Tithe


What a great District Council we had this year! Chris and I were both tremendously blessed! We were able to stay 3 nights! That with the new schedule of Monday –Wednesday instead of Tuesday – Thursday, allowed us to stay for the ordination service and the Thursday Leadership Seminar. I love the new schedule and I hope it is permanent. (Hint, hint to anyone in the district office.)

We went on Monday because I was on Teller Committee II and there was a meeting that afternoon. I was so excited and I enjoyed it, too. There were a few things I would have changed with that, though. We were in a prayer room and the lighting wasn’t too good. Also, we were in the same prayer room as the intercessors, which was unfortunate because while I was in there, I couldn’t hear what was going on in the meeting. The speakers had been turned off for the intercessors. So as far as resolutions 1-7, I have no clue how they went or what was discussed.

We didn’t go to the Monday evening banquet. Mostly because our kids came with us, and the banquet we attended a couple of years ago was a loud, cramped affair. I don’t think it was this year, but we didn’t realize it wouldn’t be. I’m glad we didn’t go because we had fun as a family and took it easy before the meetings on Tuesday. We did a little shopping (and VERY little buying) at a posh shopping center.

We were really built up during D.C. I got up and spoke in opposition of resolution 11?. It basically said that instead of ministers having to give 85% of their tithe from both ministerial and secular income to the district, we should change it to 85% of ministerial income only. The ministers would then be free to tithe the other to their church. I do see where this view is coming from. A lot of the pastors of small churches pay the church bills out of their own pocket and receive little to no pay from the church. It is a hard place to be. Chris and I have never been in that bad of a situation, but we do have a VERY limited income. It is hard to make ends meet and to be constantly worried about where the money will come from to pay this or that or just to make life a little enjoyable for our kids. I in no way mean to disrespect these hard working pastors.

There had been a very similar resolution two years ago and Pastor Dave Williams from Mount Hope Church had suggested we tithe 10% each to both our church and the district. We had a conversation going on a forum before DC about the resolution and that was his suggestion to all of us, I believe. Anyway, Chris and I took it to heart and decided to do it. Our church had been receiving our tithe back from the district for the church. That is a thing they will do under special circumstances and for a short period of time. We had run out of time and the church was feeling the crunch. As a church, we have been blessed in so many ways since then. Of course we were before then as well, but we haven’t been so close to financial ruin since then. We just recently bought a new lawn mower with money God provided. As for Chris and I, we have our ups and downs. We are not great steward of our finances. We find that finances are a weak area and we are constantly trying to keep on top of them and be good stewards and grow in this way. It is difficult with little income, though. At the beginning of this year, another church in our section has come along beside us and is supplementing Chris and I’s income with over 50% more than we were receiving! Praise the Lord! I truly believe that if we had not been faithful in tithing extra (giving a sacrificial offering) we wouldn’t be receiving this blessing now.

So, that is basically what I stood up and said. I thought maybe my personal story of provision would show that giving extra tithe to the district brought blessing to us, while when we gave the minimum, we struggled. I don’t believe we should change it.
We ended up sending the issue for more research on how it would affect the district financially. Having more exact numbers would be a good thing, but I will still vote against it the next time it comes up.

Well, there were some who came and thanked me for saying what I did. I give the glory to God though, because I didn’t want to go up there. It makes a person very nervous to stand up in front of all your colleagues and say what’s on your mind. You are putting yourself out there hoping no feels bad by what you say if you are disagreeing with them and hoping you say what God wants you to say without stumbling all over your words. The thanks built me up though. They made me see that I do have value to God and others. I hope to remember these words of thanks on the days when I feel useless. That is mostly why I am writing them down. What really shocked me were the thanks from the District Superintendent and others in the district office. A very prominent pastor of a large church told Chris and I that we amazed him! I didn’t know what to say to that, as we are amazed by the Godly ministry that has grown from his intimate relationship with God. That we should amaze him just floored us. I could only say, “whatever!” I know, great response, eh?

We also had lunch with the pastors from Bad Axe and had a great time with them. Later, the pastor’s wife and I had our complimentary spa treatments together, as well. We are hoping to get together once a month for lunch. I would love to have a friend nearby. They have been through a lot lately. Their son died about a year ago in Iraq. I can’t imagine how that feels. I also had a great conversation with Mary Beth. I told her about our Ella difficulties and she prayed with me about them and for our ministry. It was a great little chat! All of that was going on while I should have been at the Leadership Seminar. I missed about half of it, but I was where I needed to be.

We also go to have dinner and ice cream with another couple. She is in a pastor’s wives yahoo group I’m in. He was making us laugh too hard during the first business session. We had a great time! I hope we get to do it again sometime. They live on the other side of the state from us, unfortunately. I just love DC for the opportunity to see other minister that we only see one time a year, generally.

The ordination service was wonderful and I really appreciated the sermon. Pastor Dave Williams spoke on how to plug into God’s power. It was a very useful sermon and it led into his leadership seminar very well, too.

So, all in all, it was a great council. The kids did really well sitting through all of that, too. It is hardest for Ella and she did great. I thanked her. We went to see the State Capitol after the Seminar on Thursday. I’ve never seen it and I have lived here a long time. It was great to get to see it and share the experience with the kids. I’m thankful for all the intercessors that prayed for us while we met. More prayer is what we need. We can always use more prayer!

I honestly cannot personally give a strong theological dispute to people who say that pastors should not be paid a decent wage. I just have not studied it enough. So, this is my disclaimer: I am not in anyway saying that my husband and I should be paid more or less when I discuss this topic. I am not even referring to how much we get paid and whether it is enough or not. We are blessed by God continually and are always able to pay what is necessary. Please do not take this post as my being upset about our pay. I am not upset about our pay! The only reason I am even talking about this is because I have come across many people lately who do not feel that pastors should be paid a living wage. There are some who feel that, like Paul, every minister should be a tent maker. This post is my small attempt at giving you, my readers, what little information I have on the subject.

First of all, I believe that while Paul did not accept a regular payment for his services, he never told us that others shouldn’t. In fact he says the opposite. Russell Earl Kelley (REK) quoted Acts 20:19-35. I think the really key verses he is referring to here are verses 33-35:

“I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

I don’t believe Paul is saying what REK believes he is saying. Paul has provided for himself, but I cannot find where he ever condemned other Godly ministers for not providing completely for themselves. Here he is saying by hard work for God we will spread the gospel and be blessed. He doesn’t seem to say that if you receive payment you won’t be blessed. He says we must do what we can to help God’s cause with as little material things as possible. I am really not trying to make myself look good when I say that we don’t get paid a lot, but we make it with God’s provision and we are still able to tithe and give more than 10% to missions as well. So, through what others have given to the church, which has then been paid to us as salary, we have blessed others. We have also blessed others by living as frugally as we can and not demanding a high wage.

A second passage that I would like to highlight is Luke 10:1-16. (more…)

Thank you all for your prayers today. We needed them and appreciated them. The interview went really well. They had an issue with a post I wrote about tithe a while back, with good reason. I really had no idea I had left out so many details when I wrote it. I can’t say enough how embarrassed I am now that I realize how it came out of my head. It really didn’t look like that inside my head.

They asked pretty much what everyone said they would, like why do you want to be ordained and what does ordination mean to you? But, most of the time was spent talking about my blog posts and the logistics of blog writing when you are a pastor.

I really appreciate the three men that interviewed us. I appreciate the loving tone that they used when talking about this post. I appreciate that they saw that I was terribly embarrassed when I realized how bad the post was. Most of all, I appreciate that they want the best for each pastor in the district; it was obvious from the conversation and the prayers. I now covet their prayers and friendship.

It really was a great experience. I felt like I could have stayed and talked to them all day. We had already gone half an hour over when we left, though. While I was talking to them, I only felt loved.

The interview really made me realize a lot things. (more…)

This post is clarifying my thoughts from my Is Tithing a New Testament Requirement? post.

Today it was pointed out to me that my post about tithing was not as clear as I thought it was. When I took a closer a look at it, I was appalled at everything that I had left out. The pieces were all there in my head, but I did a terrible job of converting them into words. In the process, I’m afraid I hurt feelings and conveyed the wrong message about tithing.

The following is part of a response to an e-mail I received some time ago concerning this post. The writer voiced some concerns, but even then I did not see everything that I left out. I can’t publish the e-mail because I don’t have permission, but I think that my side of the conversation will still help to clear up what I meant.

I totally appreciate what you have said and I agree with it, too. God has always provided our most necessary needs (regardless of our finances). And I appreciate everything the district leadership does. I’m sorry if I came over too strong about the banquet. It’s one of the VERY few things that bother me in this district. Overall, I absolutely love all our district leadership. I really appreciate your willingness to take time with me. The district superintendent is wonderful and if I ever have the chance to talk to him, I will try to remember to tell him my frustrations about the banquet. I have found him very easy to talk to, but since being frustrated about the banquet, I haven’t talked to him and I don’t feel like its such a big issue (even though it may have sounded that way) that I should take up his time by calling or talking to him about just that. As far as the pay, I think whatever the district leadership get paid is probably perfect or too little. I know its a big job. I passionately disagreed with my mom’s saying they made too little. (more…)

EDIT: (11/1/07) These were my initial thoughts on the subject of tithing in the New Testament and I have written a new post clarifying these thoughts. Please read it as well. It really does clarify my jumbled thoughts!

Last night, I had quite an interesting conversation with my mom about tithes and how much our district officials get paid. Then I read this post by Travis Seitler. He has done research on tithing. His post shook me. I’ve grown up with the focus always being, “give your ten percent.” I knew, of course, that more is better, but still the focus is on that tithe. In his post, Travis tells that what he has found is that the tithe was Old Testament law and therefore not applicable to us today. Now before anyone cries, “heresy,” he is NOT saying that you should not give. He says we should give more and sometimes less than 10%. His post is very well thought out and backed by scripture. I tend to believe that he is correct. He also wrote that the tithe was in food, not money. Therefore, we should be giving food if we are going to follow the Old Testament law; we should be creating food banks to help feed the poor.

The last important point I found that he made, was that tithe, since it was always given as food, was not created to support the priests’ pockets (ministers in our day) or church buildings and bills. If this is so, I wondered how would these be supported? Well, basically he believes that we should cut down on these expenses and focus on the poor. The remaining should be paid for by offerings. That makes some sense to me. That post has shaken me in changing the beliefs that I have held for so long, but after talking it out with my hubby, it makes sense to me never to preach on tithing the same again. It makes sense to me to never use that word again. The New Testament requires much more of us than the Old Testament. Jesus tells the rich man to sell everything and follow me.

When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Luke 18:22 NIV (more…)