The Church & Charity...Truth Is...(prelude)
The Truth about Charity & the Church
This is a prelude to an upcoming three-part series on the modern day church as compared to that of The lord's day(s). This is a little different from what our readers are accustomed to; but well worth the read...Truth Is...
Charity...giving...giving out of love...giving out of TRUE compassion and "fellow-feeling", that is, you understand,care, and TRULY want to help. That is what REAL Christian giving is all about accompanied by these two facts: a) it is pleasing to God to do so; and b) It is something we are told to do by the Lord. So what has happened between the times of the original first congregation(s) and those of today?
Through much investigation and first-hand witness, I have found that today's "Christian" is not as given to giving as they should be. There are several factors that could and are used to explain away the reason this is; but none seem to justify neglecting the commission set and mandated by our Lord and Savior. I have traveled coast-to-coast and observed the tendencies of numerous churches of varying faiths, and their policies and proclivities concerning charity. By and large, and overall, I found the greater majority of churches to be quite UN-giving actually. Most often they speak of being "Burned" by con-artists seeking money for unseemly reasons. But one is left to wonder: "burned"? How are you 'burned' when you gave whole-heartedly to please God and to be "Christ-Like"(the true meaning of the word "Christian")? Once you gave, your role ends save for your continually being there for the uplifting, enriching, and nurturing of Christ's prospective sheep.
Allow me to clarify something right now. That money, food, or whatever you have to give is there for that reason is it not? When you are collecting that money do you more often than not refer to it as "God's money"? Then where do you see yourself as being "burned"? Oh and believe me, God doesn't need you to police what is his! We get so caught-up in our own righteousness that we risk over estimating it and the authority vested therein. It is our job as Christians to help those in need of assistance; it is GOD'S job to determine and weigh heart intentions and motives. We need to get out of God's way a lot of times and this truly is one of them! Yes it IS our J-O-B to help others!
It truly disturbs me that today's church(s) are so caught-up with money. When you have a preacher who takes in $69 million something is terribly wrong. When a so-called "bishop's" home is larger than the church and homelessness prevails all around the city where it is situated; something is terribly wrong. The money collected at church is God's when collected; but yours when it comes to distribution! Something is terribly wrong with that too...Truth Is...
I get SO tired of sitting in a service and when it comes time to pass the collection "vessel" the age-old:"Will you rob God..." scripture is read. Well, so far far I have not heard of or seen God shopping at Walmart or Family Dollar, so that just doesn't register with me. I say this because when the Nation of Israel was formed initially, God handed down not only commandments, but He also initiated a Covenant with the people. This was a set of mores and morals as well as rules, regulations, and daily life instruction. Within that covenant was the provision of tithing. Tithing was for the purpose of caring for the Levites or priests of the nation as well as their families. There were literally thousands of them and their sole duty was to tend matters of the temple of God and nothing else; which preclude their ability to work or otherwise provide for themselves. Understandable when you look at the fact that they catered to a nation of well over 3 million people. ..exclusively. This covenant also included other tasks such as the sacrificing of sheep, goats, bulls, doves, and other materials in approach to God.
When Jesus came and gave himself a living sacrifice, did he not also say these words:" I am a NEW COVENANT"....? Did he not do away with the need for sacrificing ANY animal in order to approach God? Didi he not open the way for ALL to approach God FREELY and thru him, no longer encumbered by the necessity of the pharisees or any other priest? Did this not relegate those choosing(and yes "calling" aside it is a choice if only to accept said calling) to be in a pastoral capacity to being instructors, teachers, nurturers and basically examples to the flock and ultimately, servants?
So WHY IS IT that the ONLY part of the old covenent that the church so stubbornly keeps a vise-like grip on is the part about tithing? "New CovenAnt" means:NEW COVENANT! That's why Jesus gave the example of the widow and the widow's mite. She gave what she could. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with giving to your church. It is actually a GOOD thing. But it is also NOT something bthat should be done under compulsion or force or threat of condemnation or telling you you won't be blessed if you don't give a certain amount. This of course is a very highly touchy topic, which is why this is only the prelude. Many churches tell people to tithe that 10th part(which actually turns out to be closer to 25% when you consider that they insist that it be taken from the GROSS of your income, not the net) and to "Stand on faith when they run into financial strains. My response to that is to ask: isn't the church leadership supposed to lead by example? Then let me keep my tenth and give you what I can afford and YOU stand on faith as to what you say the money is needed for!
If a church is OF God it will be successful as well as effective even without our 10th part(s); believe me...Truth Is...
Yeah folks this is going to be a really good one! Stay tuned!