Giving in the Church...
This verse has stuck with me ever since, that even asleep, you ask me to recite it I will be very quick to, without blinking. My tithing and giving offering, even when it was not convenient stemmed from my awareness of the above. From what I can remember, and what is still happening today, ministers do whatever it takes to make people give without taking into consideration their financial situation. All kinds of manipulation, you just name it, is being used in churches today. At some points, I felt that my financial hardship was tied to my not tithing or giving consistently or when asked. And when I did give, there was not much difference in my situation.
As I started to mature and understand more about the word of God, I realized that We do not have to tithe, since we are under the New Testament, that is, Jesus Christ came as a fulfillment of the law, and therefore no longer bound by the law of Moses. However, if you must, be sure you can trust the minister/church to use the money rightly. And if you do not feel comfortable giving to your church, sow the money into the life of someone who really needs it. Besides, giving should be willingly, not forcefully, or manipulatively. Imagine how hearing this kind of message messed up my theology? For someone who can pretty much sing Malachi 3:8, you bet it did.
Reading through the book of Exodus 35:20-29; "and everyone who was WILLING and whose HEART MOVED him came and brought an offering..." I thought to myself, why have I never heard some preachers read this passages, when they talk about giving? Why are they ok with manipulating people to give? or don't they know that God loves a cheerful giver? How do they think people can be cheerful when they are being robbed of their hard earned money? All these questions flooded through my mind.
And oh, I have often heard, you give out of your need, just like the Shunamite woman did. Really? Did they forget that that was a rare case, that she was acting on instruction? Anyways, I am not trying to say do not give to your churches at all, because I still do pay my tithes and give offerings when I have it, because I trust my church, but not to the point where I feel guilty or equate my lacking at a particular time to not giving. And this is not an excuse for those who never really liked to give to completely hold back. All I am saying is that we be wise with our money, sow and tithe into a church or a cause you can trust, after all it is more blessed to give than to receive. Remember that giving entails much more than finances. What can you give in God's house today, or into spreading the gospel?