Jesus Doesn’t Want Your Tithe

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by Jeff Foerster

Jesus doesn’t want your tithe … He wants your heart. “Great!” you say, “I think money is unspiritual anyhow, so obviously God, who is spirit, has no use for it. And I am relieved that I get to keep more of my hard-earned pay.”

God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and the Cadillacs in a thousand driveways. Everything in existence is His, not by right of possession only (it does exist inside His universe), but also by right of creation. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being (John 1:3). If Jesus wants something, he certainly could create it—like the fish and bread given to thousands. Obviously God has no need for my stash o’ cash.

Well, not so fast. God wants your heart, but that means more than sending “positive thoughts” His way; it means action. The tithe is not what God is seeking, but it is a vehicle that ushers in a submissive heart before Him.

We engage with money when filling our tank with gasoline, buying a hot latte, paying electric bills, buying foodstuffs, determining tips for waitstaff, supporting government through taxes, working for ourselves or for others, budgeting and stewarding resources, investing for future gains, and so much more. You see, money is an inextricable part of our human experience. We use it, with the danger of it using us. A contemporary philosopher has been quoted as saying, “I got my mind on my money, and my money on my mind.” Our thoughts linger on dreams of multimillion-dollar windfalls from lucky numbers on the next lotto go-round. What comes from this? Thoughts of new cars, vacation homes, luxury travel, a greater dependence upon God? Okay, the last one seems out of place, doesn’t it?

Because of money’s prominent role in our lives, it has power. Seductive power. “Follow me and I will give you whatever you desire! A little more, a little better, a little newer—you deserve nice things! Life will be more satisfying when you’re able to savor all the good gifts I can bring you. Did you think of me today, how we could spend just a little bit more time … together?” The siren song of money has led many to their destruction. Yet, money is simply a tool, wielded by the hand but directed by the heart.

God in His infinite wisdom and magnificent grace has set before us a pathway with sure footing. He knows us; He knows our weaknesses. He knows that money makes either an obedient servant or a tyrannical master. His generous commandment to you to give 10 percent of your income back to Him, off the top, before any expenses, declares your allegiance. It places money in subservience and clears the way for deepening relationship with the Almighty.

Do you honor Him from whom ALL blessings flow? Do you trust Him … with ALL things?


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By Dan Amos

Last year we embarked on a strategic adventure. As a body, we brought on a
third full-time staff member. We stepped out in faith that the budget would
be met and through your faithful giving and the Lord’s blessing we are
seeing a small abundance that has many praising God on a regular basis. In
nineteen years, I can’t recall a time such as this. We are working on a
strategic response.

Budget line items for grounds and facilities have been routinely underfunded,
and now we have a bit of money in the bank beyond our operating reserve.
Even though some really good deals have presented themselves recently, we
chose not to go after them because they weren’t strategic. This implies a
firmer set of strategic goals than what we had at the time, but we are
working on it.

We’ve begun collecting requirements from leaders and are putting together a
plan. We’re forming a strategic goals team for this reason. We are also
recruiting a grounds team and a facilities team.

The grounds team will look at what needs to be done for lawns and plants,
sprinklers and tools. The facilities team will look at the maintenance
needs of our buildings and property. With lists of what needs to be done we
can prioritize, budget and schedule. These teams will coordinate with the
strategic goals team to make sure we maximize our efforts.

The people we need for the grounds and facilities team need to love Elim and
want to see it thrive for God’s glory. Team members won’t be expected to be
doing the work any more than now, but we need people with an eye for what
needs to be done as well as some people with expertise in various areas.
Elim’s people are great at responding to the call when work needs to be done.
Now we need to identify the work to be done.

If you were here on Sunday and heard the message on our Shepherd and His sheep,
you can see that we need some lead sheep to make the first move. If that’s you,
please contact me and we’ll get to work. Thank you!

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Why tithe by electronic billpay?

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By Larry Short

Ever since we started attending Elim 15 years ago, Darlene and I have given our tithe by electronic billpay. I realize this may be a little unusual, but it is getting less so in our current day and age. So Dan asked me if I would write a quick Last Word explaining why we do this, and how you can too.

First of all, what is electronic billpay? If you have an account at a bank (and most of us do), electronic billpay simply is a service where you can schedule your “bills” (any recurring payments) to be paid automatically, either by direct transfer from your bank account to someone else’s, or else by having your bank automatically create and send a check on your behalf. For a number of years we have used a service called CheckFree to do this with all our bills. They charge us less than $10 a month for this service and we find that we can barely live without the convenience.

But you don’t have to use CheckFree, and nowadays you may be able to do bill-pay for free through your bank. But first let’s ask, why should you?

There are three key reasons why we use electronic billpay: It is strategic, it is consistent, and it is convenient.

Strategic: At least once each year, Darlene and I sit down and review our current financial situation. How has the Lord blessed us during the past year? What do we, in faith, want to do in order to show our gratitude and to be obedient to His command? We pray, decide on an amount, and then log onto our secure billpay site and make a simple change instruction. CheckFree then sends a check to Elim, every single week rain or shine, in the amount that we have specified. They also provide all the accounting to help us track our giving. And then, on the occasion that we want to give a special gift above and beyond, we simply write a paper check.

Consistent: I don’t know about you, but I lead a busy and complicated life and it’s too easy for me to forget even the important things. With automatic billpay, I don’t worry that if I go on vacation or camping in the summer and miss a weekend worship service, the church will be left holding the bag without my tithe. (To do so, even once, I feel would be unfaithful.) The hard, cold truth is that church giving always dips — sometimes significantly — during the summer months. Why? If people aren’t there (and attendance is lower in the summer), they forget to tithe. Automatic billpay helps me to be more faithful, and blesses Elim as a result.

Convenient: I don’t have to worry about bringing my checkbook with me to church each week, just my Bible. One less thing to carry!

Are there any drawbacks to using automatic billpay for my tithe? I think I’ve only found one: I sometimes feel a little awkward letting the offering plate slide on by me, without putting anything in it! I wonder if people think, “Tsk, tsk. He’s an elder and he doesn’t even give!”

But then, I catch myself. We’re not supposed to be tithing for the sake of being seen doing it by others, right? So, who cares what they think? My giving is just between me and the Lord. Hence, in reality, I think this (somewhat humbling) experience is probably, in reality, good for me!

Please consider setting up automatic billpay for your tithe. I think that, like me, you’ll be glad you did! If you have any questions about how to get started, let’s chat. Thanks for reading!

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