We get the Megiddo Message at the office where I work, and in my spare time I read as much as I can.
“I am having a problem with understanding my responsibility in paying tithes. It is not that I believe one shouldn’t pay tithes, but my problem is that almost everyone I talk to says that you just pay your tithes and let the church, or someone at the church, worry about how the tithes are spent; that after we pay our tithes, God does not hold us responsible for how they are used.
I feel it is our duty to pay our tithes to a church that uses the money for whatever is needed in the church, and to help the less fortunate, the needy and the sick. I believe it is my responsibility to find out if this is how the money is being spent. But I need some Scriptures or help with this problem.
The Bible does uphold the principle of paying tithes. The Bible also commands us not to spend our money for that which is of no purpose or value (Isa. 55:2), and this principle could be applied to organizations as well as to individuals.
Although we may have no direct control over how our money is used once it is put in another’s hands, it is surely prudent to do what we can to know that we have chosen hands that are responsible, “good stewards” of what God has provided.
Although it may be beyond our ability to know all that an organization is doing, we can surely judge them by principles of Scripture, i.e., that money is not to be spent for pride, show, the lust of the flesh or the lust of the eye (see Prov.. 8:13; 16:18; also I John 2:15-1:7.) Elaborate TV shows, with music more suited to the barroom than to the worship service, would definitely not meet the criteria of Scripture. Jesus set the example in being meek and humble, and His promise is, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5).
In view of our individual responsibility before God, it would seem appropriate to ask an organization how all tithe money is being spent, if one is in doubt. If the organization is unwilling to give such an accounting, we surely would not want to trust them as God’s servants.
There is another point also which affects tithing. An organization that will accept money from those who are not financially able to give should not be trusted as a God-ordained organization. If one is in a position where he or she can hardly “make ends meet,” or is burdened by health problems or dependents which take most of one’s income, a church would be wrong in asking such an individual to pay tithes.
Actually, tithes and offerings are only a small part of one’s duty to God. The real sacrifices God requires are the “sacrifices of a broken spirit…a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Ps. 51:17).
There is yet another factor to consider in choosing a church to receive our tithe money, and that is Paul’s principle of “sound doctrine.” Paul says clearly that we should not support those who “teach otherwise, and consent not to the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus Christ and to the doctrine that is according to godliness” (1 Tim. 6:1-3). He says also that we are to withdraw ourselves from those who keep up a form of godliness but have nothing to do with it as a force (2 Tim. 3:5).