Is it appropriate to collect tithes and offerings during this period?
Several variations of this question have been asked of me as a pastor the last several days. I understand the concern individuals are having. With the government shutting down many types of gatherings, some individuals might suffer economically. If we are asked to stay indoors for sometime and no money is coming in, then what are people to do?
In the end this is a personal decision between you and God as to whether you turn in your tithe and offering to your local church. No pastor or elder will come knocking on your door to collect them. We are not here for that. We will minister just the same.
Even though tithes and offering are between you and God, God does have something to say about them. In essence as a believer tithe and offerings are a matter of trust in God. In the book of Malachi God says this:
“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.” (Malachi 3:10)
God is asking you to trust Him in the good times and in the bad times—in the times of health and in the times of sickness—in times of tranquility and in times of crisis. We should trust God always. Yet there is a deeper question to ask.
If returning tithe and offering is an act of worship and we are just His stewards, why would a crisis change that? Does that say something about my relationship with God?
In 1 Kings 17 there is a story of a widow about to die of starvation with her son. In fact when the prophet Elijah meets her she is collecting sticks to cook her last meal. She is at the brink of death. He then asks her for food, and that is when she lets him know her situation. His response was this:
“Then Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go, do as you have said, but make me a little bread cake from it first and bring it out to me, and afterward you may make one for yourself and for your son.” (1 Kings 17:13)
The story says He asked her to put God first, and then herself even when faced with death. It was an act of faith, and she passed it with flying colors. In the end she was blessed beyond measure because she trusted God. This widow was even commended by Jesus in the gospels.
““But I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land; and yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.” (Luke 4:25–26)
In my many years of helping people with their finances I have never seen someone following God’s word have need. And from a practical need your tithe and offering support your local work. The church still has financial obligations like rent, light bills, water bills etc.
Your tithe and offering can be returned on line if your church supports it or mailed the old fashion way. God bless you all during this time as we continue to trust in God.
If you have questions don’t hesitate to ask here. Take charge of your money!
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P.S. Day 288 please pray for the 7.2 million goal for 2020