Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Should Pastors Tithe?

I am a pastor. I tithe. I'm not telling you that to stroke my ego - I'm bringing it up, because over the years I have known a lot of people in vocational ministry (pastors, missionaries and other Christian servants who live off of donations) - and the question comes up from time to time of whether or not they should tithe, since the money that was given to them to live off of is from other people's tithes and donations.

Reading through the Book of Numbers the other day, I ran across this:
So you shall also present a contribution to the Lord from all your tithes, which you receive from the people of Israel. And from it you shall give the Lord's contribution to Aaron the priest. (Numbers 18:28 ESV)
This was written to the Levites - the priestly tribe - who lived off of the tithes of the other tribes. They were required to give a tithe of their income, even though their income was from the offerings of the other tribes.

I also believe that as a pastor I am called to lead by example, even when no one knows about it. This goes for giving, evangelism, and a number of different areas. I truly believe that giving to the work of the Lord is not only God's way of raising money and furthering the Kingdom, it's also his way of raising kids and furthering our spiritual growth - not to mention that it is a privilege. It is a simple fact, that a ministry like the one I'm involved in is constantly struggling with the things we would like to do, but are not able to do because of our limited financial resources.

Is this the Law? I don't believe it is. You don't have to tithe. That won't affect your standing before God. But generosity is a Gospel virtue. So is evangelism. This is how the Apostle Paul encouraged people to give to the work of God: he pointed them to the Gospel.
I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. (2 Corinthians 8:8-9 ESV)

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