I had a few ideas in mind but nothing written down when I wrote The Christmas Stress Factor. One thought that missed the post completely was the financial stressor. I’m not talking about maxing the credit cards buying presents for every man and his brother (that stress usually hits in the middle of January when the bills arrive). I’m talking about all the good causes that will ask during this time of year. Continue reading
You come to an intersection, stop in a line of cars, and you see him. His clothes are well worn, his hair and beard are unkempt, and his hand scrawled sign reads “Anything helps.” It’s not that you would miss a few dollars, it’s that there is no telling what he will use it for. He may buy alcohol, cigarettes, or even something illegal. These days, not every beggar is really a person in need. Some walk back to their car at the end of the day and drive home, making more in a day than an honest worker.
“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. (Luke 6:27-31, ESV)
If there is food in my pantry, gas in my tank, and still cash in my pocket, I give some of it to the guy with the sign. I have been richly blessed beyond what I deserve, materially and otherwise. We are blessed in order to bless others. But what if he buys booze with it? Then he will give account to God for that someday, as we each will for what we did with our time, our talents, and our resources. We have also been blessed with unprecedented access to God’s written word. We will give account for what we did with that as well. “Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”(Hebrews 13:1-2, ESV)
Tithing is a tricky thing. If a church pastor preaches a sermon on tithing, he will be accused of being interested only in money. The pastor’s salary (minister, priest, etc) is probably set in the church budget. It’s not like if the church has a good day at the offering plate, he’s going out to Golden Corral after the service. But try to teach on the subject of tithing if you don’t believe me, and see if words like meddling or greedy aren’t tossed around freely.
The issue I wish to address here is the practice many Christians have of tithing exactly ten percent of each dollar earned. I mean to respond to questions such as:
- Is tithing an Old Testament command?
- Are Christians required to tithe?
- Does Jesus demand a tithe?
- How much should one tithe, if anything? Continue reading