Money is always a touchy subject. And talking about tithing always is within the church. A lot of Christians argue that tithing is not a New Testament teaching, and I believe they’re right. (There are others that do differ with me on this).
However, I do believe that the Bible is clear that we are to support those from whom we receive spiritual blessing. I think we can see this principle in this passage, though the situation is not talking about tithing.
In this passage, Paul talks about how he was going to Jerusalem with a gift that the people from Macedonia and Achaia had given to support the poor in Jerusalem.
And Paul says a very interesting thing about it. He says,
They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings. (27)
Two things to note here. They wanted to do it. They had hearts that were willing to give. But second, Paul said that in a sense, it was something they owed the Jews, because salvation came from the Jews. (John 4:22). That is, God chose to bring the Savior through the Jewish race. The Jews, through people like Peter, Paul, and Barnabas, spread the good news of God’s salvation to the Gentiles, and as a result, many were saved.
So Paul says, “Since they have received these spiritual blessings through the Jews, they owed it to the Jews to share their material blessings with them.”
I believe the same is true with us and our pastors. They have shared many spiritual blessings with us. They dedicate their lives to us that we may know God better, and come into a closer relationship with him. It is only right that we share our material blessings so that they can support themselves and their families.
But again, this needs to be something done, not simply from a heart pulled by obligation, but from a heart that is willing. As Paul said in II Corinthians,
Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (II Corinthians 9:7)
So if you’re not willing to give, don’t give. But if you have a heart that is so in love with money that you are not willing to give to those that support you spiritually, then that’s an area that you’re going to need to grow in if you want to be like Jesus.
Jesus was a giver. He gave up heaven for us. He gave up his very life for us.
If we really love Jesus, shouldn’t we have that kind of heart as well?
How about you? Are you a giver?