Over the years, there have been assertions about how the operation of churches has become a business. It is as a result of some self-styled pastors establishing churches to make money rather than preaching Christ to people to get saved.
Unfortunately, the actions of some of these pastors have led to people making an inductive generalization about all churches becoming a money making avenue for pastors. They argue that pastors impoverish the poor by taking their pittance which they use to enrich their individual pockets. They liken pastors to politicians who promise congregants a land flowing of milk and honey and end up impoverishing them. As a result, they discourage people from paying tithes with the excuse that, pastors spend the tithes rather than it going to God as is usually perceived.
It is an undeniable fact that there are people who go into Ministry to make money rather than preaching Christ to people to get saved. The Bible even says in Matthew 24:24 that, there shall arise false prophets and they shall show great signs and wonders insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. It goes on to say in Matthew 7;16 that, Ye Shall know them by their fruits and in verse 18, it says a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. This simply means it behooves us as individuals to be vigilant and analyze whether some of these pastors portray what Christ stood for per what the Bible says.
It would be mendacious to generalize all pastors as going into Ministry for the sole purpose of making money and discouraging people from tithing and giving an offering. There are several portions of the Bible that touch on tithes and offering. Malachi 3:10-11 says
From my point of view, tithing is a principle which when applied yields the accompanying results if Romans 3:4 (Let God be true, but every man a liar) is anything to go by.
There are other scriptures in the Bible that talks about giving i.e. Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.
Proverbs 3:9-10 Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.
From these two verses, one can deduce that, any act of giving has a resultant blessing.
There are some who are against the poor giving but remember in Luke 21:1-4 where it says
“Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” . This clearly shows that everybody is expected to give irrespective of financial status. Surprisingly, the poor woman’s offering impressed God because her giving was out of love and not abundance.
There are some who also argue that, even though the poor give to the church, they don’t become rich as compared to the rich. I remember 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 where it says The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. This basically means your blessings from God is proportional to the level of your giving which is a basic principle.
There are some people who often ask whether the tithes and offering goes to God. I’m always quick to ask whether when a fetish priest places a demand on people to bring some money and other items for rituals, they equally have the temerity to ask the fetish priest whether the gods utilize the items. Is it that people fear gods more than God or humanity has just become so intelligent.NB: I believe the church has to be accountable to the people when it comes to the disbursement of monies donated by its members as it’s done in the catholic churches.
Some people also argue that, pastors make their living out of church offerings and tithes. Even though it might be true, I think it would be unfair to generalize all pastors as making a living out of church offering. There are some who had lucrative jobs and earned mouth-watering salaries before God called them. There are some who still do their individual works aside pastoring. There are some who even earn money through writing books. I personally don’t even believe church offering and tithes are enough to manage a church. As a result, some churches have people who partner them who are not even members of their church. Some pastors even source for funding outside their churches but in the end, people malign them and call them all sorts of names. There are some sacrifices that pastors make for their churches that cannot be quantified monetarily. If 1 Corinthians 9:13-14 “Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel” is anything to go by, then it’s not a crime for churches to pay pastors.
There’s this new trend where at the end of church programs, pastors hold out envelopes for people to give money as seeds. Some people call it “seed money”. This practice is seen as an accentuation of the assertion that, the church is now a business venture. Some people allege that, it makes people give out of compulsion but Deuteronomy 16:17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God that he has given you.
A church is just like any other entity where they employ the services of others who have to get paid. Most equipment and other materials used for the smooth running of the church are bought with money unless someone donates freely. It’s very sad that pastors have to call out for offering before people give. When we as Christians know the valuable role the church plays in our lives, we wouldn’t be allowing pastors go through the stress of literally begging us to give.The role of the church is more akin to a hospital.People come and get cured of diseases whose treatment runs into millions within a twinkle of an eye. Generational problems get solved within minutes by kind courtesy of the power of God. Our prayers get answered within a speed of lightening in the church and yet when it comes to giving to the church to develop, some of us have to be begged. It is only when we are in dire need of God’s power that we sometimes value the church.
As Mathew 6:21 says “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” If you think you are doing God a favor by giving to his house, remember John 41:11 “Who has first given to me, that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine.” Which simply means whatever you have is owned by God including whatever offering you give. No quantum of money or sacrifice can be equated to what God does in our lives as Christians.
Image Source: Google