It is best for Pastors to come clean, preach the truth & stop repeating false information.

    Romans 8:32″He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?”

    Hebrews 7: 28 “Moses’ Teachings designated mortals as chief priests even though they had weaknesses. But God’s promise, which came after Moses’ Teachings”, designated the Son who forever accomplished everything that God required.

    James 2:10
    For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.

    • Jeff says:

      The only problem with your entire ‘thesis’ here is that Tithing was BEFORE the law by over 400 years.Tithing is not about giving by guilt. You don’t have to tithe! You get to tithe.It is a privilege and shows character and an underlying principle in your life of putting God first in the area of finances. Show me your check book and I will show you your priorities.
      Tithing simply validates your true heart towards God’s work.
      In my opinion when you don’t tithe it is a message to God saying ‘Hey, I got this area of my life all covered! Sure your son died on Calvary but I don’t need to operate by principle, I just operate however I feel.”

  3. DJ says:

    Act 13:39 and through Him (JESUS )everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.
    Matthew 23:23 was Jesus addressing Jews only before he died on the cross to fulfill the law & before he said paid in full.

    Various Pastors incorrectly say Christians are under the Abrahamic Covenant to command tithing because they claim Abraham paid tithes. Abraham did not pay tithes as in plural. He gave a one time tenth voluntarily, not ongoing.
    In the Abrahamic Convenant God even put Abraham to sleep then God passed through the (cut) animal halves then performed a Covenant ritual ceremony
    Genesis 15:12

    Abraham voluntarily gave a tenth one time only, this is not faithful tithing and God did not demand it. Abraham gave a tenth before the Law of Moses was given but he was also circumcised before the Mosaic law. Pastors are not demanding male babies be Circumcised in the Church by a Priest/Elder on the eight day of their lives. Orthodox Jews (not Messianic Jews) still keep this Old Covenant requirement.
    The word Grace means favor not earned or deserved, in other words Unmerited as in without merit. If you work and pay for anything it is no longer a gift but a wage due you. Jesus gives us Grace in every aspect of our lives on a daily basis. If anyone wants to boast then let them boast in the paid in full work of Christ-Not their tithe payments!

  4. Anamika says:

    I wholeheartedly believe that what we give is what we get. If we cannot be greatful for gods blessings and show it by sharing it with the less prevelaged that is shame on us. The joy of giving is just great.

    • boydmiller says:

      Anamika,

      You are correct in stating that you should share with the less privileged, this is the heart of christian living. But the topic is more about the blow-dried prophet and his building project that flies under the tax exempt public church. Caring for those in need has nothing to do with the old testament tithe to the temple, which ended at the cross. The reinstitution of the temple system by those building buildings and collecting tithes and calling it church is blaspheme. I’m not picking on you Anamika, nor critizing you, what you have said is absolutely right, it’s just that your comment proves my point.

      The tithe is an old covenant principle, just like the sarcifices of animals, and has nothing to do with caring for the poor or widows and orphans. The preachers of the tithe today are worse than the pharisee’s in Jesus day. Why anyone, other than those looking to enrich themselves, would want to preach old testament principles to a gentile like me, whose “only” hope is not the temple or it’s ordanances, but the shed blood of Jesus, can only be explained by ignoring the gospel and laziness concerning the word of God.

  5. techi33 says:

    I am one that is wholeheartedly convinced tithing and offerings are essential to a Christians well being financially and spiritually (you may not agree that is ok, I am not here to convince you), required and above all should be desired to be given by the giver joyfully; regardless of their financial situation. I have found myself in extremely difficult times financially but never stopped the tithe and offerings to my local 25 member church. In short; God provided for the rest, still joyful and never in distress. We need to learn to trust in God and not in our finances no matter what our budget tells us we are always in the black :O)

    • Jeff says:

      I have never met a tither who was also smart with their money who was not blessed.I have met people who messed up their finances and continued tithing and went broke. The key is to be a good steward and tithe. Not Tithing by guilt but out of gratitude to God.
      I agree with you & am always amused that the only people who want to argue about not tithing are non tithers!

  6. boydmiller says:

    The church has abandoned the teaching of Jesus concerning debt and as a result the believers are just as trapped as society in general. Not only that, but now the church encourages debt by asking for and accepting credit card donations. Although we should never rob God, neither should we rob our neighbors to pay God.

  7. dickkopf says:

    Here are some of William Perkins’ thoughts on money:

    We must so use and possess the goods we have, that the use and possession of them may tend to God’s glory, and the salvation of our souls …. Our riches must be employed to necessary uses. These are first, the maintenance of our own good estate and condition. Secondly, the good of others, specially those that are of our family or kindred …. Thirdly, the relief of the poor…. Fourthly, the maintenance of the church of God, and true religion …. Fifth, the maintenance of the Commonwealth.

    /all I got

  8. Pamela says:

    I came to the conclusion that if I own someone money than it is not mine to give. I promised to pay them the funds. One of my relatives went bankrupt because they wondered if they should tithe instead of paying the bills. I told her that Biblically I felt God would not be mad at her if she used the money to pay the bills. I advised her about this BEFORE I went to the word and decided that tithing was not for New Testament believers. If you go bankrupt I doubt very seriously that the courts would look favorably at you if you said you were going to pay tithes before you paid your creditors. I believe the Lord would feel the same way. We are to pay our bills.

    Think about it. How can you give the tithe cheerfully when (1) you are under financial stress because of life and circumstances out of your control or (2) if the preacher is scaring you with a curse if you do not tithe? The Bible says we are not supposed to give under compulsion. It is compulsion if a preacher is telling you that you are under some curse because you are robbing God. First of all, since when does God need anything, much less money when the value can change on a whim? Second of all, when does our works produce anything????

    Since July 2001 I have spent more time unemployed than employed. Times got really hard at one point. I remember having the choice of paying my bills or tithing. I sincerely told the Lord that I could not tithe cheerfully and did not pay them. Funny enough not too long after that decision I was able to land some jobs, not enough to pay the bills but at least something was coming in. That was a serious clue that tithing had NOTHING to do with my financial blessing. If that was the case I would have never had a day of unemployment after tithing for at least 20 years.

    I give when led of the Lord to give or what I purpose in my heart. From what I read in the word for New Testament believers those are the two Biblical methods that Christians should be giving. Any other reason is by some compulsion which the Bible clearly says we should not do.

  9. […] it robbing God, or just falling on hard times?” on a blog (https://hiscrivener.wordpress.com/2010/01/18/is-it-robbing-god-or-just-falling-on-hard-times/).  I was wondering what you might be thinking along these […]

  10. […] Is it robbing God, or just falling on hard times? « The Writing on … Categories: Tithing Tags: capital-fundraising, conversation, doing-real, god, jesus, […]

  11. boydmiller says:

    Could not some, if not all, of this problem be in the church/business model? Setting aside the tithe which doesn’t apply, in Paul’s instructions for giving(1cor.16) the church was to “store” the offerings to be distributed to needy SAINTS, who were in a bad economy. The church/business model wants to “spend” not store and very little of the spending goes to “SAINTS” in need, but rather expansion with the hope of increased revenue so they can reach more etc…. The church/business model guilts people into believing that people are lost and dying because of lack of revenue coming into the marketing machine.

  12. Teena Myers says:

    I was adamant about tithing for more than twenty years. One day, I decided to put everything I had been taught in the church on hold until I saw it for myself in the Bible. I found liberty. Acts chapter 15 is clear that we are not obligated to obey the law given to Moses. The New Testament teaches us to give to the poor and from the funds we have available. God doesn’t want what we need, he wants our seed. Seed is the extra we don’t need and it is the seed that multiplies, not the need. God also promises to give us both the need and the seed. The church says Abraham tithed, which justifies their demand that we give 10% of our income or be cursed by God. Read the Abraham tithe story again. Abe swore an oath before he left that he would not take payment for saving Lot. When he returned in victory, he gave the priest of his day 10% of the Sodomites goods before he returned the Sodomites goods to their rightful owner. No one can afford to tithe from their personal income the way Abraham tithed and people who have debts and don’t pay them are called wicked. Does God really want us to leave a debt unpaid because the money is dedicated to him. He is able to supply both the need and the seed. If you don’t have both pay the debt. Jesus condemned the practice of refusing to help family members because the money was dedicated to God. The widow woman who gave her last mite was commended by Jesus but keep reading, he blasted the greedy priest who took her last mited to do the work of God. There is more, but I don’t want to write a Bible lesson.

    • Jeff says:

      Teena, Who made those debts? Did God or the holy spirit twist their arm to use their Visa or was it their own foolishness to buy what they probably did not need? Stewardship over our finances whether in the new or old testament is still God’s desire for us. Just because Jesus died on Calvary does that mean we do not need to be wise with money ?
      I agree we are to pay our debts but once you get debt free what about then? Just keep being stupid and spending? Actually you have this wrong my dear God does not want the leftovers! He wants the first fruits, not your ‘extra’. For most people there will never be any extra. If I gave out of the kindness of my heart I would not give anything.

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