The Short Stick

In this post I’ll be talking about a controversial subject, tithing.  I’ve heard all the arguments on both sides. I am writing this not to incite division or confusion.  I’ve been pondering and praying about it for two weeks whether I should go on ahead.  I didn’t want to write about it, I don’t like to talk about subjects that’s decisive and controversial when it pertains to Biblical doctrines.  It’s been eating me up so I decided to address it.  I would highly encourage comments and express your thoughts both scriptural and personal.  Be civil and respect each others opinion.   We’re all here to learn and teach each other.

After over a year attending a local church, I’ve decided to be a member of this congregation. I don’t know if this is a new thing and exclusive only among American churches that requires a membership, going to a class and filling a membership form. They are conditions that need to be fulfilled first before you become a member.  I do understand that the relationship between the church and it’s people should be mutual, meaning to help each other, but I believe also that it should be voluntary at all times.  It should always be out of your own heart, it should be between you and God.

Back in the days, the churches that I went to never have such things.  You just go and once they get to know you, you’re a member.  I often hear from “church less” Christians referring to churches today as social clubs and sadly one of the reason why they don’t go.  Is this the reason why majority of the church today is called as such.  I was so excited to get back so that I could serve again and be involved in advancing God’s kingdom.  You are encouraged to serve regardless if you’re a member or not.  One thing that bothers me is the tithing part where you have to pay you’re tithes first to become a member.  I know you’re probably fuming right now, saying that money belongs to God and if I a m a good Christian I should do so without hesitation and reservation. But I am not that kind of guy,  I like to think not what but how and critically.  I like to question things, Christian or not.  For some I’m probably be considered a threat or a trouble some individual.  I thank God I am that way because through that I got to know Him and finally found the truth.

Before I receive the email that morning I was reading my Bible which happens to be on Matthew 23:23, …”For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest part of your income but you ignore the more important things of the law – justice, mercy, and faith.  You should tithe, yes, but you should not leave undone the more important things.”  I have no idea why on that day I happen to read this verse and receiving that email on the same day, saying my membership application is on hold due to the fact that I’m not paying tithes though I plan to do so in the future.

the short stick color11

I admit I felt sad and bummed out.  I felt like I wasn’t good enough that I miss out on God’s kingdom.  It’s like the door of heaven is finally wide open only to have it slammed shut at my face. It is so hard to find a church nowadays that preach the truth and not what people want to hear. I love this church, the people are down to earth.  The worship and preaching are fantastic but to end up like that, it’s disheartening.

I like it when grace, mercy and faith applies to our sins.  “Come as you are,” they say, let God work in your hearts and change you, you don’t have to come clean right now.  But paying tithes, nope.  I can’t fathom imagining if I see Jesus Christ and His apostles and you have a calling in your heart  to follow them and they find out you don’t pay tithes and they’ll say to you, “Sorry bro. you’ve got to pay first.”

For those of you who don’t know, I try to follow the Torah.  I got this weird look when I am ask why I prefer not to eat pork and sea shells and observing the Sabbath day.  Yet, there’s the tithes which is a Mosaic law.  Why would you pick one law and ignore the rest saying we’re not under the old covenant anymore but a new covenant.

I don’t have a problem with tithes.  It’s the motivation behind it.  I see grace and mercy preach all the time when it comes to sin and sinning.  What if we view sin the way we talk about tithes – absolute obedience to tithing, absolute obedience to the word of God by not sinning.  And not, “Oh, I’m under God’s grace.”  And faith, we always talk and preach about faith.  I love it when someone says, have faith.  Do you think God will let the church go financially broke?  Is it necessary to go beating around and force people to pay tithes instead of having God work someones heart?  Isn’t that a lack of faith?  Don’t you think at this very moment I’m writing this God is not moving in my heart?

One thing I love about Christianity so much is it’s all voluntary.  It’s good that way.  No force, no threats.  When the time comes, it’s not only your resources or time that you are willing to give.  When you give out of your heart, you pretty much give everything all of you.  It’s a good feeling.  No guilt, no doubts, no worries.  Just peace knowing that you give it all out of your heart and love for God.

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