I have asked all of our pastors to teach about tithing this Sunday, October 8th. Several have responded by telling me that they are using a different Sunday or a series of Sundays, and that’s OK of course. The main point is that we United Methodists need to teach about tithing and to develop what I call “A Tradition of Tithing” here in Indiana.
Why? Why is tithing such an important issue for me? Why do I believe it is so important for our churches?
I believe it is important that we see Tithing as a lifestyle, not just as a method of raising money for either the local church or the annual conference. Tithing is the Biblical concept of giving 10% of our possessions to God, as a way of expressing our gratitude for God’s generosity to us. Tithing is to be the lifestyle of the person of faith, not just an occasional method for raising money in the church. Please remember these points:
- Tithing is not a rule, it is a revelation. We are invited to adopt a Tithing lifestyle not because it is some outdated rule in the Bible, but because it is part of God’s revelation that a generous life is the best life to live.
- Tithing is not about accounting, it is about acknowledging that God is the source of all gifts. Yes, the 10% mathematics of Tithing helps us to demonstrate that acknowledgement, but the real issue is to acknowledge that God is the God of all things – including our possessions. In the midst of a consumer culture here in America, that is an important acknowledgement for us.
- Tithing is not about finances, it is about faith. Yes, we are using a Tithing model in place of our old apportionment system, but this is not about raising money for the local church or the annual conference, it is about teaching our people to be faithful to God.
Please help to teach these, and other, aspects of Tithing. Please model Tithing and don’t be afraid to talk about this Biblical concept. And please focus upon our faithfulness to a generous God. Let’s develop a Tradition of Tithing.
from Bishop Michael J. Coyner