Religion of 2013-10-23

Tithing is for ‘gullible’ Christians

....Not Christian Economists
At a point, one of my best friends was a Buddhist. He had been an atheist for a long time until he resolved it was time to believe in something. He decided the Abrahamic religions were too arrogant and didn’t quite give room for dissent. He found that those who subscribed to their teachings were usually very gullible and vulnerable. They were those who found it sacrilegious to pry into the wherefores of the very things that underpin their beliefs. He satisfied himself that Buddhism allowed him to think outside the defined confines of the art of living. He passed away three years ago. His name was Jason Roberts, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom. May Buddha keep his soul.
Jason was right about the gullible part, and maybe the vulnerable bit, too. If today a trusted archaeologist discovers the bones of Jesus in a certain tomb, Christianity will be the biggest fraud ever cooked. It requires some amount of gullibility and indeed some vulnerability, to believe that a certain gentleman died some 2,000 years ago and rose again, so all mankind is saved if they believe. Prof Richard Dawkins will not buy that and I don’t blame him. He is too intelligent to settle for a story. Jason didn’t buy it, too.
Now, the real test of the gullibility: Work very hard, so hard and sign away 10% of your hard earnings to a church or a pastor, and pretend that you gave it to God. Suddenly, you will be so blessed that you will not have room for your blessings, pressed down and shaken together, running over until your blessings pour onto your laps. (Luke 6: 38). If you don’t do this, you are stealing from God. You will also deny yourself your blessings. Do it and He who walks on the wings of the wind will open the Heavens on your account and rain material prosperity on you and your generation, until you are too blessed.
Keep the 90% for yourself. Do whatever you want with it but the 10% is your first fruit, which comes back to your source of provision–God. The principle behind tithing is that you are merely making an acknowledgment that you may have worked hard through the month to earn your wages, but the source of your enablement–that which made all Grace abound to you (2 Corinthians 9:8), to be able to work in the first place–deserves a little bite of what He gave you. And it is not that He needs your money; it is because you are privileged to be able to give unto Him who first gave you.
My great-great spiritual grandfather, the Archbishop Nicholas Boye Duncan-Williams, has often asked: What is it that you have that you did not receive? It is not so much that the hardworking reaped more, or that the swift galloped a bigger distance, but time and chance happened to them all. It is God that showeth mercy. And He would have mercy on whom he chooses to have mercy, and He would show compassion to those that He decides deserve compassion. That is why He is God. (Romans 9: 15).
If God would bless me anyhow, whether I tithe or steal from Him by not tithing, then why do I bother to tithe? Why don’t I keep my money and decide to commit the same amount I would have paid in tithes to sponsor a needy neighbor’s education? Isn’t showing a needy person some kindness pleasing unto God than giving the money to a bling-bling pastor who is already living in luxury? Or look at this way: instead of making a monthly commitment of GH400 to a church or a pastor with a guy-name (that is if your monthly salary is GH4000), I could add up the GH400 for a year or two and contribute the lump-sum towards a development initiative in a poor village community. And for those who live abroad, many have wondered whether there is wisdom in paying your tithe to your local church in Ghana when you worship in a new church in Atlanta.
Whenever we talk about tithing, a certain presupposition is immediately operative: Where is the money going go? Perhaps if we were in the days of old where the currency for commerce was foodstuff or some farm produce, we would not find it necessary to discuss the economic merits of tithing. True, parting with a tenth of GH100,000 is not exactly an easy effort, but those who have dared to remain faithful have had reason to count a thousand fold of the little seed they sent away to God. It is a biblical principle, not an economic decision or an academic exercise. There are no pros and cons here; there are only constants: Fill the tithe card every month and send the money away.
The thing about being a Christian is that you cannot be too much of a Christian to know more than the Bible. It does not matter what interpretation you give to Malachi 3: 8-10, or Amos 4: 4. Those who question the instruction on tithing are not Christians. Tithing is not for discussion; it is just to be obeyed. And often times those who find reason not to pay, citing context and Israel and Levites, are usually those who have never actually tried paying any tithe at all in their lives. The pastor’s Bentley or private jet should not prevent you from obeying God’s word. His wife’s shoes and headgear should not stand in your way. Yours is to do it in obedience and watch Him exceed His promise.
Presently showing on American television is ‘Preachers of LA’, a documentary that has received a lot of commentary around the world. What does a man of God need a Bentley or a private jet for? Well, what does a CEO of a company need a great car for? My pastor doesn’t have a Bentley or a jet, but if he had one, I wouldn’t revise my tithe paying commitments or offering obligations. Any pastor who buys a jet may have given away several jets to many others. And a Bentley is just an expensive car whose value can be quantified. You couldn’t put a monetary value on your faith. It is by faith that you dispense a 10th of your earnings to God, and it is by faith that you would receive the blessings that were promised Abraham. Tithing is an expression of faith, not money.
Unless you do not identify as a Bible-believing Christian, you are obligated to pay up your tithe every month, and promptly too. If your church is rich and your pastor owns a Rolls Royce, still pay up. Tithing is consecration, a private consecration which will ultimately reveal the public manifestation of God’s glory on you (Bishop John Francis, Roach, London). Ooops it is that time of the month. Where is my tithe book?
Kwesi Tawiah-Benjamin, Ottawa
bigfrontiers@gmail.com
Source: Tawiah-Benjamin, Kwesi
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