Robbing God, His House & His Pastors

I was waiting for the final thing to put this post together that I've been considering the past week and I got it this morning from the sermon!  God is always right on time!!  I'm going to blog about our financial role in supporting the house of God.  I'm here to state why every true Christian pays tithes and gives offerings to their church.

The house of God, or the Church, does not run by itself.  Did you know that!?  I mean someone has to pay for the building, the land, the upkeep of both, the electricity, water, heat and even the pastor!  So, for those of you who don't believe in paying tithe - do tell me how all that gets done?  God is a God of order and He has set up a way that the Church and the Pastor will be taken care of and it is our duty to take care of them as Christians.

Abraham paid a tenth of his increase, which is tithe, before the law was even given - so that is for all those that say "we are not under the law" in their excuse to keep their money.  Abraham didn't need a law, he honored God with a tenth of increase!  All throughout the Bible we see the giving heart of God's people and even about giving God the first-fruits.  God calls those that don't pay tithe and give in offerings as robbers of Him - yes, you rob God!  Let's bring out some scripture to show this continuing work that has always been and is still is required:

Hebrews 7:1-2 For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all.
Hebrews 7:8 And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.

Abraham paid a tenth tithe to Jesus, who is our High Priest and who appeared to Abraham as Melchisedec, which you can read about in the entire chapter of Hebrews 7.  Abraham was before the law was given, that shows how ancient this tithing custom is - it was started by God and it has never ended as Paul was stating in verse 8 that it still continues.  Even Cain and Abel brought offerings to God that were required, and Cain used the same teaching that is spreading today that "you don't have to give what is required, just bring what you want" and we all know what God said about Cain's offering!  Don't be a modern-day Cain and think you can do whatever you want - God still requires a tenth of your increase.

Pro 3:9-10  Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:  So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.

You are honoring God when you give him the FIRST of your increase!  I like what Henry says:

God, who is the first and best, must have the first and best of every thing; his right is prior to all other, and therefore he must be served first. ...We mistake if we think that giving will undo us and make us poor. No, giving for God's honour will make us rich, Hag_2:19. What we gave we have.

Notice what God says:

Mal 3:8-11  Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.  Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.  Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.  And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.

God counts not giving your tithes and offerings as robbery!  You bring the cursing upon yourself - thinking you will have more if you don't give God the first, the tenth.  The opposite is true - when you give God what belongs to Him, He WILL open the windows of Heaven and bless you!!  Not just that but He will make sure that the devourer will not be able to ruin you financially.  WOW!!  Too bad that was just for Old Testament people and not for us right?  WRONG!  It is STILL the same today!!  It is God's money from the get-go and it never was yours - so when you keep it all to yourself, you are robbing God of His required portion of His money - you are a thief and no thieves will be in Heaven!  There will be robbers of God filling up hell - those that didn't honor God and kept their money to themselves and didn't take care of God's House and His pastors.

Notice how God even told us WHERE to bring His money - to the house of God, the storehouse that there would be supplies in His house.  Henry says it so well:

Robbing God is such a heinous crime that those who are guilty of it are not willing to own themselves guilty.

God set up a way for the church and Pastors to be taken care of - by tithes and offerings.  When you do not give your portion, you are robbing God because you are preventing the support of the church and the Pastor.  You rob God out of the money, HIS MONEY, that was reserved to take care of GOD's Church and God's man!  And you call yourself a Christian!?  Let's look at biblical examples of people like you:

Haggai 1:4-11 Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste?  Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.  Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.  Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.  Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD.  Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.  Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit.  And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands.

Here we have people that took care of their houses but let the house of God lie in waste!  They didn't put God first.  A great example of what can happen to God's house when there is no tithe or offerings (or in this case, willingness to help in building God's House).  Notice the curse that came upon them!  Notice the evil heart of people that are against giving God a tenth and offerings and do not take care of the church or the Pastor!  Selfishness, greed, covetousness and forgetting whose money it is in the first place because you wouldn't even have an issue of giving God a tenth - it is honoring God!

These notes from the Geneva bible say it so well:

Showing that they sought not only their necessities, but their very pleasures before God's honour.

You dishonor God when you withhold HIS money from Him, that shows where your heart and treasure truly is - you have made money an idol.

Let's travel on over to the New Testament and what God's Word says about who provides the living (money) for a Pastor:

1 Cor. 9:11  If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?
1Co 9:14  Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.

Paul explains how wrong it is to not take care of the Pastor.  The Pastor should reap carnal goods, or money, for what he gives us spiritually.  The Lord ordained that Pastors should LIVE or earn their income how?  Of the gospel!  Barnes expounds on this law that the Lord ordained:

...the minister is entitled to a support; and then also a people are not at liberty to withhold it. Further, there are as strong reasons why they should support him, as there are why they should pay a schoolmaster, a lawyer, a physician, or a day-laborer. The minister usually toils as hard as others; expends as much in preparing for his work; and does as much good. And there is even a higher claim in this case. God has given an express command in this case; he has not in the others.  ...Are not ministers often in distress for that which has been promised them, and which they have a right to expect? And is not their usefulness, and the happiness of the people, and the honor of religion intimately connected with obeying the rule of the Lord Jesus in this respect?

Paul did not take the pay he had a right to from one church but he later apologized to those he didn't allow to support him.  He also said that he robbed other churches because he didn't take pay from this church but from others.

2 Cor. 11:8  I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service.
2Co 12:13  For what is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches, except it be that I myself was not burdensome to you? forgive me this wrong.

Paul acknowledged his wrong in not having this particular church to support him or provide his income.  He made them inferior to the other churches by not allowing them to receive the blessings that came along with taking care of the man of God!  Clarke expounds on Paul's realization of his mistake:

It was your duty and your interest to have supported your apostle; other Churches have done so: I did not require this from you; in this respect all other Churches are superior to you. I am the cause of your inferiority, by not giving you an opportunity of ministering to my necessities: forgive me the wrong I have done you. It is the privilege of the Churches of Christ to support the ministry of his Gospel among them. Those who do not contribute their part to the support of the Gospel ministry either care nothing for it, or derive no good from it.

One last thing that non-tithe payers and non-supporters of the church and pastors like to use is a verse about the Pharisee that paid tithe:

Mat 23:23  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

Notice that Jesus said they should not leave the other undone - Jesus, the Son of God, saying you should pay tithes!  It is doing one thing and not doing the other is what Jesus was pointing out.  Pharisees like to pick and choose what they will do - much like people today pick and choose to not pay tithe but follow other teachings religiously.  Pharisees also prayed, so was prayer wrong too?  No, it was the manner in which they prayed and their motive that was called out just as Jesus was pointing out their doing one thing and not the other, the most important things.  Pharisees exalted themselves yet they left out the weightier matters showing they don't prefer the FULL gospel as Henry points out so well:

They were very strict and precise in the smaller matters of the law, but as careless and loose in the weightier matters, Mat_23:23, Mat_23:24. They were partial in the law (Mal_2:9), would pick and choose their duty, according as they were interested or stood affected. Sincere obedience is universal, and he that from a right principle obeys any of God's precepts, will have respect to them all, Psa_119:6. But hypocrites, who act in religion for themselves, and not for God, will do no more in religion than they can serve a turn by for themselves. The partiality of the scribes and Pharisees appears here, in two instances.  ...They that are taught in the word, and do not communicate to them that teach them that love a cheap gospel, come short of the Pharisee.

What I've shared with you is God's Word on tithing and offerings and how they are used towards the support of the church and the income of the Pastor.  It is our duty, but we should do it cheerfully as we know that God let us keep 90% and we have the privilege to take care of God's House and His Pastor!

Part 8 - Q&A - Living On One Income

I have to apologize because one of the questions submitted was missing the last part, which contained more questions.  I missed this somehow and only found it when I went to delete the file from my documents.  So, I'm reposting the entire question here and my answer - sorry to whoever this was!

Q. Hello,

I have been following your blog for some time and had a few questions on one income.

My husband and I are both currently working full time high stress career fields, which has definitely taken a toll on our marriage. We have talked about me eventually quitting my job and either pursuing homemaking full time or an accounting/or bookkeeping job that is under 10 hours a week that I can work from home. I want out of corporate accounting.

The catch is like most Americans we are currently in debt. My husband currently has around six thousand in student loans. Thankfully, my husband paid for my college, so I don’t have any loans. We have three cars, two of which still have car payments, and I have $2,400 left on my credit card.

Our plan that we came up with a month ago was for me to continue working for the time being and to contribute a majority of my pay check to pay down the remaining of our debt before me quitting my job. This would allow us to see what it would be like on one income and to eliminate debt before our income gets cut in half. Last month I was able to pay off $3500 on my credit card and I made a double payment on my husband’s student loans and one of our car payments. I was able to do this by not eating out and by not spending money on frivolous work clothes, ect.

My first question is when you decided to be a homemaker, was money at all taken in consideration? Did you go into being a home keeper with ideal circumstance of not having debt and high savings or did you just do it and gradually pay off debt and build up savings?

The other issue that has arisen from talk of me staying home is all the negativity from friends and family on the issue. We are twenty-nine and thirty, and have been married for ten years. We are unable to have children, so everyone has expected me to work full time, since I’m still somewhat young. I don’t necessarily need validation, but it has been hard to receive so much criticism on the subject. Had we been able to have children, this would have not been an issue, since it is generally culturally acceptable to be a stay at home mom. I was wondering if you ever received such criticism from staying home before you had children and how did you deal with it?

I might also add that huge contributing factor of me wanting to be a home keeper is I am an insulin dependent diabetic since I was a small child as well as having an underactive thyroid which I take medication for, too. It is extremely hard to take care of myself when I work such long hours. Also, my coworkers are not excited by the fact that I give myself insulin shots at work when I eat lunch or snacks and several have complained. :(

A.  First of all - get out of debt and save an emergency fund and then destroy the credit cards.  You can do that on one income even, as many do.  Is the stress worth the money?  Can you even enjoy the money if you are working and stressed at that?  You didn't mention children, so I wonder why 3 cars - I would sell one at least.

I think your plan sounds good but it really isn't something you try out - to me, it is honoring God's Word for women.  You do have to learn to live on what he provides and look at it that he is being what a man should be and you be that woman and you will be amazed at the added peace to the home.

I honestly didn't even think of the money when I stopped working.  I let my husband think about that.  I felt like the burden of my life had been lifted off me and it was one the best feelings I've ever had to know that my husband was going to take care of me and I didn't need to anymore.  I felt like and still do feel like, I had/have a real-life Prince!  We had no debt as we were just in our lower 20's at that time but we did have to stop eating out all the time and budget our money.  There were some scary times that first year when we didn't know how to pay the rent - but God always provided and made the difference.

The second question about what others think is something you will have to deal with but you have to not care what they think.  I know that is easier said than done and I still get criticism even though I am a mom staying home, I've heard it all: "Quit making your husband do so much and get out and get a job."  The ironic thing is that these comments come from people where the wife works but they are STILL in debt up to their eyeballs and I don't work and we have no debt.  I think it isn't about the wife working, it is about our hearts and greed and covetousness.  Most men should feel like they are a man to take care of their wives and families, we shouldn't take that away from them.  Men that want their wives to work are lazy and/or covetous or maybe they just didn't know what God's Word said and just followed the culture.

You should be at home enjoying your life as a loving wife and taking care of your home, yourself and your husband!  I think you will find the greatest peace if you make the step.  Life isn't a bed of roses for anyone but it can be blessed by God if you trust Him, obey His Word and the roles He made us for and lean on Him!