Zimbabwean Pastor Uebert Angel recently bought his wife a $400,000 Lamborghini for Valentine’s Day and outrage flooded the internet. People crying foul and crediting his source of income to church tithe and donations. Are tithe contributions a gravy train for pastors in ministry?
Malachi 3: 10-12 popularly known as the tithe verse is the ever sure weapon pastors whip out when it’s contribution time in church. Dramatic pastors back it up to verse 8 reminding you of how you are cheating God by not giving. Familiar? Well, what’s wrong with quoting a bible passage before collecting tithe and offering? I say everything. As a more knowledgeable Christian my take is if you have decided to preach the bible, preach the ENTIRE bible, don’t just pick and choose in an attempt to manipulate your congregation.
What does the entire bible say regarding tithe? It’s my personal belief that when Christ died for us we are no longer subjected to the curse referred to in Malachi 3. Galatians 3: 13 states that Christ came to deliver us from the curse of the law so why would we volunteer to continue to live under a curse when we have been delivered. If we want to get technical the passage in Malachi 3 states that we are robbing God in tithe and offerings but pastors conveniently ignore the offerings part and focus on only the tithe. A man once went through the laws of tithe and offering in the Old Testament and determined that tithe and offering are about 70% of total earnings not just 10%. 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 (“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”) Of course pastors generally don’t like to entertain the idea of people giving as they purpose in their heart so they implore fear tactics.
So we tithe, then what? Pastors use our tithe to gift their wives Lamborghinis?
I don’t subscribe to the idea of pastors living below the poverty line to prove that they are humble. The truth is that these pastors have touched so many lives and they receive lots of personal gifts (behind the scenes) so when people see them prospering they assume it’s from tithe money. What exactly do we (the public) want? Do we expect pastors to go around preaching prosperity driving around a hoopty?
We need to calm down and give pastors (or Men of God as they popularly refer to themselves) the benefit of doubt when we see them splurge. Again this goes back to the guiding principle on giving. If you are giving 10% under compulsion (or due to manipulation) chances are that you will be pissed when you see your pastor living and extravagant life style. However, if you give according to what you have chances are that you will be less critical.
Written By Lola Fajemirokun
Photo Credit (The Old Black Church Blog)