Contrary to popular belief: Churches don’t want your money. You will hear about capital campaigns and there are some scandals that have tarnished the message of money within religious organizations, but this is not the norm and it certainly doesn’t reflect the reason you are passed an offering plate during the service.
Automatons need not apply
Giving a tithe or an offering “because it says so in the Bible” is not what the church wants. Following words that are in print is not the same as following the teachings of God’s Word. The Bible is not a checklist and you certainly shouldn’t open your wallet because you think you have to.
Calling: Sold-out Believers
There is meaning behind the words in scripture that are more important than the amount of Benjamin Franklins you drop in the offering plate.
The church needs followers and sold-out believers. These are people who constantly study and improve their relationship with Jesus Christ and share it with others. What they really need are people to serve.
Larger churches may have a paid staff but you won’t find them paying people to believe. It’s against their religion.
God doesn’t command money from you
While it may be difficult to understand the Bible (I need a more contemporary version to get past all the “thous” and “shalt nots”), there are clear guidelines on how we are to live our lives. Is that because God wants to control you?
I challenge those who believe that The Book is a bunch of rules to really consider the spirit behind the Ten Commandments:
- You must not have any other god but me
- You must not make for yourself an idol
- You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God
- Keep the Sabbath day holy
- Honor your father and mother
- Do not murder
- Do not commit adultery
- Do not steal
- Do not lie
- Do not covet (your neighbor’s belongings)
These are rules, but do they really sound controlling to you? “Boo-hoo. I can’t steal or kill or dishonor my parents and lie? That’s so unfair!”
Wouldn’t you want your children to grow up having followed this list? BTW: Notice there is nothing in there about money?
It’s not a salvation thing
While Jesus spoke about money more than he did about Heaven and Hell combined, it was not to promote a wealth doctrine. He wanted to show where the boundaries of money should lie in our hearts and that giving is good for us. Eleven of thirty-nine parables talked about money. but not in give-take scenarios and he certainly didn’t promise salvation for any amount of money. We are asked, not commanded, to give a tithe to church (Malachi [3:10]) because of these reasons:
- It stretches our faith
- It changes our hearts
- It makes us more like Jesus who gave everything, even his life
I won’t say that giving 10% of our income and more in offerings has been easy, but it has changed me. I’m a better person because I give. I believe my wife remains the most beautiful woman in the world and my daughter has been kept safe because of our willingness to give. It’s not insurance or buying God’s blessings, that would be ridiculous! I do, however, believe God looks down on us and smiles as he sees us following his guidance, much in the way we do when our children impress us with their time, talents, and treasures.
The Church may want us to give our money, but not for the reasons we think.