9. Tithing, giving money
We owe everything to God, in fact we are not our own, but our very lives belong to God. He has bought us with a great price. When you open your purse or wallet, give generously and regularly to your local church, to the poor, to whomever God leads you to give!
Many Christians use the "tithe" of the Old Testament -- 10% of their income as a guide as to how they give. Others believe that the 10% "tithe" is not specifically taught as the standard of giving for New Testament believers in Christ.
Beware of much of the popular teaching on "giving" today, it is propagated by individuals, churches and organizations that have huge overhead expenses in TV/mass media, lots of brick and mortar and huge salaries, often supporting lifestyles far above the average standard of living of those who are giving to support it! Such excess is an abomination and slander against the name of Christ. These "Christians" teach that giving money and receiving more back is the greatest purpose of our lives and yet the money they collect goes mostly to support the "machine" they have created rather than to propagate the good news of Jesus and His redemption. TV broadcasts that preach a false "Santa Claus Christianity" are not preaching the good news of Jesus and Him crucified for your sins, but "another gospel". If they were teaching Christ and Him crucified we would rejoice that the gospel is being preached even if done for impure motives of gaining profit, but the gospel is not even preached.
Money has a place in our lives, but it is certainly not to be at the center. Though it is true the Bible teaches that some Christians are called to a special function of giving. Their "gift" to the body of Christ is to be a giver and they may have great resources to share. But the Bible also teaches "that few of you were wise in the world's eyes, or powerful, or wealthy when God called you. ", and that trusting in uncertain riches has made many to fall. The apostle Paul himself knew many financial hard times, it was not due to a lack of faith or a lack of giving, he gave all! And he told us to follow him as he followed Christ.
What is very clear is that the New Testament (our new contract or covenant in Christ) teaches that you should give generously according to your ability, and to do so because you want to, not because you have to. God loves a cheerful giver (2Corinthians 9:7), so learn to hold your money with a loose hand and give to him who has need, but be cautious in today's culture of what organizations you use to distribute your gifts. It may be better to involve yourself first hand in real service to others and give as you see the needs.
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