Because God says so. Allegedly.


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I have a problem with money.  Always my spending-plans are bigger than my pockets will allow.

Not the big stuff – that gets a forensic analysis and review after review before even a penny is paid.

I am talking about the day-to-day – the little bit here and little bit there – the “we can afford to” …. “I deserve this” … “we can cover this” … drip-drip-drip spending (not planned at all).

AND I have a problem being told how I should spend, budget, save, rein-back, splash-out, be frugal, be generous.  I think I have a reaction to being told how I should live and why.  Because usually the “why” is someone else’s definition of me fitting-in with them  being a good person and not “wasting” (my) money but using (my) money “wisely”.

But what is “wise” and what is “waste”?

Which is why the article “9 Practical Ways To Increase Giving In Your Church” caught my eye.  And why the strap-line made an impression: “Dan Reiland: The Pastor’s Coach – Developing Church Leaders”.  But mainly because the whole thing stuck in my throat:

“For every leader, it requires artful and prayerful leadership to inspire a congregation to give.”  And this: “Tithing is part of a believer’s spiritual journey.”   And this: “Again, never communicate guilt, but remember the idea of giving started with God, not you.”

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I got an itch deep down in my soul.

An itch of being told how to live my life IF I am good Christian …. IF I am to fulfil The Great Commission … IF I am to be an example of God on this earth.  And as for that being scripturally correct … the bible will ALWAYS say whatever I want it to say.

So in reality I decide what “being a good Christian” is – and I decide what “fulfilling the Great Commission” involves – and all my choices are supported by my choice of what my bible (i.e. God) says.

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My financial health goes in cycles.  Sometimes I don’t have enough, sometimes I have just enough, sometimes I have a surplus and sometimes I have more than a surplus …

And then it cycles again.

What doesn’t “cycle” is me being a human being who can choose to love self, others and that great connector of all.  I used to call that great connector “God”.  It’s what I was taught,.  But now I think it is simply love without condition.

And I prefer that.

That makes loving about me and my choices – me and my decisions – me and my loving without condition – in this moment and the next – always.

Without having to be “a good” anything (that someone else judges “good”).  Because – it seems to me – that “judging” is what all of this is about: whether I am a good (enough) Christian.  Because (really) good Christians tithe.  Because God says so.

Allegedly.

Just like God says love everybody (but we like to redefine that).  Like God says love everybody (but we like to add the sin-scale).  Like God says love everybody (but we measure that by “stuff”).  Like God says (but we don’t like to) …

Love Is Without Condition  

Because where there are conditions there is not love.  So sometimes love means money, and sometimes not … sometimes love means “stuff support”, and sometimes not.

But making tithing another “God says” rule …

For me that IMMEDIATELY makes my “love” conditional.  And – for me – that is not love.  And nor is that the loving God (in this increasingly simple bible) I have come to love.  A simplicity that is this:

Love is always the answer, now what’s your question?.

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4 thoughts on “Because God says so. Allegedly.

  1. I used to teach financial planning (the day-to-day type, not the long-term type) with a Christian bent. Back in the day the church was responsible for providing for the poor and widows needs, not just the lining of the Pharisees pockets. It’s different today, sure there are agencies like Catholic Charities, Salvation Army, etc., but they aren’t the same, and rarely deal with the people in the church itself. I always counseled my people that giving that 10% counts if you give to things that God would have the church do, if it could, like the Red Cross (or Crescent), Brother’s Brother, Habitat for Humanity, etc. God put us here not to see if we could out multiply the cockroach, but to care and look out for each other. Tithing was a method to ensure that there was enough money to do it (paying for a seat in the synagogue came later).

    Liked by 1 person

    • “God put us here not to see if we could out multiply the cockroach, but to care and look out for each other.”

      What a lovely way to sum things up! 🙂

      A while back we had a friend in Turkey who needed help. And we managed to provide enough money from many who knew him – all by using the internet across thousands of miles. Never done that before – and was amazed how generous people are when a) they know the person personally and b) when they know the money is for something specific. That “looking out for each other” again.

      Locally I don’t see that done. And perhaps there is the cultural hurdle to climb – the “cultural” innate suspicion of the requested giver AND the innate “cultural” pride of the intended recipient AND the expectation that “someone else should/will” do the helping (in our first world country/economy – because that’s why we pay our taxes).

      What your comment implies is that tithing is targeted according to need – and in different places. Which I have never thought of before – always tithing has been “give 10% to church – God says”. And it is that “you should give it to us – God says” I object to.

      But selective and targeted “tithing” across different needs and people … now that makes me reassess what i was told was the way to do things! Thank you! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. You are very welcome, my friend.

    In the US there is a site called Go Fund Me. It started out altruistically enough with the idea of helping people in need. Much like you said, people are more willing to help if they can relate to the person. Unfortunately, it has morphed from helping people who have lost homes or need medical care to things like pay for my vacation, fund my meal at McDonalds. Even the good reasons have morphed from helping people who are in true need to helping before they know there is a need. Example, a person’s car was totaled so someone started a GFM page to replace the car, news story said they raised over $30k, but the person’s car was replaced by the insurance company.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I used Go Fund Me once. It was surprised me how much time it took – in updates, in thank yous, in more updates – in keeping “momentum” and enthusiasm going – and that was for one chap and his family living in Turkey but loved by many all over Europe. I think we forget how much goodness there is in each of us if we believe we are actually helping.

      So the thought of using all the goodness for just “making money” is obscene.

      Like

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