Bear with me as I ramble. I recently listened to a sermon by Andy Stanley about Giving. He talked about how if everyone would give to their local church on a regular basis (tithe), then we would not have the need for near as many special fund raisers and projects. Most of the funds needed for expansion projects would already be there in the church account ready to be used if all the members would regularly give.
He said that right now the average giving of Americans, based on tax reports, is 1.5%. That’s a far cry from the 10% mentioned in Scripture. Even if you set a goal to tithe 8% of your income or 5% and regularly did so, our local churches would have a lot more to work with.
We would be able to increase the mission work around the world without individual supporters because each church would put forth an amount from their account.
He talked about many of the projects that we support that deal with things like drugs abuse, domestic abuse, broken homes, etc… If the church was healthy we would have reached more people and these cases would be less. Preventative Giving. Raising up faithful Christians in the church rather than people leaving the church and then ending up in a mess or some sort and needing help.
The truth we teach changes lives and makes better citizens.Of course there are always projects to help, but do you preventatively give?
To be honest, as a missionary I find it hard to give regularly. Yes I give of my time and resources and life more than most, but my money? I run into these dilemmas –What is my home church? Do I set up something to automatically withdraw from my account and go into my “home” church in the States? Or do I just give to the church I attend regularly—which right now is in Africa. If I tithe 10% of my income to the village church I would mess up their budget and cause great dependency issues. I also am constantly asked for help from local people who have real needs based on illness, death, accidents, etc.… If I start counting all the funds I hand out to help these needs, sometimes it goes above and beyond my tithe, and yet it didn’t go through the local church. I’m not saying that the way I do it is proper, but it is how it is.
I’ve heard somewhere that the poor often have trouble learning how to manage their money thinking it impossible when in reality they need to pay more attention to managing funds than the wealthy. Step one in any Christian money management course is to set a percentage aside for the Lord.
How do I better implement this teaching in my life? How do I teach this concept of giving to these nationals?