The Standard of Giving -- By: Stephen Mizell

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 18:3 (Summer 2001)
Article: The Standard of Giving
Author: Stephen Mizell


The Standard of Giving

Stephen Mizell

Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies Student
Southeastern College at Wake Forest
Wake Forest, North Carolina 27587

Introduction

Stewardship is one of the most difficult subjects to preach from the pulpit. The Bible says in 1 Tim. 6:10, “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” The next time a preacher speaks on stewardship, watch some of the faces of the people in the pews, and you will most likely notice a tightening of the jaw and stiffening of the neck. The average church member in the United States does not enjoy being told what to do with his or her hard-earned dollar. However, the purpose of this essay is not to rebuke the average church member; there is a much larger battle at hand.

A pastor who had been serving at a particular church for about five years was concerned about the financial growth of the church. The membership of the church was the highest it had ever been in its history—nearly doubling since he had arrived—and the worship services were exciting and filled with the presence of God. So, why had the church budget only increased by a meager 2 percent, stifling the ministerial needs of a growing church? Upon investigation, the pastor discovered that most of his church did not tithe. After prayer and much thought, he decided that he would preach from the famous Mal. 3:8–10 passage, hopeful that he would be able to convince the people that the tithe is the Lord’s. Sunday morning came and there he was, preaching his heart to the people. As he preached, he noticed that some people left right in the middle of the service: rich and not so rich, it did not matter. That afternoon, the pastor received a call from the deacon body, asking him to come in a little early before the evening service for a meeting. As the poor pastor sat there, the board proceeded to accuse him of overstepping his authority and preaching that which was not biblical. The pastor showed them the passage in Malachi concerning the tithe, but to his horror, one of the deacons stood up and said, “We are not under the Law; we are under grace. Show me in the New Testament where we are supposed to tithe.” The pastor sat there in shock, realizing that he could not answer that question.

This argument not only happens in the local church, but also in the Christian academic world. As a new generation steps in to fill the pulpits of America, tithing is becoming a thing of the past. The new “revelation” for the church is what ...

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