I heard another statement made on a radio program that needs to be addressed. Here is what was said. "If one is not giving 10 per cent of his or her income to a local church, then that person is leaving God out of their finances."
I am a firm believer in supporting a local church and there is nothing wrong with following the 10 per cent rule, but this statement is very problematic. Not only is it judgmental and legalistic, but it also reveals a lack of biblical literacy and an understanding of the use of money to support ministry. It also leaves out many other ways besides the local church.
Here are some examples. Who is keeping God in their finances more, a person giving money to a church or a person helping feed the hungry? An individual supporting a church that is doing nothing to see people come to Christ or a person giving money to an organization that is bearing fruit in the lives of people?
On the other side of the issue is the question of how a person uses the rest of his or her money? No matter how much is given to a local church-10 per cent or even more-must be balanced with the amount spent on personal pleasure, wants(not needs), or a life style consisting of much more than is needed.
I am, well, I will say it, fed up, with Christian leaders making statements like this. There is nothing wrong with giving to a local church, as long as it is doing the work of ministry. The Bible tells us to generously support those who labor and minister among us, but that includes much more than the local church. Besides, some, not all, churches are not even seeing anyone come to Christ. Why just give to programs or to help keep the lights on in the church? Our priority should be to give to the things that are truly advancing the Kingdom of God, and true ministry is what goes on outside the walls of the local church. Scripture also teaches us to meets the needs of those around us, in or outside the church.
So, giving 10 per cent of one's income to a local church is NOT the only benchmark for how much God is in a person's finances.