“Some of the heads of the families contributed to the work. The governor gave to the treasury 1000 darics of Gold, 50 bowls and 530 garments for priests. Some of the heads of the families gave to the treasury for the work 20,000 darics of gold and 2,200 minas of silver. The total given by the rest of the people was 20,0000 darics of gold, 2,000 minas of silver and 67 garments for priests.” – Neh 7:70-72
Every time in scripture there is a need, there are godly men and women who are willing to stand up and meet that need. I wonder if the same is true for our culture today. In the last few decades the Church has seen tithing decrease and volunteering time has become anemic at best. What has happened to giving in the Church?
In the great depression people’s tithe was approximately 3.3% and yet today, in one of the wealthiest times in the US, tithing is down to an average of 2.5%. Just let those numbers settle in for a minute. So, is the problem with tithe a Church issue or is it a heart issue?
As a one-time tithe struggler, it is definitely a heart and faith issue. It is even a bigger issue for those who are in debt. Doesn’t God want me to pay my bills? Well yes, but that is after your first fruits. You see that is what tithe is, it is first fruits; it is supposed to come off the top, be the first thing you pay. It is supposed to be a thanksgiving offering to God for the harvest that we have reaped. If I you think of it in the positive, God asks for 10% in thanks giving and lets us keep 90% for ourselves, that is less than the government requires, that’s for sure.
The Israelites, coming out of captivity, managed to muster up a small fortune to ensure their worship to God continued unhindered. They were rebuilding Jerusalem and eventually the temple, which was very important. They saw the need for the Church; however, in the US today we don’t feel that same need. Perhaps, it is because this is one of the wealthiest times in US history. We don’t often turn to God in the good times, just in the tough times.
So today, I pray for myself and for all Christians that are hearts break and that we see the need for the Church and for the tithe, whether that be of money, time, energy or love a tithe is needed from everyone in the family for the Church to survive. And let it come from the heart, don’t let it be forced for “God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor 9:6-7)