Sunday, January 02, 2011

Just for a week

I know people who budget their tithing like I budget food, as an unavoidable indispensable expense. There are people who sometimes struggle with bills, who don't buy their kids a lot of fancy new toys, and who don't drive brand new cars with low insurance deductibles. These are ordinary people who think that giving to the church is the same as giving to charity, who believe that putting money in a collection plate will better the world. And maybe it does, but like with any charity, the middle man takes his cut.

Tithings pay for the parsonage, and they pay the pastor so he can do things like feed his family and not have to take a full time job in addition to his church duties. Tithings are a good thing in that they keep the church up and running, and the extra goes to charities and that's good. But imagine if, just for one week and maybe not all on the same week, everyone who gave at least $10 to their local church instead gave the money to save children from Malaria. How many deaths could be avoided, and really, how many churches would go bankrupt? My guess is that the pastors would still get paid, and the churches would still stay open, and all the bills would still get paid, and a LOT of insecticide-treated mosquito nets would get handed out. And isn't that precisely what Jesus would want people to do? To save actual human lives and put off replacing the hymnals?

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