The Grace of Giving
Monday, March 21, 2011

 

"God loves a cheerful giver." 2 Cor. 9:7     

           I have two friends in ministry who steadfastly disagree with me on the issue of tithing.  They have biblically sound arguments which are strong and powerful.  But for those of who believe the tithe is a biblical standard to be practiced by Christians, we also have strong powerful biblical arguments.  And in both positions there is passion.  However, there is one area in which we all agree, it is by grace we have been saved, through our faith, so that no one can boast.  In other words, whether we believe that we give fully out of a response to God’s grace or we give in a manner that is pleasing to God, neither is a salvation issue.  

             Last week after having a discussion on tithing with one of my friends, I had an encounter which makes the whole issue of money and Christian giving come to light.  One of my friend’s objections to tithing is that it takes the Christian mind off grace.  He points to the waste of money by elements in the church (namely televangelists) and the scar that such abuse places on the Church and on the faith.  A position I couldn’t agree with more.  The following day after our discussion, I was having lunch with some friends who were talking about the response of the “faithful ladies” of the Church at the death of one of their parents.  I made the comment, “Yes, it is times like those that the Church is at its best.”  Still fresh on my mind was the “televangelist” discussion, and I added, “It is sad that the world has begun to see the Church only through the eyes of television.”  When I said that, I opened a floodgate of discussion.  

              Money has become the new “god” of so many segments of Christianity.  And while much of the Church is starving, many sacrificing everything they have to feed orphans, support widows, and provide basic care to the dying (and I challenge this is the vast majority of the Church), the sad reality is that all most people see of the Church is the mean spirited, greedy hawkers on television.  They are laced with jewelry, all have hairdo’s that make any 1960’s reject twist in envy, drive the most fancy of vehicles, many have private planes, and most raise money for their “ministry” by showing a few photos of starving orphans, battered women, and other human tragedy.  They are the new Judases of the world.  They sell Jesus on the airwaves and crucify Him all over again.

                You have read my words before, but “Christian book stores” are only a reflection of this love of money that permeates the Church.  They sell far more trinkets than books, and the books they do sell seldom reflect the deeper thinking of the saints.  They are pabulum for those who desire not to go too deep when thinking about their faith, yet claim to have read some great Christian book.  I love to read.  I believe that reading is one of the great gateways to understanding the Kingdom of God, but I am saddened that what is available for Christians to read is merely a reflection of the greed of the modern Church and has little to do with equipping the saints. 

               The same is true for Christian radio and talk.  Seldom do we hear of glorifying God in all we do, but the “Christian” airwaves are filled with health, wealth, and political talk.   Jay Sekulow commands more air time than R.C. Sproul, or the few other profound theologians who have managed to capture some space on the radio.  And the reason is clear – money.  These modern day Robin Hoods of robbing from the poor to give to the rich, are darkening the image of Christi at almost every turn.  And while I believe the Church should be free of taxation, I applaud the investigators who looked at these bejeweled televangelists to make sure that they are legitimately the Church.  

              The sad thing I encounter in my travels is poverty beyond what any American can imagine.  Faithful servants  desperately need help for the orphans, food for the widows, and medical assistance for the hurting.  And the true Church is desperately trying to meeting those needs.  But they are hampered by the despicable practices of the greedy elements, and thus giving continues to plummet in times of great need.   

               Let me leave you with this thought.  Judas is alive and well on planet earth today.  So too are the money changers in the temple.  But let us not forget that the Church is working hard to “be there” in times of family grief; there are men and women who work tirelessly and sacrificially to provide for orphans and widows; there are pastors who don’t adorn jewels that work 80 or more hours every week, invisibly striving to touch lives with the Good News of Jesus Christ.  Learn who those people are and get let them share in your abundance.  You see, for my friends who believe in tithing and for those who don’t we share a common denominator of belief.  God desires His Kingdom be advanced here on earth, and we would all join with John Wesley in his attitude toward giving – make all you can so that you can give more for the Kingdom of God.

                So when arguments are cast your way about the abuses of the Church and its money – don’t argue.  Agree!  But then point to the hard work that is being tirelessly and sacrificially done for Christ.  And know the difference, so that you can share worthwhile causes with those opponents to the gospel.


Kingdom Road Ministries
PO Box 503
10 South Main, Suite 201
Victor, ID 83455
903-262-5088
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