Keeping the Local Church
As we’re approaching sending our oldest child out into adulthood, to live on his own, we’ve realized there are some things he’s not yet had to experience that he soon will. It’s interesting having an adult “child” who works a full-time job, living in your household. Though we give him certain responsibilities, such as paying a few of his own simple bills like phone and insurance, and doing a few chores around the house, he’s never had to run a household. He’s never had to wonder where the toilet paper is coming from or whether there will be electricity and running water when he needs it. He’s never had to consider the age of the roof and when it may need replaced or what to do about the leaking garbage disposal. The children of the house simply don’t know all the things Mom and Dad have to handle.
This is so similar to the way it is in a local church. The members of the church simply don’t know all the things that the pastors have to handle. Most church attenders and members simply show up, hang up their jackets, sit in the seats, and listen to the sermon. They don’t wonder who made sure the electricity was paid or who made sure there was heat today. Most church attenders don’t wonder if there will be toilet paper and soap in the bathrooms when they go to use them. These are just among the many things that are thought about and kept in order behind the scenes in a local church.
The difference between most church attenders and our 21 year old son is that, typically the members of the congregation are grown adults who do happen to have to think about all these things for their own households. Most Christians are very familiar with what it takes to run a household, yet they don’t consider it their responsibility to help assure their local church (household) is in good working order.
If people truly understood the way a local church was supposed to function, they wouldn’t dare not be a tither. Look at the primary purpose for tithing, Malachi 3:10 (NKJV), “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house…” The Lord has called His children, His church, all Christians, to tithe and be a supply to the local church, to make sure the local church is provided for. When you study the statistics of tithers in the body of Christ, you’ll be shocked to find that only roughly 3-5% of Christians even tithe. This means that 95% of Christians or more are showing up to church expecting someone else to worry about keeping the mortgage paid, paying the electric bill, and supplying their toilet paper.
Hebrews 5:12 (NKJV), “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.” If we can’t trust God in something so simple as with our tithe, which is 10% of our income, then how will we ever believe Him to heal that cancer, to restore that marriage, to break that addiction? The tithe is about being faithful to God because He is faithful to you. The tithe and the offering are about providing for the kingdom. It’s about providing a place for the lost to be saved, for the broken to be restored, for the (spiritually) hungry to be fed.
In the early church, the responsibilities of the church weren’t left for one or two people. They weren’t left for the pastors and leaders to do alone. Grown adult “children” in a household ought not live off their parents, but ought to contribute and learn to be an asset, not a liability. Christians and church goers ought not be a liability to their local church, but ought to purpose to be an asset. Ask yourself, is my local church better off because I’m there? Am I tithing so I can do my part to pay the bills? Am I giving so I can be a part of the outreaches, church plants, and special projects? Am I serving in the ministry of helps or am I just making a mess and expecting my parents or my brothers and sisters to take care of it for me?
Mark 10:45 (NKJV), “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Jesus, our example, had two key characteristics that we need to strive to have ourselves, He served and He gave. For Jesus, none of it was about Him, but it was about others. We should likewise care more for the well-being of the whole, rather than for ourselves. Are you a giver? Are you a server? Are you an asset?
Let’s get this job done, amen!?