Welcome, You’re Welcome, and Thank You

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Over the past few weeks, traffic in and out of this little website has spiked dramatically, thanks in large part to several of my posts being reblogged and republished elsewhere. First, I’d like to thank those doing that for either asking permission (but just do it; you don’t need my permission) or giving me a heads up when you do it.  But secondly, and most importantly, I really appreciated the many emails and responses here as a result of this new traffic.  I started Mike’s Place over a decade ago simply as a way to keep in touch with members of my highly mobile congregation, who because of work schedules or whatever, would miss out on sermons or Bible studies.  Since that time, and over a thousand posts later, visitors from all over the world pop in and rummage through the offerings here.  I never intended this website to be a place of dialogue; where readers would respond and ask questions and I would answer back.  Honestly, I don’t have the time for that kind of give-and-take; I wish I did.  However, over the years, I have, from time to time, responded either by personal email or through Mike’s Place, to reader’s responses that I thought were particularly interesting or insightful or touching.  But while I read all of your responses, I generally don’t publish them.  And I truly do appreciate hearing from readers, especially those who disagree with me on positions I have taken.  Reading that kind of stuff is always fun.

Having said all that, I got some fascinating responses to this article.  Mostly the responses where positive and encouraging, some were not yet still gracious, and more than a few were positively vigorous in their defense of tithing.  Christians do love that 10%.  But then figuring out 10% of a certain sum is easier than, say, 13%.  Imagine if God had established the tithe at 13%!  How many Christians would be quick to do the math in their heads if that was the case.  And, of course, as I suggested in the piece, scribbling out a check (or cheque) for 10% of that pay period’s income is a lot easier than actually sitting down and praying and asking God how much you should give.  By sticking with the tithe, a lot of Christians avoid a guilty conscience; it’s guilt-free giving.  God gets His 10% and I get the rest.  Hitting up Appleby’s after church is a much more enjoyable experience when you’ve contendedly given your tenth.  And that’s really what’s it about, isn’t it?  But, sticking with the tithe has also meant that some believers have missed out God’s greatest blessings.

Here’s a question and a comment I got from Elihu —

Great principles!

I have a technical question: do you think people should give every single first day of the week? What I mean to say is, if you purpose in your heart to give X to the church and you give it every time you get paid is that considered the same as giving weekly? I’m curious as to your thoughts on this.

Now, that’s a great question.  The short answer is yes.  The idea Paul puts forth is that a believer should give generously on a purposeful, regular basis.  Paul also wrote that it was “for freedom that Christ has set us free,” so we shouldn’t make giving a burdensome, legalistic chore.  So, using your example of giving a certain, predetermined amount each pay period (whether that’s weekly, every two weeks, or monthly), I’d say that’s reasonable.  But, at the same time, if you feel moved to give a little extra in between pay periods, just do it.

The slightly  longer answer is the same.  The idea of giving on Sunday was for the sake of convenience; it was easier for Paul and his pals to pick up the offering from a central location than by having to go door-to-door.  I think that’s a good, common sense principle to go by.  The church meets every week, the church has bills to pay, missionaries to support, the hungry to feed, the pastor to pay, so it makes sense to pass the plate when the members are there.

Years ago, I pastored a small, very rural church.  Most of the members worked at a local mine and its supporting businesses.  The miners got paid every two weeks, so we knew every other Sunday’s offering would be tiny.  It was.  But we had one gentleman who had a business that basically did its business three months out of the year.  When mines across the country closed down during the summer, he and his crews would go in and clean out the chimneys, or whatever it was they did.  For nine months out of the year, he gave practically nothing to our church because he wasn’t working and had virtually no income.  But for those three  months when he was working, it was like the church was winning one lottery after another.  He gave regularly, generously, and purposefully when he was able to.

I hope that helps, Elihu.

 

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