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Tithing (long)

May 9th, 2007 at 01:47 pm

There is a thread on the forums about this so if anyone is interested in my POV...

When I found myself unable to work and facing medical bills, I sat down with my minister and the treasurer and we worked out a budget for me. When it was clear that I didn't have an income big enough to live on 90%, my minister said that part of the original use of the tithe was to help poor people. As I was now officially poor, I should not pay the tithe - in fact the church should be helping me. Which they did, with food parcels and the building team helped with home repairs and tending the garden.
I am now at the point where I am able to pay a portion to my church; when I get work I hope to be able to gradually get back up to 10%.

My church always provides financial counselling for people who are having difficulty, and will alleviate the tithe if there are genuine difficulties. If it is just bad money management, they are expected to tighten their belt and make a plan to pay off debt while continuing to contribute to the church. The ideal is:
80% bills and debt payment
10% tithe
10% savings

If this cannot be done, then they may start by saving and giving as little as $5, and gradually increase it to a percentage. Our minister insists that no one should compromise their future (retirement savings) for the sake of giving to the church, as they will wind up a burden in their old age. Nor does he insist on the full 10% being given to the church; most people give 6 or 7% and support charities of thier choice with the rest.

I do not think tithing is a "magic key" unless it is accompanied by good management of the 90%, and the churches' responsibility is to teach this. I agree it is disgusting when a church demands tithes from poor people and the minister lives in luxury while the congregation struggle - I have seen this happen with a church that had a lot of people on welfare. A few found their situation got better and gave glory to God; most wound up walking away in despair, their faith shipwrecked.

ETA: I was responsible for ds at the time. The key verse given me was "If any provide not for his own, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." My minister said he couldn't think of a better way to turn a child into a heathen than to have the parents giving to the church while not meeting the child's needs. (needs, not wants)

Another verse to bear in mind is: "Children should not lay up for their parents, but parents for their children." That is where the saving for retirement comes in. It is wrong if people give to the church all their life and wind up dependent on their children. In those cases the church should pay back the tither by helping them out.

So in a situation of real hardship don't feel bad if you can't make the tithe; remember - "if the eagerness to give is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have."

9 Responses to “Tithing (long)”

  1. monkeymama Says:

    Good post. You touched on a lot of my feelings on the subject.

    It was probably a lot easier to accept help, after giving, as well. I would imagine? IT takes strength to accept help...

    I am not anti-tithe, just anti-tithe on some blind hope of future help or redemption. But a position like yours I certainly understand and respect. Sounds like you are better for it.

  2. mariejensen2007 Says:

    Sounds like your church is very responsible-giving counseling in addition to structure rather just asking for money. Which churchis it? Would love to go to something like that locally.

  3. daybyday Says:

    I am anti-tithe and pro-"grace giving" (as some refer to it).

    I do think it's great that your pastor does take the stance that the church should be helping the poor, not the other way around.

  4. fairy74 Says:

    I think your pastor is a wise man and what a blessing your church offers financial counseling...so many people are entirely clueless.

  5. laceshawl Says:

    marie, I go to a Baptist church. I know even within my denomination there are differing viewpoints - but I don't know of any Baptist churches where tithing is compulsory.

  6. Gail Says:

    I feel horrible, I'm being torn apart with this tithe stuff. I am a single mom, have no family or relatives near me ( not close to my family and can't count on help from them at all) My son was in a foster home because of behavour problems ( he has ADHD pretty bad and can't be left without supervision. I put him in the foster home because I was going to loose my job over it. At work I was frantic and worried about what I would walk into when I came home. I love my son so much. After not having my son with me for over a year I felt miserable. I am his mom, God gave him to me to raise. He wasn't getting any Christian values in the foster homes, in fact learned alot of really bad ones.
    I had to decide if my son or my job was most important. I chose my son. He is 15. I am on welfare as I can't work right now until I come up with another alternative. We only live on $620 per month. We scrape by for food every month and end up going without most of the time. My son needs shoes desperately, his feet are falling out of the ones he has. If tithe this month, he will have to wear those shoes . I live by my means, in fact very simple and don't have credit cards and fancy extras.Everyone in my church seems to be doing ok, some have boats and nice homes that they own and nice cars ( I can't afford one myself). I do trust God and he has provided every month, But from food banks and such which bearly give much and you can only use them once.What does God say about this? I give anyway what I can. I even helped some one else with food this month, then went with out things for a few weeks because of it. I can't as a parent feel good when I can't provide my child basic needs.

  7. Gail Says:

    I would like to mention that I suffer from social anxiety and chronic depression. I think because I feel like I am a loser. Sometimes want to give up. I dream of doing something with my life but again no money. Oh well!!

  8. laceshawl Says:

    ((((Gail))))
    I've been there, so know how it feels. Sometimes you have to accept that now is the time to receive help. At another time you will be able to pass on the help you have recieved to pass on to others.
    Don't feel guilty about being on welfare. You know that under the Mosaic Law every Israelite was entitled to some land - that was their safety net, so they would have somewhere to live and be able to raise food if they didn't have any other income. Welfare is the modern safety net - at least that is how my church sees it. You paid taxes when you were working in the past, you are entitled to assistance now.
    - You need to check out whether you are recieving all the benefits you are entitled to. Can you get an advocate to assist you? What about food stamps?
    - Talk to your church leadership about the difficulties you are having. Get it all down on paper. Ask if you can help by giving time rather than money. Maybe help out in your Sunday School creche or the office. They may even be able to provide a few hours of paid work for you.
    - Don't feel you have all the responsibility for teaching your son Christian values; you need to work on making friends with some other families in church. It sounds like your boy needs to spend time in happy homes, and especially see the example set by good fathers. Again, maybe you could ask your minister about being "adopted" by a loving family.
    - Absolutely you are doing the right thing by putting your child's needs first. I'm sorry there is a double standard in some churches where married women are praised for staying at home with their children and told how bad daycare is, but single parents are expected to put their children into daycare while they work. Uhh, so daycare doesn't damage them? Also, nowhere is it written that giving to the church is the same as giving to God. If the church is taking more from you than you are recieving from them, like only one food parcel a month, something is very wrong. You know that Jesus was very critical of the religious leaders of His day because they robbed the poor people in the name of God. I am not saying your church is one of them, but there are preachers teaching tithing today who are just hypocrites and liars after money. Look carefully at the lifestyle the leadership of your church lives, then decide if you want to support while you and your son are in poverty. Your child is a precious gift of God, God has acted thru the govt to give you an income, and it should be spent to provide for his needs. So don't give away food that you need yourself.
    - Hope this helps. Is there some assistance you can get for counselling for depression? Believe me, things will get better, if you take responsibility for handling your money wisely. Just keep taking the next step, even tho it seems dark now, and one day you will find you are walking in sunlight again. Then you will be able to help others by showing the way out. God Bless.

  9. laceshawl Says:

    ((((Gail))))
    I've been there, so know how it feels. Sometimes you have to accept that now is the time to receive help. At another time you will be able to pass on the help you have recieved to pass on to others.
    Don't feel guilty about being on welfare. You know that under the Mosaic Law every Israelite was entitled to some land - that was their safety net, so they would have somewhere to live and be able to raise food if they didn't have any other income. Welfare is the modern safety net - at least that is how my church sees it. You paid taxes when you were working in the past, you are entitled to assistance now.
    - You need to check out whether you are recieving all the benefits you are entitled to. Can you get an advocate to assist you? What about food stamps?
    - Talk to your church leadership about the difficulties you are having. Get it all down on paper. Ask if you can help by giving time rather than money. Maybe help out in your Sunday School creche or the office. They may even be able to provide a few hours of paid work for you.
    - Don't feel you have all the responsibility for teaching your son Christian values; you need to work on making friends with some other families in church. It sounds like your boy needs to spend time in happy homes, and especially see the example set by good fathers. Again, maybe you could ask your minister about being "adopted" by a loving family.
    - Absolutely you are doing the right thing by putting your child's needs first. I'm sorry there is a double standard in some churches where married women are praised for staying at home with their children and told how bad daycare is, but single parents are expected to put their children into daycare while they work. Uhh, so daycare doesn't damage them? Also, nowhere is it written that giving to the church is the same as giving to God. If the church is taking more from you than you are recieving from them, like only one food parcel a month, something is very wrong. You know that Jesus was very critical of the religious leaders of His day because they robbed the poor people in the name of God. I am not saying your church is one of them, but there are preachers teaching tithing today who are just hypocrites and liars after money. Look carefully at the lifestyle the leadership of your church lives, then decide if you want to support them while you and your son are in poverty. Your child is a precious gift of God, God has acted thru the govt to give you an income, and it should be spent to provide for his needs. So don't give away food that you need yourself.
    - Hope this helps. Is there some assistance you can get for counselling for depression? Believe me, things will get better, if you take responsibility for handling your money wisely. Just keep taking the next step, even tho it seems dark now, and one day you will find you are walking in sunlight again. Then you will be able to help others by showing the way out. God Bless.

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