Ask The Preacher's Wife: Why Is The Pastor Asking Me About My Money?
Listen, if you really want to make folk angry, talk about how they should spend their money. So, here’s a quick disclaimer: Some of ya’ll are about to get uncomfortable!
From the beginning of life, we are taught that our money is OURS. As children, we are taught to do chores in order to get OUR allowance to spend it on what WE want to spend it on. Our parents give us autonomy with how we spend our money.
As a 10 year old kid, my dream was to get a rabbit’s foot from the gumball machine in the supermarket (judge yourself). I spent entire nights dreaming about it, and every time I went to the supermarket with my mom, ALL of my allowance went straight into the gumball machine.
Note: YES, I eventually got my rabbit’s foot! Lawd, was I foolish!
As we grow and mature, we begin to realize there are certain things we can control, and other things we cannot control. We realize we cannot control people’s thoughts, intentions, and actions. In many instances, we have little control over the world around us. However, the one thing we can always control is our money.
Our money and our finances are ours. They belong to us. The way we spend money, the way we earn money, and the way we manage money is solely under our purview and discretion!
Well, sure…if your understanding of finances is based on the world’s understanding. In fact, our entire western society is built on the principle of earning as much money as we can in order to have as much stuff as we can. We know it as capitalism, which undergirds the “American Dream”.
Note: The “American Dream” was not designed to be attainable by African Americans. But that’s a story for another day.
We go into debt to drive luxury cars. We prioritize trips to Dubai and Thailand in order to fill our passports with stamps. We allow celebrities and influeners to tell us that we need certain clothing to feel powerful and secure. And we spend what we want, when we want, and how we want, because it’s OUR money.
But, walk and talk with me for a minute MP. I need to propose a new way of thinking, and you probably won’t like it.
For a minute, I need you to look at this issue of finance through a Christ-centered lens. So, I need you to figuratively put on your spiritual sunglasses (this will not make sense if you don’t) and follow along with me.
*Puts on spiritual sunglasses
Everything you have belongs God. Everything you have is because of God. If not for God, you would have nothing.
Go back and reread the last 3 sentences. I know that was difficult to read. It probably made you uncomfortable.
Don’t throw your phone. Stay with me.
As I needed to do in my blog post, Ask The Preacher’s Wife: Is Watching Pornography Wrong?, I am going to bring in The Preacher to talk about tithing from a biblical perspective.
Here ye him!
The Biblical Principle of Tithing
When we talk about tithing what we’re really discussing is the biblical principle of stewardship.
As Lady Mel said earlier, “Everything you have belongs to God. Everything you have is because of God. If not for God, you would have nothing.”
Those three sentences are rooted in scripture, and one example is Psalm 24:1; “The earth is the LORD’s and all that is in it, the world and those that live in it.”
God is the owner, and we are simply managers, or stewards of that which belongs to God!
As stewards of God’s property, we have a responsibility to manage it faithfully— and part of that management is giving back to God through tithes and offerings. You can find entire libraries dedicated to stewardship for Christians, and with all of the books you will also find plenty of differences (that is a different discussion for a different day), but allow me to simplify it.
God instituted the tithe to take care of God’s house and God’s ministers. Tithe literally means tenth, and what God requires from us is at least 10% of our earnings to go towards our local church for its operation and building of God’s kingdom. God wants us to faithfully give at least the tithe/tenth/10% and live responsibly off of the 90%, and this is found in scripture.
Malachi 3:8 states “Will anyone rob God? Yet you are robbing me! But you say, “How are we robbing God?” In your tithes and offerings.”
This may be the scripture that led your pastor to make the statement about “cheating God” if you don’t tithe correctly.
In the Bible, the nation of Israel was withholding from God what belonged to God by not giving fully with their tithes and offerings. They were not being good and faithful stewards of what God allowed them to manage— and because of that God through the prophet Malachi declared in 3:9 “You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me— the whole nation of you.” However, because God is a God of grace and mercy, God gave Israel a way to make it right, and promised to bless their socks off.
Malachi 3:10 declares, “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour you down an overflowing blessing.”
When we bring the FULL TITHE into God’s house, God promises to bless us in an overflowing way— and those blessings are not just financial.
When we are faithful disciples of Jesus Christ, we view finances in a new way. We no longer think that our paycheck belongs to us, but we understand that God has blessed us to be stewards of the money we earn.
As faithful stewards of God’s manifold blessings, TITHING is not a dirty, nor offensive word, but it’s a word and principle that allows us to partner with God in Kingdom building.
Thank you Pooh! Now, back to the discussion!
Now that we understand tithing from a biblical perspective, I have to keep it real and talk about a few realities.
The Impact of Imperfection
As a believer, you are aware that each of us is saved by grace. However, our imperfect human nature causes us to do some pretty foul stuff. Pastors included.
There have been times when pastors have misused and mismanaged (or have overseen the misuse and mismanagement of) offerings that come into God’s house. Furthermore, some pastors lack a solid understanding of the biblical principles of tithing and therefore, have not taught sound biblical teachings about money and finances.
There are other pastors who have intentionally extorted money from God’s people to line their own pockets. And still, there are some pastors who preach a prosperity gospel, where folk are promised God’s blessings of houses, cars, and millions of dollars, in exchange for offerings. Prosperity preachers often prey on minority communities with few resources.
And if I hear “Reach up and grab your house/car/spouse” or “Declare and Decree” used like Abracadabra ONE. MO. TIME.
Also, if I’m going to keep it 100%, the church has not done a good job with teaching parishioners about sound financial stewardship beyond tithing.
For example, there are some pastors who don’t talk about the importance of creating and balancing a household budget, living beneath our means, and creating a sustainable savings plan.
Because these discussions rarely happen, and because of flawed spiritual leadership, many believers, especially those who are newer to the faith, and those who don’t view tithing from a spiritual perspective, have difficulty understanding financial stewardship.
Note: Click HERE to view the Financial Fast our church did earlier this year. Prayerfully if can be a great resource to help you (or someone you know) learn about budgeting, saving, and more about tithing.
Your Faith and Tithing
You still with me MP? Good!
So far, we’ve discussed the following:
Our human/societal view of money
The biblical principle of tithing
Issues around imperfection and shady pastors
What does all of this have to do with faith? It’s simple. Our faith is what allows us to become tithers.
In spite of the issues with flawed human beings, the bible is clear. Tithing is a mandate from God. Therefore, when we tithe, we are telling God “I trust you to provide for me”.
When we are able to view tithing from our spiritual lens, we can walk in faith and tithe with the understanding that it’s not our job, our tax bracket, nor our 401K, which provides for us; but it’s God who supplies all of our needs.
It’s my prayer that you will reconnect with a house of worship. As Christians, we are called to exercise our faith in worship with other believers. While you can and should worship God at all times, the bible instructs us to worship together.
I am a witness that God blesses the tither! Prayerfully, in time, you will experience God’s promises as a tither too!
Peace and Love,