|A different tithing than CHC|
Num 18: 20 Then the Lord said to Aaron: “You shall have no inheritance in their land, nor shall you have any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the children of Israel.
Numbers 18: 21 “Behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tithes in Israel as an inheritance in return for the work which they perform, the work of the tabernacle of meeting.
Deut 14: 28 “At the end of every third year you shall bring out the tithe of your produce of that year and store it up within your gates. 29 And the Levite, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you, and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates, may come and eat and be satisfied, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.
Deu 25: 4 Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.
1 Tim 5: 17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. 18 For the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.
The videos of Pastor Kong Hee of City Harvest Church (CHC) using the OT Jewish verses to strongly urge the church for 10% tithe to be given to the church can miss the purpose of the original intention of the tithe.
The tithe is given to operate a sanctuary of worshipping Jesus and ministering to God and to each other and to the community.
Charity should not be given for business, paying excessive salaries, inviting and paying good money for world class speakers (and the pastors getting paid in return when they visit these churches overseas), or building large and beautiful cathedrals of grandeur.
Churches should not be a charity if they eat and sacrificed the gentle lambs. We have cleverly misinterpreted Deuteronomy 25:4 and 1 Tim 5:17,18 of not muzzling a bull whilst it is working in the fields ie not abusing the sacrifice made by full time workers to a life of lack when they are doing a good job in ministry. The Pastors are now seen eating barbacued lamb chops instead of eating grain!
We have taken Deut 25:4 to the other extreme. Christian service has become a road to riches, and glory. We are worshipping the mega churches sacred bulls as our idols instead of Jesus.
Tithing has a context for the support and the maintenance of the Local Christian Community for mutual support and operation of the Christian sanctuary.
How much should we pay a Pastor? not the 500K a year but subsistence living. For the housing, the food, traveling, retirement, and the daily expenses should be all covered by the Faith Community as part of the tithes. The Pastor has three ministries - to the Lord, to the Christian faith community, and to those who comes into the church to seek God for sanctuary and refuge.
The OT tithe was to be used as resources to run the church 24x7 as a place of worship ministering unto the Lord. It is hallowed ground, a sacred altar to the Lord with praises offered day and night. The door is always open, for the House of the Lord is to be available at all times.
Such a large tithe was given because of the resources to operate the temple day and night and to perform special religious ceremonies during the festivals of the year.
There was no personal glory, no large salaries, no self benefit for the House of the Lord was supposed to be a House of Prayer instead of a market business where the priests inevitably became the den of thiefs. They lived in the temple grounds and had no large mansion beside the seaside nor expensive garments or chariots of gold.
The Levites were the Priests representing man to God, offering prayers in public, day and night on behalf of the faith community. As such, Christian Pastors should be worshipping Jesus day and night to minister to God on behalf of the church. They are to lead the people to worship God in the House of the Lord where the flames of Hope and revival shall never be dimmed.
The tithe was given to the Levite tribe as an inheritance and a birth right because they did not own any real estate for their lot was not to work the land but to minister to the Lord in the temple. Therefore their job was to praise and worship God in the sanctuary of the Lord. Pastors therefore should have minimum worldly belongings.
The tithe was also given as a communal fund/resources where the poor, the outcasts, the orphans would find God's grace and basic provision of food, shelter and care within the hallowed halls of the church. The church is not only for Sunday worship but the center of the Christian communal life. Here, the fountain of living waters flows day and night and shall never run dry.
The priests did not receive a salary per say, but their portion was the tithe given and they receive subsistence as their "salary" as they ministered unto the Lord. The priests owned nothing for themselves - no land, no money, no belongings.
When we insist on the tithe, the church should also follow a biblical pattern where the role of the Pastor is to worship day and night before God in the Holy Sanctury, eat and sleep in the church, with a large kitchen to feed the poor, the outcasts and the orphans. The church was to be opened to all, day or night where the stranger from a different tribe could come in because no one else would accept him/her.
When we go outside the walls of the church, to cross over to minister to the world in a cultural mandate and become secular singers and businessman, we come out of the priestly tribe. Hence, we should not be holding a Pastoral and senior leadership role in the church. For we begin to make it to a business and soon money takes over and we begin to take from the people what is due to God alone.
When a church starts to demand and insists of the tithes and building funds to be given expeditiously, we are giving to the carnal man and not to God who is not demanding nor insisting but full of grace, love and mercy. We have replaced God with the likes of a loan shark. Giving is never to be demanded but out of freewill and a pure heart.
The great sin of any great Christian ministry is not misappropriating funds as charity ie abusing the charity system not to pay tax, but it is stealing from God. The money given is not strictly charity but given unto the Lord. When we are lifted so high and become gods ourselves, we think that we deserved the wealth and the good living and soon the love of money, power, and fame become a stumbling block.
Is 56:4,5 For thus says the Lord: “To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths, And choose what pleases Me, And hold fast My covenant, 5 Even to them I will give in My house And within My walls a place and a name Better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them[a] an everlasting name That shall not be cut off.
In the community where rejection of the minority takes place, the church was supposed to be the House of God where the foreigners, strangers not of the same clan, and the Eunuchs could find a place to "camp" and be accepted. There were also natural Eunuchs who as Jesus said were born as such from their mother's womb. ie they had a natural same sex orientation.
The Church, the Holy Sanctuary of God, was to be a place with Open Doors, where all are welcome. The tithe was to be used to operate the church to minister to those who has no where to go, and as a place of worship unto God. It was not only to be opened on Sunday, but everyday, and all the time as a sweet smelling aroma unto God both in the worship to God and in the open arms to the margins of society.
Hence, the church is not the place to extract the maximum tithe from the sheep, but a place of worship, prayer, and a sanctuary for the lost and the hurting.
God is no man's debtor. When we give to God, to the House of God, He will bless us in return.
However, we give not because we will be blessed but because of the finished work of Jesus at the Cross of Calvary. We give because we have been blessed by the finished works of Jesus at the Cross. For salvation and eternal life is our lot by faith that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.
We give because we have been blessed abundantly by Jesus Christ, by the resurrection power bringing us in line with the blessings of Abraham and David.
We give because Jesus first gave us life and life abundantly here on earth and in heaven to come.
Jesus is not seeking after our tithe, He desires our entire life, worship and affection. For nothing can replace a heart for Jesus and a clean and soft gentle Spirit able to be used by Holy Spirit.
The impression given in many of mega church sermons concerning giving was that God is a hard and demanding and law based God, always seeking money, growth, expansion, and a war in the heavenlies for the souls of many.
Why can't we just worship and enjoy the sweet presence of the Holy Spirit. We are made to worship Jesus, and to enjoy and rest in His presence, His love, and fellowship, and this is ministering unto the Lord in His Holy ground.
The church is foremost, a Holy ground where we can meet God and not a tax department. It is a sacred place with a stairway to heaven where there is an ease of access to God. When we mixed it with a den of thieves or transgressed it by other spiritual deities, the Holy Spirit cannot do much in our midst.
The Christian sheep is foremost the temple of the Holy Spirit not in the sense that the Holy Spirit resides in us just because we are Christians, but because we can enter into the presence of God hence letting the Holy Spirit and presence of Jesus dwell and commune with us as a result.
The churches in Singapore is going through the dark night. As we seek God, may He shine a light unto our path.