Should I Give When My Pastor Drives a Bentley?
I have a question about tithing. I want to begin tithing even though I don’t have it to really give, but I know I must give what I can, even if it’s not the full 10% just yet. May God help me get to where I can give more fully. But my real question is: Must what I can afford to give be offered solely to the church in order to be considered a proper tithe?
Honestly, when I see the pastor pull up in a Bentley…I do not want to give to him if it will be used to finance his expensive car, house, and all-around lifestyle. I want to give directly to what I believe the money should go to, like an orphanage or St. Jude Children’s Hospital or a local soup kitchen. Can I give directly to them instead and offer my time through volunteering for it to be acceptable tithing in God’s eyes?
What an important question!
I do believe that God is always going to bless us when we give (note: a blessing does not necessarily mean material or financial). I don’t believe that blessings should be the motivation for giving nor do I think that we have the right to dictate ahead of time the nature of that blessing, example: “I am giving back to God and I expect him to make me financially successful”. Giving isn’t about the blessing. It is about an act of worship, relationship with Christ, and Faith.
I also believe in tithing as a part of overall giving. There is debate of Old Testament versus New Testament when it comes to the validity of the tithe. Some say that because it is old testament teaching that it is not valid. At the same time, do you really think that God wants us to disregard a good percentage of the Bible? I believe that God set the standard for the tithe as 10% in the Old Testament.
I also believe that you give to the church as a first priority. Some believe that tithes and offerings go to other places beside the church. The church is the bride of Christ that is on a mission. God uses the people of the church to work to accomplish that mission. Through God’s church as a whole, great strides can be made towards reaching the lost and showing Christ’s love. If God has not given you a confidence that your church is on mission, it is important to explore those feelings. I feel it is important to be in a church that you feel is on mission.
Plus, there are general expenses that have to be paid in any church. This is where a person goes to learn and grow. This is where children learn about God for the first time. I think that it is important for each to do their part versus being a consumer of the church.
You do have to feel comfortable that your church is being a good steward over the money it is given. I would agree that a high-end, expensive car could send the wrong message for someone in non-profit work. Having said that, that is between your pastor and God. I would encourage you to pray about your giving and have God ease your unrest.
Remember it is not about the action of giving-it is about where your heart lies before you give. Your heart is determined by your prayer time with God. Put these questions to prayer, read what the Bible says about money, and trust God to give you a sense of peace concerning direction.