Q: I recently moved and have not found a good biblical church yet. So I’m not a member of any local churches. Most seem to busy with programs that seem to benefit the themselves rather than anything to do with helping poor or all of the churches I’ve found seem to be watered down. My question is do I have to give to a local church and must I give 10 percent and what if I can’t find a local church that is teaching solid biblical truth? How much should I be giving?
A: Many people become very legalistic about such matters. However there is no scripture that commands us to Tithe to a church. The tithe of the Mosaic Law was a tax for the country just as a local or state tax are the same, but God’s law of ten percent for Israel. This by the way was NOT considered giving! So many get off the narrow path of Jesus and on the wide path of legalism, mainly corrupt churches teach such things and boy will they let you know how you should be giving your Tithe. Some even say the Tithe is more than ten percent.
Many have a very odd view of what the church is today and how it’s supposed to operate. We are given a pretty clear picture of what we should do in a local church and what the local church should be. Many also take Hebrews 10:25 as a mandate to attend church. While I agree, if you have a bible study church to go to a believer needs to remember you don’t “go to church” you are the church. You don’t leave church, you are always in church. One does not leave the body of Christ ever. That said, Hebrews 10:25 isn’t a mandate to attend church but to keep on keeping on with holding of group bible studies, learning, advancing and maturing spiritually in God’s word. This can even be done at one’s home.
My grandmother did bible studies at her home for many years. She herself would go to a bible church, study and bring it back to her group. We should give God’s great news to anyone who would listen and God revealed his great glory though her. Let me tell you something, a believer in the right frame of mind, in fellowship with God 1 John 1:9 and maturing in God’s word DAILY God can use to do amazing things with.
So we are told to study 2 Tim 2:15 this is a personal command to each one of us to study daily! Hebrews 10:25 which tell us we should have normal gatherings that is group bible studies.
Look it’s rather simple. Many of these churches the Pastor and others there have big fat salaries. They have to push people to give or else the salaries dry up. A good pastor will never ask you about money. A good pastor who is grace orientated will never even mention it. He will teach about proper giving, but he’ll never get up there on the pulpit and abuse it and talk about how much money the church needs. To do so is like saying God doesn’t know what the church needs and that God can’t move believers to give. I’ve been told, well they don’t know they need to give. God knows and he can have believers be moved to give even without your pastor getting up there and telling what they need. I’m not saying a pastor can’t tell us about a ministry somewhere and the likes, I believe it’s great for us to help but he’s not going to abuse his position in trying to make his wallet bigger or build a bigger church, etc. He’s not a King, he’s a servant.
These churches that think they must “build a bigger church” don’t understand what they should do. God will make sure every given local church has all the people it’s needs with the right given gifts. If a church grows larger than it can hold, it should start another church some where NOT build a bigger church. It’s much harder to corrupt small local churches who will have more accountability and people will know people personally and can hold leaders to accountability easier. This idea of mega-churches causes me to cringe. I’ve yet to see a good bible based mega-church. Most I see teach the prosperity gospel which isn’t a gospel at all but chains of bondage. Most people’s ears get tickled by the great sounding message that they never see the chains of coveting, materialism, greed or selfishness slammed on. It’s quite tragic to see people caught up in the PG message.
We don’t give a tithe. It’s not commanded of us to tithe. Before you run off, keep reading…
Back to what the Tithe was, it was a tax is Israel. It wasn’t considered giving it was considered the mandatory. Giving was above and beyond the ten percent. This is what many can’t understand today. Even many people whom I believe to be wonderful bible teachers still want to call it a tithe. We as Christians are not paying a tax! We give.
Let me give you the example God gave us. It’s right there in 2 Corinthians 9:7
Each man(person literally) should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
This should literally say “ Each person give as they have decided to do in their heart (kardia, mentality of the soul) not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God unconditionally loves (agapaō) a cheerful giver.
Let’s look at this, what is a cheerful giver? Let’s look at the word cheerful, it’s the Greek word (hilaros) from which we get our word “hilarious” from. The word hilarious means to be exceedingly merry cheerful or joyful without any grudging. It’s meaning is describing someone who is cheerfully ready to act because they already persuaded, won over by God’s kindness and Love. This person is also maturing in God’s word, studies the bible daily and has a day to day, hour by hour relationship with the Father in perfect fellowship (1 John 1:9)
This believer looks at life knowing full well the Lord is in control of their lives and provides everything. Therefor giving is simply saying thank you, you are my Lord, I am your child.
Not that the Lord needs anything from us, but let me give you another example. Say your with Jesus at a burger joint. You don’t have any money, and he pulls out a hundred dollar bill and gives it to you. He just gave you more than you even needed. We see this and in right mental attitude say, Lord since I know you provide everything, I’m buying your lunch and here’s half of the left over or all of what’s left or whatever you in your mind feel cheerful in giving back. That’s giving. When all the outside pressures have left and all there is left is you and God.
In the world viewpoint we should give back the change because it wasn’t ours to start with, but God doesn’t give to us with requirement to give back the change. He doesn’t give as the world gives(John 14:27). He gives to us for us to have. We give back in worship of him. It’s worship, it shows that we are under His control and know it and know that everything we have is His even our own body, soul and spirit belong to Him.
So if someone is pushing you to give some percentage RUN! It’s not biblical, they are trying to live by the old law and not the new law Jesus delivered to us. By the way, the Israelites didn’t follow the law to be saved, they followed the law BECAUSE they believed God. Then what happened is some people got very legalistic about following the law to the point they said to be saved you must follow the law. That some how following the law is what saved you, by your own righteousness and not God’s righteousness. The idea of following the law to be saved absolutely tramples Christ.
In our time of the Church Age, it’s our job to do all things in Faith of Jesus(Romans 14:23). That’s how we follow the law today. Jesus said if you Love your neighbor as yourself then you have summed up the entire law in your life. (Galatians 5:14, 1 Corinthians 16:14) The Law was never about your behavior, it has always been about your mind.
Is it darkness or is it of God’s light. (Colossians 3:23,1 Corinthians 10:31) If it’s darkness you will do the things of darkness, if it’s light you will do the things of the light.
After all this is exactly what God said he did way back there in Genesis 1:4.
When you give with all joy and cheerfulness, you’ll be blessed abundantly. John 10:10