Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Yesterday, I wrote about an obligation all pastors have. Today, I am writing about one they don’t or, in my opinion, shouldn’t have. Permit me to elaborate. Since it happens to me, I assume that most every pastor, especially those who are in small or mid-size churches, is from time to time asked by some member if and how much another particular member is giving or tithing to the church. I assume that most pastors have access to that information or else that it can be made available to them upon request. Nevertheless, I would guess that most of them prefer not to pursue the matter. I am in that majority and I’ll tell you why.
Although I believe pastors should be in touch with their members and their families, I do not believe they should know everything about their personal lives, especially in private matters, like the issue of giving or tithing. When ascending to the pulpit, God’s ministers must be focused on the message God laid on their heart for the entire congregation. If they had previously been informed that so and so never gives any offering, they may be tempted to preach their message to that particular member. Not only that, it could cause them to bring the word while angry and upset which would nullify the good effect it would have had otherwise.
As far as the issue of giving and tithing goes, I believe in it wholeheartedly and have practiced it since the day Christ came into my life. Tithing today is different than on the day it was instituted. Then it was by law; today it is by grace, and Christians do it because of their love, dedication, and gratitude to God, not because they have to. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says: “Every man according as he purposed in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly , or of necessity: for God loves a cheerful giver.” If we whine or complain when we give, then we shouldn’t.
As I end today with this little joke I heard years ago, remember that good deeds alone will never get anyone into Heaven. It is not gospel, it is a joke: A man stood at the Pearly gates wanting to enter Heaven. The angel at the gate could not locate his record and wanting to know more about his “good deeds”, asked him if he had ever given offerings in church. The man replied that he once gave a dollar back in ‘89. The angel preferred to go back and ask someone higher to make the decision. He told him, “There’s a man here who wants to get into Heaven. I couldn’t find his “good deed” records but he did say he once dropped a dollar in the offering plate. What shall I do with him?” The higher up replied, “Give him back his dollar and tell him to go to Hell.”
Memory verse for the week: (Romans 10:14, NLT) But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?