Giving to the Church
August 08, 2014
Things to remember when giving to the Church:
- Give responsibly;
- Don’t go into debt;
- This is a private thing between you and God; and,
- Give according to God’s leading.
The place to start is in prayer, seeking wisdom from God:
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. [James 1:5-7]
We find wisdom by prayer and His Word (the Bible). Please prayerfully consider this decision in light of His Word.
Over the next few pages, we’d like to cover some related issues in detail, before getting you to the point of deciding how to support the work of the Lord at People’s Church.
The concept of tithing is spoken of often in the Old Testament, with the idea of believers providing 10% of the first fruits of their labor to the work of the Lord, which could translate into our modern times as supporting the church. (Leviticus 27:30-33; Numbers 18:21-28)
The use of the term, “First Fruits,” refers to the need to give from the top of the yield, or the best quality items, rather than the left-overs or stuff one would have just dumped into the garbage.
Back then, the first fruits could’ve been the first born of ten animals, or first 10th of a harvested crop. In our day, unless you’re a farmer, it could be rather difficult to figure out what exactly are the first fruits of harvest. Does that mean the concept of tithing is old fashioned, not applying to us today? Considering it is God’s Word, it’s more likely we need to make sure we understand His truth, and then seek ways of applying that to our situations. His truth is timeless; our understanding needs to be brought in line with His Word.
Most of us live in a place where money is used in place of trading animals or crops. This should make the process easier, because all we have to do is multiple our weekly or monthly earnings listed on our paycheck by 10%.
What earnings number should we use? Gross or Net? What do these terms mean? Gross pay is that which our employer’s actually paying us. Net is what remains after taxes and benefits are removed. Applying this to the “first fruits” concept, the gross pay amount would be the number with which to calculate ones tithe.
Is the 10% a requirement or law? Not in the New Testament:
Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. [2 Corinthians 9:7-8]
So, one could consider the 10% a goal, but keep in mind the willing and generous giving will bless the giver and glorify God (2 Corinthians 9:10-14). The giving becomes the gift from the Lord:
Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift! [2 Corinthians 9:15]
How Much to Give
The amount of your tithe depends only upon your seeking God’s guidance. This is between you and God. Do not compare yourself with others, or you’ll be in danger of giving into the sin of pride, or judging yourself.
In case you’re having difficulty figuring out how much is the “right” amount, and you need a ball-park figure to help get you started, we’ve provided a Giving Calculator.
How to Give
Now that you know how much God’s leading you to give, here are a few ideas on how to get this accomplished:
- Donation Envelopes – these can be obtained from the church, and are usually kept in the Library (just off the front foyer. Find a box number that’s not already assigned to somebody else, then fill in your name. The first time you use the envelope, be sure to write your name on it so the treasurer is able to account to you the donation for tax purposes. Enter the amount you’re giving to the general fund on the appropriate line.If you can give directly to missions, please write in that amount as well, but please consider this above and beyond your general fund giving; that is, please don’t divert part of your tithe amount from the general fund to missions.
- Bill Pay – most of our banks today have an online bill-pay option. Each bank will have a slightly different process. Typically, you’ll need to setup the payee information first. In this case, use something like the following:
Peoples Congregational Church – Offering
56 South Main Street
Ashburnham, MA 01430
You can then setup the frequency and amount. If you’re unsure of when and how much, please refer to our Giving Calculator.
The bank will generate a paper check, mail that to the church, and it will be placed into the offering plate for blessing at the next Sunday Worship service.
- Debit Card – similar to the Bill Pay, this option allows you to donate online. In this case, the funds go directly from your checking account to the church’s. This is done using an online payment service, such as PayPal.
- Credit Card – People’s Church would prefer a giver doesn’t go into debt to donate to the church. If you’re already maintaining a monthly debt load, or rotating debt, please consider first paying down this debt before attempting a month tithe.
If you need assistance with a plan to remove this rotating debt, please contact the Deacons so they can provide counseling or guidance, or at least point you to a Christian Financial Advisor or online resource. If you’re paying off your full credit card bill each month, you’re not going into debt, so use of the online payment service (PayPal) should be fine. Please be careful.