Friday, November 6, 2015

Tithing Seedlings


Tithing Seedlings
By; John Vuckovich, Jr.
Edited by: B. Kmiec

2 Corinthians 2:17, For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”

So you’re here at this blog for the first time or possibly a returning seeker. Thank you for your visit. Maybe in your journey to be as close to the truth of Jesus as possible, you are having second thoughts concerning this topic of tithing. Such as:
·      “Is tithing worth all the fuss?”
·      “So what if friends in the institute believe in this, I know the truth and I don’t want to rock the boat.”
·      “To tithe or not to tithe, does it really matter?”

     Perhaps you are teetering on the fence on whether you should leave the Institutional 'Church', but are not sure how to answer the questions that will inevitablly come as to why.
It can be overwhelming attempting to renew our own minds with what the Bible says about tithing, let alone try to process all the scripture regarding it's true history, meaning and intent. One can find themselves not knowing where to begin when speaking with a loved one or fellow saint who's been conditioned to believe they are commanded to tithe. Obviously, they are unaware of the freedoms many saints have unearthed regarding the true intention of the tithe and that we are not commanded, or expected to pay 10% of our incomes to a business entity just because it calls itself a 'Church.' Add in our concern (emotions) for our loved one with a clumsy presentation on such a fragile topic and we can see how this can be a sure way to end a heart to heart conversation before it begins. 

There are one or two handicaps to consider when approaching close ones regarding the tithe (or for that matter, anyother Institute supporting doctrine the organization holds dear). First off, I wouldn't recommend pointing out contradictions in their pastor's doctrine since they've already bought into what he's been teaching on the subject anyway. We cannot make this a personal issue. That would be pitting one man's opinion against another. This approach will be perceived by the hearer as causing divisions. Red flags will fly and mistrust will emerge. As as result, a wall of resistance will be built and chances of him hearing you out will be dismissed early on.

Secondly, some might have been briefed ahead of time that if anyone tries to share doctrines contrary to what is considered 'the norm' they are to withdraw themselves from that person. I'm sure that's the last thing we want. No one wants to be alienated from a friend, let alone a family member. The safe play would be to let things lay as they are just so we can avoid a confrontation. Under normal circumstances, that would be wise. But, sometimes we see a need we simply cannot ignore. By virtue of the situation, we cannot afford to pay it safe. Please allow an illustration:

Have we ever seen a badly entangled wild animal? He's caught in some barbed wire and struggles to get loose. After some time, he may give up his fight, accept his predicament and get as comfortable as possible until something happens. He doesn't know what will happen; he's just waiting for something to happen. Perhaps a weak tree branch will snap from overhead. If he's lucky, it mighl fall and spring him free. On the other hand, a predator could wonder by and see him as a convenient lunch. In either case, the animal's senses are on full alert with fright. He sees no way of escape, is scared to death from all of these uncustomary emotions and trembles at his unknown fate. He tries to struggle and adapt, but it's no use. Dispite his efforts, he can end up injuring himself even worse. In his desperation to escape, the thought of chewing off his own limb crosses his mind. What a pitiful scene. 

Now let us place ourselves in this situation as a potential rescuer. We see the need, have compassion and try to help. The problem is, the poor little fella sees us as a threat. He doesn't realize that we're here to help. It seems the more we try and get him loose, the more he fights us. He snarls and nips, bites and howls until he injures us before we can keep him from further injuring himself. 

Most 'Church' members can react the same way if not approached carefully. Let's face facts: tithing is a fragile issue to speak on, let alone bring up to somebody close to us; Especially when they've been doing it most of their churched lives. But, since we've been in their shoes, we understand that the more they struggle to pay their tithe off the top of their paychecks, the more they struggle to keep up with their own bills. They find themselves having to roll the dice each week to see if they can meet their tithe and hope that they have a grace period so that their next paycheck can cover last week's bills. We've all been there, I'm sure.

Meeting their own bills really isn't the issue. The real problem lies in trying to meet the bills of an organization on top of our own. The pastor will tell us that "Supporting God's work comes first! Everything else is secondary!" Hmmm? So, providing for our families is secondary to meeting the needs of an organization? Is this what the Lord teaches? We must instinctively know that our duty is to observe God's prescription to provide for our families before we consider trying to support an institution outside of the home. Supporting a 'Church' organization isn't even on God's list; and shouldn't even be considered before our family's needs are met. Has anyone else ever struggled with this seemingly apparent contradiction?

The average church member may not realize this, but they're snared within the entanglements of tithing. Like our furry friend, some members get comfortable with tithing, though the struggles are many, while others are hoping for an escape, but don't see one because of misapplied threats of God's wrath if they don't. Either way, they've painted themselves into a corner by not knowing the Scriptures.

Those who have discovered that income tithing for the church is not a command from God possess the wire cutters that will loose our dear struggling friends. Here in lies another problem: They may not know fully how to use them. This piece is meant as a guide to help you to help them. By gently applying these wire cutters without the appearance of being a threat, along with God's Spirit leading us, we can help them overcome their fear of letting go of the shackles of tithing. Even if we are not the one's to apply the cutters, we can easily hand them the tool so that they may cut themselves loose. Either way, please understand that even if we have all the tithing information down pat, and can present all of the arguments flawlessly, we wouldn’t want to 'dump truck' a fellow believer with too much information from the start. So, how can we approach the snared without spooking them?

I want to share with you some simple seedling thoughts to reaffirm the importance to all of us as Jesus’ disciples, that indeed tithing is a major serious issue that must be considered and eventually discussed. At the same time, I want to share an approach that is simple yet effective in helping the hearer do some soul searching.
Whether you are here for yourself or to help a loved one in the Institutional ‘Church’, sometimes the best way to make headway is to plant seedlings. Here are a few seedling thoughts the Holy Spirit can use in a spirit-controlled discussion.
It could go something like this…
Let's lay aside for the sake of argument the concept, Is it wrong to have a building for Christ’s church to meet in? Can we set that aside for the moment? Great!
Okay, a few questions.

1.) What is the church? Is it the building? 
ANSWER: the church is the people.
REPLY: Yes I agree with you.

2.) Do you recall what Jesus' occupation was?
ANSWER: Yes, Jesus was a carpenter.
REPLY: You are right.

3.) As a carpenter, do you know of any scriptures where it is recorded He needed to raise money, pay for and build a building for His church to meet in?
ANSWER: I can’t think of any.
REPLY: I can see why; it is NEVER mentioned.

REVIEW: So based on the facts that the church is the people, that Jesus as a carpenter never mentions building a meeting place for His church,
4.) is the building man's idea or God's? 
ANSWER: Well I guess it is man’s idea….but…
REPLY: That’s okay, I agree with you.
One last question:
5.) Since the building is man’s idea, is it HONEST to take New Testament Gentile saints and place them under the Jewish Old Covenant, commanding them to “obey” the Old Covenant law of "tithing" to fund the man-made building we meet in?
We forsake the entire Old Testament disregarding its Sabbaths, dietary laws, and other such laws, but hold to the law of “tithing” as if it were damning if we didn’t. Is that handling the Word of God honestly?
A truth seeking born again believer would have to honesty say, “No.” Requiring Gentile New Testament saints to tithe just because the Jewish Old Covenant commanded the Hebrew to tithe and support a man-made building would be plugging in an opinion, not a Scriptural fact. To say this was His intent is simply NOT honest. Honesty is a morality issue. If we can't be moral about this topic and others like it, how can we be people of truth and experience revival? How can we passionately wave our Bibles calling people to truth if we are not honest with the Word of God and ourselves?
So we see, that indeed “to tithe or not to tithe” carries with it serious moral implications. Let us ask the Lord Jesus to rekindle our hearts anew to embrace His design and the pattern of the Apostles concerning New Testament church. That heart and pattern is a relational connection with one another because of a time of togetherness around Jesus…and it doesn’t cost a single shekel!
Take the time to spread this message of morality and set free those in Babylon. Thanks for reading.

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  2. Thank you! This is a great explanation for the false concept of tithing. It is true that this is an Old Testament concept laid out for the support of the Levite priests. God wants a cheerful giver as well as equality of giving between believers. One doesn't give what he doesn't have. I feel sad for those who are being coerced into giving this legalistic way.
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