Mike Frazier Pastor, Canton Baptist Temple
Recently on a Sunday I shared this thought, “The church doesn’t exist to collect money, but if the church doesn’t collect money it will cease to exist.” As the pastor of a church that seemingly has multiple projects going on all at the same time, sometimes I feel like I’m constantly raising money for something. Occasionally I say to myself, “If every member in this church would just tithe!” By the way, why don’t all Christians tithe?
Well, over the years I’ve found that there are at least four reasons why our members may not tithe:
1) Some Christians don’t tithe because they simply haven’t been taught to tithe.
Many pastors don’t talk about tithing, because they’re afraid it might upset some of their members. Consequently, some Christians have never even heard of the word “tithe,” much less practiced it. As Randy Alcorn points out in his book “Money, Possessions, and Eternity” Jesus talked more about money than any other subject. That tells me that we as pastors shouldn’t shy away from the subject. As a matter of fact, we do our members an injustice when we don’t biblically teach them the importance of giving.
2) Some Christians don’t tithe because they believe it’s an Old Testament concept.
There are some Christians who consider tithing to be legalistic, and they cringe when the pastor gets up and talks about it. They’ll point to the fact that we as New Testament believers are under grace and no longer under the law. And I would say “Amen” to that! But we must not forget that we can label an Old Testament practice outdated only if the New Testament gives us permission to do so. But nowhere in the New Testament do we read that tithing is now obsolete. The word “tithe” only appears twice in the New Testament – Matthew 23:23 and Hebrews 7. In neither passage is it denounced or rendered obsolete. As a matter of fact, the reason why it’s only mentioned twice is because 1st century Christians were giving far more than 10% to their local church.
3) Some Christians don’t tithe because they’ve convinced themselves that they can’t afford to tithe.
Most Christians are so in debt that they can’t imagine giving a tithe to their local church. Instead on a weekly basis they’re borrowing God’s tithe in order to make ends meet. I have learned over the years that people have money for what they want. The matter of tithing has never been a financial issue, but rather it’s always been a heart issue. As Jesus says in Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
4) Some Christians don’t tithe because they simply refuse to do so.
With this Christian, it’s not an issue of ignorance, but rather an issue of willful disobedience.
My guess is that as pastors we have all of these mindsets in our churches…and probably always will. After 29 years of pastoring I’ve come to the realization that it’s not my job to change people. That’s what God specializes in! My job is to faithfully teach the truth of God’s Word and to pray that the Holy Spirit will change hearts and lives. In my next blog I’ll talk about how we can get more of our church members to tithe.