Should the church tithe on the offerings it receives from members?
Some churches support local missionaries from the church or others who go collectively for a denomination. Either way, missionaries couldn’t possibly go on their own because they simply couldn’t afford it. Just as other members of the church supported Jesus and Paul in his missionary work, churches are the backbone of the missionaries coming out of America and going into all the world as they’re (and we’re) commanded. Of course, we might not be able to go ourselves but we can at least go next door. We’re all called to be on mission and are ambassadors for Christ (2nd Cor 5:20).
Feeding the Poor
Our church supports the poor as best we can and that’s not nearly enough of course, but because we can’t do everything, it doesn’t mean we can’t do something, and so we have a ministry for the poor where we distribute clothing and food, but we also have a nursing home ministry and a prison ministry because we want to use the church’s offerings or in most cases, our own personal finances, to do what Jesus Christ commanded us to do. James writes, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:27). He is saying that talk without works is useless (James 1:22-24). When Jesus Christ returns, “the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt 25:34) but the children of God won’t remember their good works and so Jesus reminds them that when you clothed the naked, when you gave food to the hungry, when you gave water to the thirsty, when you visited the sick, when you went to those in prison (Matt 25:35-36) it was doing it for Him, just as He said, “’as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me’” (Matt 25:40). They didn’t keep a record of their good works because they knew that God had ordained good works ahead of time for them to do (Eph 2:10). What Jesus’ point may have been was that we must forget the good works we do so that God will remember them, but if we remember them before others, God will forget about them.
Should Churches Tithe?
Some churches tithe the amount they receive in offerings to support other worthwhile religious programs, mostly missionaries, but also in sending Bible, planting churches, training local pastors, and other such worthy causes, but should a church tithe the amount of offerings that they receive? The tithe simply refers to 10%, so if a church takes in $50,000 in a year, $5,000 dollars would be a tithe or 10% of that amount, but there is nothing in the Bible where churches in the New Testament are supposed to tithe nor does the Old Testament law of the tithe seem to apply to churches themselves. Often churches give much more than 10% but they don’t do so just to be tithing; rather they give, like individuals do, joyfully and from the heart. They don’t give out of a feeling of compulsion or obligation, nor because the law requires 10%. They give because that’s what God does; He gave the most (John 3:16) so we could have the best (Matt 25:34). A compulsory amount can be agreed upon by the church but it doesn’t have to be 10%. It can be more or it can be less, depending upon the resources of the church. Some small churches may give more, proportionally, than do the bigger churches, but the important thing is that God looks at the heart (1st Sam 16:7).
Reaping and Sowing
Every farmer knows that they will sow what they reap but they will only reap what they sow much later than they sow it. The more they sow, the more they expect to reap and this same principle applies to individuals and for churches with what God has entrusted to them. We are stewards of what we’ve been blessed with. The Apostle Paul reminded the Galatians to “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap” (Gal 6:7) and “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2nd Cor 9:6) so “let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Gal 6:9), meaning we might not see our full harvest until the kingdom arrives.
Today is the best day of your life if you decide to repent and believe. Today is the best day for deciding to choose life (2nd Cor 6:2) because tomorrow may be too late (Heb 9:27). Hell will be full of procrastinators and people with good intentions. Please choose life today (John 3:36a) or the abiding wrath of God for all time (John 3:36b).
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.