That pastor only wants my money!

For many, especially new church-goers, the idea of tithing is uncomfortable. Scripture calls us to give back 10{460a05741454e6ac9b6c5260f0917ccdb6f72f2e4f6ff1b7d94317b392275d0e} of all we bring in. There are several places in scripture where the tithe is mentioned. In the book of Leviticus, we see it introduced as God’s law:

“Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the Lord’s; it is holy to the Lord. If a man wishes to redeem some of his tithe, he shall add a fifth to it. And every tithe of herds and flocks, every tenth animal of all that pass under the herdsman’s staff, shall be holy to the Lord. One shall not differentiate between good or bad, neither shall he make a substitute for it; and if he does substitute for it, then both it and the substitute shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.”  – Leviticus 27:30-34

But seeing it written still doesn’t make it sound all that great, does it? Many churches will also remind you of the line in 2 Corinthians, which tells us God loves a cheerful giver. However, more often, it’s displayed on a screen, church newsletter, or brochure with a graphic.

“Seriously?” I used to think. “Great.  So now on top of not wanting to throw more than 20 bucks in the plate/basket/bag/etc. when it passes by, God’s not going to love me if I don’t do this with a smile on my face?”  When I first started going to church, I loathed the idea of tithing. I, along with a lot of others, have come up with so many excuses as to why we can’t and/or won’t tithe. Do any of these sound familiar?

  • The pastor only wants it so he can buy a new car
  • I have too many bills and I don’t have enough to give a tenth of my salary
  • I can’t tithe now because what if something breaks/needs to be repaired or replaced?
  • I just don’t make enough money right now; I’ll tithe when I start making more
  • I don’t have enough money to pay the bills as it is, so how could I give that much away?
  • I disagree with something the pastor said in his sermon about three months ago, and I just can’t financially support the church because of that.

To increase your faith, increase your giving.

There are so many excuses that we make so we can justify not tithing. We make our offering sound like something bad, as if it’s going to crush us if we don’t keep the money for ourselves. But I’m going to let you in on a secret: God doesn’t care about those excuses, and you shouldn’t either. God isn’t calling you to financially support the ideas of the pastor, and He’s not asking you to make yourself poor for the sake of the church. But He is asking you to trust him – not only with your spiritual, emotional and physical health, but with your financial health as well.

In most churches, the pastor isn’t concerned about making you tithe to get a raise (there are exceptions, but by and large most church pastors have a heart to see you serve God, trust God, and develop a relationship with God). The fact is this: God will still be able to work without you. He doesn’t need your ten percent to keep the lights on, pay for nursery supplies or do an outreach event. But what He wants is your faithfulness. And here’s the thing:  Wal-Mart wants your money. Amazon Prime wants your money. The bar wants your money.  God and your pastor just want you to be faithful. He’s not concerned about how much money you make, but the heart in which you give:

“And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, ‘Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on’.”  – Mark 12:41-44

Listen. I understand the thought of a full ten percent is scary. So, why not start with something smaller. Begin with 5, 3, or maybe even 1 percent. When you realize how God blesses you in that 1{460a05741454e6ac9b6c5260f0917ccdb6f72f2e4f6ff1b7d94317b392275d0e}, move to 2 or 3{460a05741454e6ac9b6c5260f0917ccdb6f72f2e4f6ff1b7d94317b392275d0e}. Then go up to 5, 6, 7, and so on. Soon, you’ll understand the heart of truly being a cheerful giver.

 STRUGGLING WITH FAITH OR TRUST? Call us, message us on Facebook, or schedule your appointment here. It’s time to get your life back.

Finding Peace: Coming Together in the Face of Tragedy

A tragedy affecting people can be difficult to watch. However, it’s during these times we also see the best of humanity. Finding peace isn’t hard in the face of a natural disaster or bad situation. We see the church coming together to rally supplies, volunteers, money, and of course spiritual refuge and guidance.

We see the believers sharing the love of Jesus, both by sharing the Gospel and being the hands and feet of Christ. We see people crossing political aisles, denominational boundaries, socio-economic statuses, race, ethnicity, gender and more. Believers and non-believers alike come together to share hope and healing.

finding peace

President George W. Bush speaks to a crowd gathered at the site of the World Trade Center attacks, September, 2001. Photo: CNN

This past weekend, we watched Hurricane Irma hit Florida. A few weeks ago, Hurricane Harvey did the same. Since then, countless dollars have been donated, supplies gathered, and volunteers dispatched. Also this week, we marked the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Many of us remember the images of President George W. Bush standing with the megaphone at Ground Zero. And many of us can remember those words he said:

“I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.” – President George W. Bush, September 2001

This now famous quote embodied each of us as Americans. It didn’t matter what political party we belonged to, where we went to church (if we even went at all), how much money we made, the kind of house we had, car we drove or clothes we wore. It didn’t matter if we were black or white, rich or poor, tall or short. We were Americans, but even more than that, we were humans. Plain and simple.

My point is this: why does it take a tragedy for us to begin finding peace? Why does a natural disaster, or a terrorist attack, or some devastating event for to show kindness, compassion and love? Why does it take a mass casualty event for us to hold our children a little tighter? And why does it take such a situation for us, as Christians, to actually act like Christians?

finding peace

Areal photo shows flooding and damage from Hurricane Irma on September 11, 2017. Photo: ABC News

Instead, we spend our time shaking our heads and wringing our hands complaining about what’s wrong with the world. We blame millennials. Or healthcare legislation. Or global warming proponents. Or the LGBT community. Or people who want to remove statues. Or the people who support keeping them up. Or Hillary Clinton. Or Donald Trump. The list goes on and on. It’s so much easier to attack people in the comments section of an ABC News article on Facebook than it is to get up and do something.

If you’re truly interested in finding peace, it’s time to be the peace. It’s time to move out of the comments section and “angry” reactions on Facebook and do something to advance the Kingdom. When’s the last time you volunteered in the community, helped someone out without expectation of something in return, or even gave to your church? We’re each called to spread the Gospel, and that means more than just speaking empty words.

“Preach the Gospel constantly. And use words if necessary.” – St. Francis of Assisi

Our reactions to the bad things that happen in the world are important. They show a lost, broken, hurting and fallen society that the love of Jesus can heal all wounds, no matter how big or small. But it’s important to remember those responses are equally important even after the needs of the victims of these tragedies have passed. I believe you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who’s ever found Jesus in an argument in the middle of the Comments section of Facebook. As the old cliche goes, we shouldn’t just go to church. We should be the church.

As a Christian, it’s so easy to be offended by what we see in society, and rightfully so. But how you respond to the pain of what you see is what counts. Hurricanes will happen again. Unfortunately, terrorist attacks probably will as well. Remember, our actions speak much louder than our words. How can you use those actions to build up the kingdom?

 STRUGGLING WITH FINDING PEACE? Trouble with anger, sadness or resentment? It doesn’t have to continue. Schedule an appointment, call me, or message me or Facebook. Appointments are available in Owensboro, Henderson and Online. It’s time to get your life back.