What Happened To Me
I have to start this off by saying that I am a church going, bible believing Christian. I am a member of a church and attend regularly. I truly believe that God created the universe and everything in it and therefore it ALL belongs to Him. I do give a regular offering to the church. The church is doing God's work which takes some money, and the money does belong to God in the first place.
Most of us who live in the United States have heard about Jesus, God, Heaven and Hell. Most of us have also been to church and/or seen church on television or heard it on radio. And almost all of us have heard that God commands us to give 10% of all our income back to him through our home church.
I have been hearing about this thing called a tithe as long as I can remember from more people than I can remember. The one thing I have not ever heard is a single pastor following up the claim of God commanding us to give 10% of my income to the church with actually showing the command to give 10% of our income to the church. So I asked some of the leadership at my church to show me this command in the bible and they got defensive, started skirting the request and never did show me the actual command.
Don't get me wrong. I am thankful for God's provision and I believe that the money I have belongs to God. I believe in stewardship and I believe that God wants us to do certain things with what He provided us with. I also believe that God knows better than I do and I should be obedient because God has what is best for me in His heart. I was just having a problem with reconciling the scripture where God calls a man that does not take care of his family something along the lines of the lowest form of life, with the claims of the church that if you give the church 10% of your increases then God will return it back to you many times over. Why does the church use the word increases instead of money? The church does not seem to interested in 10% of your Christmas or birthday presents. I have never heard of a church taking a collection of candy after Halloween.
Does God returning it to you many times over mean if I make $1000 this week and give my church $100 then the next week I will make at least $3,000? Does God really want me to give a tenth of all my increases, money, property, anything I get today that I didn't have yesterday to the church so my pastor can live in a bigger house, drive a newer car and send his kids to a good college even if means that my kids won't have a place to live, anything to eat and don't get to go to college at all? Wouldn't this make me the lowest form of life in God's eyes?
Many churches including the one I attend use Malachi 3:10 as God’s command to give 10% of your income to the church saying that tithe simply means tenth.
Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.
I made the mistake of asking, “Why does this mean a tenth of our income? How do you know that it doesn’t mean a tenth of our sunflower seeds?” Although the question may on the surface seem smarty pants and absurd, it is a legitimate question since no definition of tithe is in this passage or anywhere in the entire chapter of Malachi 3. I guess I must just not be as literate as the church leadership because all they did was give me nasty looks instead of answering the question.
So I started praying for guidance and clarification. During this time of asking for guidance I kept getting directed to the same five words in the bible that came out of Jesus' mouth. Jesus said while giving the sermon on the mount, "Seek and you will find" (Matt 7:7). So I started seeking.