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Although it is our practice at First Puritan to refrain from “passing the plate” or from discussing tithes, gifts, and offerings at the worship service, all earthly things do come at a cost.
All are welcome to take advantage of what First Puritan has to offer; “giving” may not be possible for everyone and is not required; “tithing” is asked only of our Elders. But, contributing “something” to the work would be very much appreciated.
It’s true that not all can give “all,” but all can give “some.”
We live in a time of great difficulty. Funding is sorely needed to feed those who come broken and hungry, to support the counseling services of our “First Love: The Battle of Adultery and Divorce” ministry, to support our “Spurgeon Drive-By” (see below)¹ and “Dinner-and-a-Bible” ministries as well as our work at the Noble Correctional Facility, to sustain the recording and hardcopy publication of the Word of God and to place these materials into the hands of both believers and non-believers, to pay for websites and licenses, etc. .
Unfortunately, that burden falls upon the very few.
Many come to First Puritan and other assemblies to fulfill a misguided obligation of “going to church”; many come to receive the services, sermons, and ordinances but have little interest in experiencing what it means to be a member of the Body of Christ.
It was not so in past times but, today, so many expect to “receive”—and to expect to “receive for free“—rather than to “give.”
The word “tithe,” in Hebrew, means “one tenth,” but the suggestion of actually giving 10% of our income seems wildly absurd in the greed and selfishness of the 21st century. And yet Scripture plainly teaches that the first 10% of whatever comes to us is to be returned to the Lord with any additional offerings and gifts to be beyond the mandatory “first fruits.” Think of it this way: when you give 11%, you are giving only 1%; when you give less than the tithe, you are stealing from the Hand of Almighty God.
Many object to the tithe, using the excuse that the tithe was an “Old” Testament requirement. Yes, it was “Old Testament,” but Jesus, in the New Testament, taught that we should give out of willingness and a joyful heart rather than to meet a requirement.
The Jew of the Old Testament lived under the burden of the Law (see the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15) and met the tithe as a requirement; the Christian of the New Testament still carries the obligation, but the obligation is to be met under a new paradigm. But the tithe was never “canceled.”
This was the shift—not that giving was no longer expected and that the Great Commission would be funded by some miraculous bank account, but that the tithe would be a voluntary tithe and, like voluntary Baptism, would be a visible manifestation of one’s allegiance to Christ.
After all of one’s self-serving rationalization and excuses, this is how it works in the New Testament: no tithe, no baptism = no allegiance to a Savior in whom you don’t really trust and to whom you feel you owe so little or, at best, a shallow allegiance to be paraded out of the cupboard for those seated around you at the worship service.
Many object to the tithe or make excuses about giving to God yet pay taxes, doing so because they understand that national security and schools and roads come at a cost. Or perhaps they are more afraid of being audited by the IRS than afraid of standing in judgment before the Throne of God to explain how many a soul may have been lost or children were left hungry or even murdered in abortion . . . because their greed and selfishness exceeded their earthly need?
Many live in a luxury unknown throughout most of the world and think nothing of donating to political or social causes yet are unwilling to pay their fair share in supporting their church, leaving it to others to pay for the church’s obligations and its ministries.
Many think to avoid the tithe altogether by attending online or “television church,” as if the tithe is meant to pay for after-service coffee and donuts.
Many think to avoid the Great Commission by making excuses that they are not suited for mission work. Indeed, not all can and not all should . . . but those many could still financially support the work of those who can and do go out to win souls to Christ.
Our nation suffers under the Prince of Darkness. The pro-choice, “alternative lifestyles,” and pornography industries are well-funded and the laws and practices of this nation are an abomination to Almighty God and yet the pulpit is still called to preach against the sins of the world.
The church is tasked with the Great Commission and yet so many lukewarm Christians think to satisfy their obligation to be “a light unto the world” with a few dollars and change given to the collection plate.
It is plain to see, by our action, how dear we hold God in our lives. For many, God is “last.”
God is an “after-thought” who deserves only the few coins that are left after everything else—after everything else “and then some”—is purchased and paid.
The problem, Loved One, is not “the tithe.” The problem is . . . “you.”
It is not that you cannot afford the tithe but that—out of greed and selfishness and a lack of faith—you don’t want to tithe. Many plead and pray for more than they already have but refuse to acknowledge that God has already provided the 90%, and that He has already given more than enough in their daily bread.
It is not that you cannot afford the tithe. It is that you don’t trust God to provide for you after you have given to feed His poor.
Both the Old and New Testaments contain numerous warnings against tempting God but there is a passage in the Bible in which God actually challenges His people to test Him:
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it (Malachi 3:10).
The tithe is what Almighty God demands as “His,” but He has also given His promise to bless His followers if they, in faith, will bow in obedience to His revealed will.
Money is the acid test of your faithfulness. God uses it more than any other thing in your life to test your faith. Why? Because the thing you cherish most is the thing you are most reluctant to give.
We do not “pass-the-plate” or have “offering envelopes”; we offer and we tithe as we are called and as we are able.
Whether you offer or tithe, please know that your gift will go directly to support the work of the Lord; neither the minister nor the church officers receive any salary or financial compensation and all expenses are reviewed for approval by the full Assembly.
Although a receipt for the IRS is automatically generated at the giving, neither the minister nor the church officers are able to identify those who gave. The “giving” is between you and God. And God is watching.
If you are new to God or to First Puritan, it is not assumed that today you can make the leap of faith and tithe the first 10% of your income. Begin with a small weekly donation and, as you are led by the Holy Spirit and as you mature in your walk with Christ, increase your giving according to your faith.
God has promised that your blessings will exceed that which you give.
Do you want more from God? Give more to God and then watch what happens in your life.
Click Here to offer your tax-deductible support
¹ If you are not yet a tithing member of First Puritan or wish to give more than the minimum tithe required by God, perhaps you would consider supporting our “Spurgeon Drive-By” ministry.
Although we do check the expiration dates of food items, to ensure the food-safety of our (2.5-gallon hefty Ziplock) drop bags we do not separate food portions by hand. In addition, we want to limit items to those that can survive the day in the trunk of a car during the Texas summer.
Think “school lunchbox” while keeping in mind that we’re feeding “street people” who may not have access to a microwave or even a can opener. We’ll pack it up and do the person-to-person delivery to the most unsavory parts of Fort Worth but you can help by picking up a case of something at Costco or a couple of cans of something else at Tom Thumb whenever you do your weekly shopping.
2.5-gallon Hefty jumbo Ziplock bags
plastic spoons (only)
Gatorade (all types)
small-can or box-bag juice (orange, pineapple, cranberry, apple, grape, etc.)
canned soda, regular or small-size
cans (with pop-off lids) of spam, tuna, chicken, chili, spaghetti-o’s, beans, etc.
cans (with pop-off lids) of “no-water-added” soup
cans (with pop-off lids) of fruits and vegetables
individual boxes or bags of dried cereal, chips, nuts, olives, raisins, pretzels, crackers, etc.
single-serving dips (caramel, peanut butter, ranch dressing)
No perishable items; no glass; no chocolate or candy that would melt or stick together.