Last week, USA Today ran an article about how some Christians continue to tithe (give 10% of their income to church) despite not being able to pay their mortgage:
“I’ve had home owners who face foreclosure sitting in front of me saying, ‘I’ll do anything, anything to keep my home,” said Ozell Brooklin, director of Acorn Housing in Atlanta, a nonprofit which offers foreclosure counseling.
“But after we’ve gone through their monthly expenses and the only thing left to cut is their tithe, they say ‘I guess this home is not for me’ and they walk away,” he said.
I can understand religious people putting God before their own comforts. To them, tithing is not a minor expense; it’s the most important thing they can do with their income.
But if you were their pastor, wouldn’t it be prudent of you to refuse their money? Why not tell them to take care of themselves and their family before the church?
Or if you do give money to church but face financial difficulties, why not give less money but volunteer more of your time?
Even suggesting this may backfire:
“You can suggest that maybe they can pay their tithe in kind, through volunteer work,” said Bathsheba Wyatt-Draper, a counselor at nonprofit lender NHS Chicago. “But if they react badly, you have to let it go. Period.”
Giving the money when you don’t have it seems counterproductive to me.
If you take care of yourself and your family, you’ll probably be able to give much more to the church in the future.
By putting God first — regardless of the situation — the religious people are thinking short-term only. That’s not going to help them or their church.
Church leaders who know parishioners in these dire situations, but continue to take their tithed income, are just taking advantage of these people.
(via Get Rich Slowly. Thanks to Lexi for the link!)