According to an old saying “It is more blessed to give than to receive”. The master giver himself also made it very clear thousands of years ago when he walked through this planet. During one of his numerous sermons he said: “Give and it shall be given unto you”. If you do attend church or have been reading the bible you must be familiar with the remaining portion of that verse.
If you read through the bible you will come across several portions talking about giving and the benefits that follow it. I believe in giving. Giving is a way of showing love and appreciation to first of all our maker the one whom we originated from; and then to our fellow human beings. It is also a way of activating one of the most wonderful laws that is in operation in the universe, the law of sowing and reaping.
It is in the light of this truth that so many people all over the world most especially religious leaders have manipulated and twisted this singular act to their own selfish end. It has been used and is still being used to intimidate and manipulate people by so many religious organizations and religious leaders.
Maybe a few examples will buttress my point. I used to belong to a certain church few years ago. Whenever it is time for the founder to celebrate his birthday every year his pastor’s in different churches will induce their members to donate generously so that they will present this as their own birthday gift to the founder. They will tax innocent and unsuspecting poor church members to give to the already rich pastor on a yearly basis. They will preach a wonderful sermon telling you that it is a lifting to give your money to the general oversea to celebrate his birthday. You are to give expecting to be miraculously lifted from poverty because you have given to an anointed servant of God.
You see, people are ripping people off every now and then in the name of anointing, man of God, multiplication and religion. Yes, there is nothing wrong with giving to a servant of God. But when it becomes greed and manipulation then certainly there is everything wrong with it. This was not what Christ preached or did. Paul did not do it neither did peter so why have we falling for it?
The reason is so vivid. We have all become gamblers in churches who are looking for an anointed man of God to use his anointing and double our money. If not why has it become so easy to dole out money to an already rich man of God but very difficult to support our brethren in these churches who with a little help from us will stand in business. Why has it become a crime to be of assistance to a blood relation who is yearning for our help but we claim that the best giving is when we splash it to the anointed simply because we believe it will multiply in the hand of a man of God. Why should we do only one and leave the other. Did Christ neglect the poor in his ministry? Did he instruct us to give to the church, the anointed and throw away people needing our help? Is giving to the church and an anointed man of God a sure ticket to heaven, paradise or whichever you believe?
Do you know the scripture so many of them use to convince the crowd? You remember the story of Elijah and the widow? Oh! What an interesting and convincing story. The woman gave to Elijah her last meal and it multiplied. Wake up folks! Don’t let people manipulate you with lies. We’re all good at sitting in churches listening to a very sweet sermon without bothering to read the bible with understanding.
Elijah was running away, was fed by a raven, the brook that sustained him dried up and the man of God was tied and hungry, without money and without a home. But he knew the God he served. When Elijah came to the woman he spoke a word of faith which God honoured because the woman acted in faith. Elijah did not come to the woman with riches and plenty and still demanded she gave him her last meal. Elijah was stranded but acted in faith. That’s the difference folks. Do not be deceived. If Elijah had gone there with riches he wouldn’t have taken from the woman. He would have provided for the woman and her household without resorting to a miracle. Few men of God are doing this in our world today. They rather take from the poor.
The man of God that poor people are contributing for every year in the name of birthday have houses, fleets of cars, owns a university and feeds fat from his church normal offering, monthly partnership contributions, members’ tithes, seed faiths, free gifts, free will offerings, sales of books, tapes and so many other income sources. I have nothing against his feeding from the proceeds of the gospel but my question is: why then is he interested in more and more money? Shouldn’t these birthday offerings go to the poor in the church or even the society? Have we suddenly turned our churches into a place of manipulation where we corner innocent members into bringing more and more with a promise of multiplication on earth and an account in heaven while the anointed grows fat account on planet earth? Was this what Christ preached?
Let the anointed grow rich but not by manipulating innocent church members who come to seek the salvation of God. Prosperity is an entitlement of the believer and should be preached but not through manipulation, lies and deception. Salvation should not be sacrificed on the altar of prosperity preaching. While I’m not a pastor the one claiming to be should follow the rules of Christianity, among them is love, care and sincerity to your followers. If you belong to a church where every Sunday what the pastor is talking about is tithe, money and seed faith run for your life. Are you in a church where they continuously ask for money without using it properly and accounting for it run for your life. Some religious organizations and religious leaders are very good in taking from people but not very good at supporting any of their members. When you loose your job or get into any little financial predicament in such places you are doomed. They will treat you like a destitute. They will prefer to spend millions buying church equipment or land they are not using than to support a son or daughter of Abraham who have stood with them for years paying his tithe, offering, seed faith or any contribution to the last kobo. Ironically, some of these people who claim to do the work of God and preach tithing to you with intensity will watch you rot away and die. They will also be at your burial to bid you farewell.
I have seen some pastors who preach that students should pay tithe with their pocket money because when they were students they paid tithe. The question is why should people lie to ignorant people using church platforms? Shouldn’t tithe be paid after profiting from an investment? Is a student’s pocket money earned through investment? Why do people delight in turning the word in the bible to avenues of manipulating unsuspecting people?
Be it tithe, free will offering, project offering, seed faith, etc., these are ways of honouring and appreciating God for his love and good deeds towards us. It is also a way of being part of spreading his kingdom on planet earth. Nobody has the right to force or manipulate you into giving. Have you ever bothered to ask why Christ did not recognize the people that gave out large sums of money in a congregation he went to but gave kudos to the woman that gave the least amount? It was not in the amount she gave but how sincerely she gave from her heart trusting God. That’s what giving to God should be. These days some religious leaders have decided to put giving above love, holiness and righteousness. These are the same people that Christ accused in Mathew 23:23 of neglecting the weightier matters of the law.
In concluding I want to re-visit the issue of tithing which instead of becoming a blessing to people so many religious leaders have turned it to the 21st century slavery in the guise of asking people to obey God’s commandment.
Is it proper to pay tithe? My answer is yes, but not in the way and manner some religious leaders are going about it today. They have turned tithing to a tool of slavery, intimidation and manipulation. I encourage any one willing to pay tithe to pay maybe 10%, 20% even 90%. Pay as you are led and pay to people who will account for it and use it aright. Don’t pay it as an obligation to any man or organization but with a willing heart and a way of serving God. If you are paying tithe out of fear of poverty and devourers you are trapped in this 21st century slavery. You have become a slave to somebody or an organization instead of serving God willingly. It shouldn’t be so. Nobody has the right to call you a thief for not bringing the 10% of your income to him or his organization. This is a matter for you and God to settle. We should cast away these lies and deception and learn to serve God willingly.
Religious leaders and organizations calling people that don’t pay tithe armed robbers and calling your attention to devourers are always quick to refer to the popular old testament scripture, Malachi 3:8.
How did tithing originate? It was in Genesis 14:18-20. God had just given Abraham a great victory and Abraham willingly decided to give tithe to Melchizedek in appreciation. Abraham willingly gave. It was not an obligation. Abraham was appreciating God and willingly paid tithe. Many years passed after this event and Abraham’s grandson, Jacob made a vow of 10% of whatever God would bless him with. Jacob was running from his older brother and not knowing what the future held for him he entered into this covenant. It was a personal choice.
Several years passed and God gave Moses the 10 Commandment but tithing was not among the 10. However, the children of Israel were asked to give a tenth of their increase to the Levites. The Levites did not own land and were not involved in business like other tribes of Israel. Their duty was to do the work of God and minister to the people; hence they should earn this 10%.
But today so many religious leaders who are engaged in several businesses from owning schools, fleets of cars, private jets, estates, business empires, etc., have turned themselves to Levites insisting that tithe is the law and must be obeyed. If you don’t pay you will be devoured and people are now serving God with the fear of devourers instead of willingly. And if you read the bible there appears to be so many instructions which some preachers of today consider to be less important in today’s church, for instance manner of dressing and wearing of head scarf, but on the issue of tithing since it has to do with money and gain must be obeyed to the latter be it old or new testament (though I’m not interested in criticizing women who don’t wear head scarf to church).
Let us serve God our maker with love, boldness and sincerity and not give in to people who twist the word of God in order to satisfy their greed or favour their denomination. Note that the coming of Christ changed everything for good. Religion and Christianity should not be slavery, intimidation or manipulation. It was not so from the beginning.