This is a follow-up of the article I published a few days ago titled: TITHE & YOU.
When I published “Tithe & You” I knew it was a very sensitive topic and I wasn’t surprised at the volume of comments and remarks it generated on social media (especially on my Facebook page). Although majority of the comments came from people who agreed with my views and are in favour of tithing but there were some dissenters who had contrary views and did not hide their aggression on tithing. The only surprise was how ferocious the dissenters were in their comments and remarks. I took time to read through most of the comments and I discovered that many of the people that are opposed to tithing lacked sincerity in their arguments; they have no meaningful and coherent scriptural backing to substantiate their arguments; and their hostile comments were borne out of the negative and wrong perception they’ve formed about pastors and churches especially the wealthy ones.
There’s this set of people (some of whom profess to be Christians) who believe that every pastor they see in town is in ministry to enrich himself. So sad! It’s obvious that some people are offended by the fact that some pastors and churches are hugely blessed by God. I understand the sentiments of some people who are genuinely irritated by what they perceive as reckless stewardship and abuse of ministerial privileges by some pastors and ministers. Regrettably, the excesses of some ministers of God has not helped matters. And of a truth some crooks have infiltrated the rank and file of ministers of the Gospel and this has reflected very badly on the clergy. I fully understand! If you check my blog www.emmaomonblog.com, you will find several articles I have published in recent times aimed at addressing some of these issues. Indeed, there are serious issues plaguing the church in our nation! However, these should not be used as grounds to discountenance tithing or giving to the work of the gospel. The way to address these issues is not by campaigning against tithing or vilifying pastors for accepting tithes in their local churches.
I cannot speak for every pastor or preacher and I am not here to defend any pastor but I feel that the recent campaign launched by some disgruntled individuals against pastors and tithing is cruel and the critics have not been fare to genuine pastors and ministers of the Gospel who have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice so much to be in full time ministry. Indeed, some of us have given our all just to preach the gospel! Truth is, there are genuine and honest men of God in our land. Some people want to crucify every pastor they see in town just because a few pastors and ministries have been blessed enough to own private jets, schools and businesses. Let’s be honest, how many pastors are really wealthy? How many pastors really have good cars? And in most cases the few good cars pastors have were received as gifts. If you are not in ministry or heading a ministry you might never know how financially demanding it is to advance the work of the gospel in the present generation.
Tragically, some misguided zealots actually think they are working for God by spearheading or promoting a campaign against tithes and tithing in churches. It is delusional for anyone to think that he is advancing the kingdom of God by attacking tithes and church finances. Any so-called “revolution” that is aimed at crippling the finances of Christian churches and ministries is evil, and the people spearheading it are ignorantly or purposefully working against the kingdom of God.
In the previous article I promised that in the part two I’ll try to answer some of the questions people have raised concerning tithes and the validity of tithing in the New Testament dispensation. So, let’s begin.
Did Jesus believe in tithing?
One of the misleading narratives some people have been spreading is that Jesus did not believe in tithing. They say Jesus did not tithe and therefore pastors should stop talking about tithe. How wrong! Jesus believed in tithing! Jesus commended tithing and there’s not one place in scriptures where Jesus condemned tithes. In Mathew 23:23, where Jesus admonished the Pharisees for their hypocrisy he said: “… You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things” (NLT). What are these more important things? They are justice, mercy, and faith! The Pharisees were faithful in tithing but negligent in the matters of justice, mercy, and faith. Jesus commended their commitment to tithing but reprimanded them for showing no commitment to what he described as “the weightier matters”. If Jesus did not approve of tithing he would have condemned it but he didn’t, rather he commended tithing. Jesus raised awareness concerning the important issues that were neglected by the religious leaders but he did not go about condemning or discouraging tithing. We can borrow a leaf from Jesus!
Why was there no emphasis on tithing by the apostles in the early church?
The early church had a financial strategy and system that was effective in their generation which helped in funding the needs of the church and the work of the Gospel. The reason it appears as if tithe was relegated in the early church is because believers in the early church generally gave much more than 10% as they were inspired and enabled by the Holy Spirit. In other words, they gave their tithe and much more! The bible accounts that as many as had lands, houses and possessions sold them and brought the proceeds to the Apostles feet. Imagine a church where the members are committed to giving more than 10% or all of their income and resources – such was the early church!
Tell me any church you know in our country or any other part of the world today where the church members are committed to selling their lands, houses and possessions and bringing all the proceeds to the Apostles feet. And if there’s any such I can assure you that tithe will be of no emphasis because the people have already exceeded tithe level.
One good lesson we learn from the Levitical Order is that tithing is a minimal level of giving required by God. If you cannot give 10% how will you give 20%, 50% or 100%? If you cannot give more, at least you should give at the minimal level – 10% (tithe). The practice of tithes and offerings helps to generate stable income for running essential services in church, funding the work of ministry, helping the needy and providing for those who have sacrificed everything to work fulltime in ministry. Tithing is a valid and very effective reward system in the Kingdom of God.
Think of what would be the reaction of the skeptics today if members of churches were to start selling their lands, houses and possessions and bringing the proceeds to the Apostles feet. Skeptics are already vilifying pastors for accepting tithes. Can you imagine how they’ll brand pastors if church members were to start selling their properties and bringing the proceeds to the Apostles feet?
Is there any scripture in the New Testament that affirms the validity of tithing in the present dispensation?
In Hebrews 7:8, the bible says “Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he (Jesus Christ) receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives”. There’s no ambiguity in this scripture, yet it’s so hard for some people to understand or accept. This verse of scripture nails it! When ministers of God receive tithes here on earth, Jesus Christ receives the same tithes in heaven. The above passage of the bible teaches us that our tithes here on earth bear witness that Jesus lives. When you give (or pay) your tithe, you affirm that Jesus lives!
Is it proper for a pastor to be cursing his church members for not tithing?
It is wrong for any pastor to be cursing his church members for not tithing. Pastors are there to bless God’s children and not to curse! We do not force people to give but it is very appropriate and necessary to continue to inspire God’s children to tithe and give generously to the work of the Gospel. People generally are not inclined to giving unless they are inspired to. Pastors should lead by example! Pastors should teach their church members about stewardship and inspire them to give sacrificially. Pastors should nurture their church members spiritually and pray for them to have revelation knowledge of Jesus Christ and yield to God sacrificially. Giving becomes easy when we are sold out to God.
It is very important for pastors, ministers and church leaders to give good account of their stewardship so people can have full confidence in the financial system of the church and givers will be motivated to give even more. The time has come for churches to review their priorities and put more investments into charity projects, empowerment programs and propagation of the gospel. The days of misplaced priorities and wasteful spending are over! Beautiful buildings and cathedrals are good but Jesus didn’t die to save buildings, he died to save humanity! A time is coming that many of these cathedrals will be irrelevant for worship because they will be too small to accommodate the coming explosion in church growth. It makes no sense to be investing outrageous amount of money in garnishing cathedrals and be filling the cathedrals every Sunday with impoverished people! There’s nothing wrong with churches having investments or acquiring properties for the purpose of income generation. However, it is an error for any church to be acquiring countless number of properties everywhere and neglecting the poor and needy members of the household of faith. The church cannot solve all the socio-economic problems in our nation but let it be on record in heaven and on earth that we did our utmost. Shalom!
Author: Bishop Emma Omon
Bishop Emma Omon is a Revivalist, Civil Engineer, Author, Publisher, Inspirational Coach, The Presiding Bishop of The Radiant Church International and President of Emma Omon Global Outreach Inc.