Jesus: Will Work for Food

August 24, 2009

With the economy still in the dumps, more people than ever are watching where they put there money.

Which means more Christians than ever are trying really hard to come up with good reasons they shouldn’t have to tithe. I’ve had a few interesting conversations about this lately. People have always wondered why they should give Jesus their money, but at times like these, it’s even more fun to talk about.

Four Lame Arguments From Non-Tithers

We’re not under the law
This is the classic lame argument from people who don’t want to fork over some cash. They like to talk about how Jesus never says anything about tithing, and how he abolished the law. So people who tithe are a bunch of legalistic old cranks who should shut it.

First, Jesus did say something about tithing. He commended the poor woman who tithed her two coins, which he called “all she had.” Here’s a clue: it was probably more than 10% of her net income.

Second, everything can become legalistic. We are bound by rules. If I decide to not be a “legalist” by no longer eating every day, I will eventually die. By your logic, we should quit going to church, quit going to our jobs, quit everything we do on a regular basis for the sake of ‘freedom.’ Nice try.

My church is greedy and tries to make me feel bad for not tithing.
People love to be outraged by some vague idea of the church misusing their money. It’s like their church is extorting money from them with hired goons, and then using the money to broker deals with corrupt government officials to control the Bolivian water supply as leverage against competing drug cartels to obtain a nuclear warhead, which will be used to hold the world hostage from the comfort from the pastor’s secret lair inside a volcano, surrounded by liquid hot magma and sharks with laser beams attached to their heads. I know, it’s happened before, but it’s not likely to happen again.

Non-Christians like to use this to as a reason to write off church too. Any argument that makes a Christian sound like a non-Christian is probably a good one.

I don’t know what other churches do to encourage tithing, I figure most of them make an annual ‘Stewardship Sunday.’ If that’s your idea of the church ‘guilting’ you into tithing, it’s probably your conscience bothering you, not the church; or you’re just a big baby. Your pastor is probably not Tony Alamo.

Fact: If you don’t contribute any money, you have no say in how the church spends the money.

Should the Pastor really get paid for what he does?
Let’s think about this. When was the last time you decided to forego a full time career that came packaged with a great paycheck, benefits, a corner office, respect, and satisfaction…in order to spend your precious weekends trying to protect people from their own bad habits and keep them from going to hell. Because that’s probably what your pastor did. You don’t expect anyone else to work for free, do you? God forbid our ball players should go hungry.

I don’t get a living wage from my church; far from it. But I get a small check to supplement my full time paycheck, (which means I’ve given up my weekends on top of my job.) After I and the worship leader are paid, we have no overhead because we’re a house church, and over half our income is left to save. I can’t wait to tell you what we’re doing with our money, because it’s big…huge.

I don’t make enough money to tithe
I’m sorry. I didn’t know you were an African tribal living in a grass hut, dressed in nothing but war paint, with no concept of money outside the primitive bartering you do with the beads you recieve in trade whenever American celebrities come to your village to adopt your children.

If that doesn’t apply to you, then that argument is so ludicrous, it doesn’t deserve a response. I may listen to that argument if you’ve just taken in a house full of dehydrated Bolivian orphans.

I don’t care if you give 5% or 90%. Just give cheerfully and help your church stay accountable, or come up with better reasons not to. I’m sure there’s plenty I haven’t heard.

If you’re a non-tither, do you have any more arguments for me? What others have you heard? How does your church handle the money issue? How do you feel about ‘Stewardship Sundays’ or your pastor’s paycheck, or anything else having to do with money in the church?