Friday, June 3, 2011

We Get to Tithe! – Another Reason to Be Rather Fond of the Episcopal Church (Oct 2009)

If you’re an Episcopalian you’ll soon be hearing about this year’s Stewardship Campaign.  The Episcopal Church, like other Christian churches, maintains itself on donations from its members.  But for several decades now we’ve been paying our way via an annual pledge campaign that gets all the money-talk out in the open at this time of year.

Most Episcopal churches spend most of their money on four things, salaries, property, administration and outreach.  It’s no secret our houses of worship need money to survive, but the more important reason for talking openly and extensively about money is theological, not practical.   Jesus talked about money.  In fact, next to the Kingdom of God, money was Jesus’ most frequent sermon topic.

This is one reason the Episcopal Church, like other churches, has established the Biblical tithe (10% of one’s pre-tax earnings) as the starting point for giving.  This is not to be used as a requirement for membership or to get a better parking spot (James 2).  What it is meant to do is help us be who we, and God, want us to be: generous people who are known for our charity and desire to give.

But tithing is hard for us to do.  We’re rich (by world standards) and if you’re like me you find that the more money you make, the harder it is to give away.  I found it easier to tithe on an annual salary of $11,000 (my first job) than I do today making several times that amount today.  I appreciate my church talking about money, urging me to tithe, and to become the person I want to be.  I recently heard the slogan, ‘God gave us everything and we get to keep 90% of it!’  Do you tithe?  If so, how did you get there?  Share your tips on our Facebook group page.

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