Tithe... Buying the Blessings?

2014-12-31 13:10

As we celebrate the demise of the year 2014, and usher in the year 2015, for the sole purpose of this article, I shall begin by saying: "Hallelujah Bazalwane!"

Can somebody scream "Amen"?

Excited as you may seem to be, I'm neither a preacher man nor anything closer to being one. I also know not the doors of Bible School. Nonetheless, I was born from a Christian family, with two different denominations. By default, and now by choice, I belonged to my maternal religious denomination.

Over a glass of some cold stuff, as we sat relaxed during these unHolidays, my friend and I had a heated argument about the "giving or offering or tithing" in church. Given the fact that Christmas is time for giving, I guess this is how we got to this argument.

I was left with many unanswered questions with regard to this controversial Biblical issue of Tithe. I'm aware there is giving and offering (even though I remain clueless about which is which). But my main confusion is about tithing... giving ten percent of your income to the church.

Many born again Christians struggle with this issue of tithing. Or rather, they over-emphasize it, to the point where its actual meaning get lost in the midst. While other Christians submit loyally to the laws of tithing, others refuse to be part of it.

After a heated debate with this friend of mine, I visited the Holy Book, and read the scripture from the book of Malachi 3:10... and I quote:

"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse (church), that there may be food in my house..."

My dear friend's argument was that:

1. Paying a full tithe prepares us to feel what we need to feel to receive the gift of eternal life.

2. We should pay tithes and offerings as a personal expression of love to a generous and merciful Father in Heaven.

3. Paying your tithe unlocks the windows of heaven.

But my argument was fueled by many of the black folks that I know of, who would rather starve, than default on their tithe. The folks who even "save" their money for tithe. I have always wondered what this "ten percent" actually was. Yes, it is a one-tenth of your income. But what does that actually mean?

Is it a 10% of your gross salary?

Is it 10% of your net income after His Majesty SARS has taken his own?

Is it 10% of what is left after you've saved, paid the bills, bought the monthly domestics, and spent?

What 10% is the tithe?

Does it include my bonuses and 13th cheque?

Does it involve my retirement fund, provident funds, and pension funds?

Should the women who receive social grants for their kiddies pay tithe?

What about the pensioners who receive their government grants?

Who is immune from paying tithe?

Who must benefit from tithe?

Should it be the church, church members, the pastors, or the pastor's families?

How will the church know if my tithe is exactly the 10% of my income? Do I need to hand over my salary advice (pay slip).

If paying your tithe really unlocks the windows of heaven, as my friend says, does that mean we must actually "buy" the blessings from The Man Upstairs?

What will happen to those who refuse to tithe? Is there a place for them up in heaven?

Having said these, though, none of my above-mentioned questions (confusions) should make anybody stop giving/ offering/ tithing in their respective churches. Mine are just the questions that remain unanswered...

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