Last Christmas Message

I got a few questions. it might annoy you. It might make you think. It might make reprioritize your life. It might offend you and cause you to shrug it off, having no change in your life whatsoever…

But I have to ask these questions. I just have to…

If Christmas is about peace and joy, where is it? if it’s about family and friends, where is it? Why is no one happy? I just stopped by my local supermarket to buy a few things and I had to wait in the queue. I whipped out my cellphone to check any messages when a loud voice boomed from behind. “HELLO!”

I turned to see a middle-aged man who was also waiting in line, his eyes were directed to some of the cashiers. He had a load of grocery products in his arms. “I see you talking stories over there. We waiting here to be served here while you waste our time!”

So much for the happy season. People venting their frustration in a jolly time as Christmas. Why?

Why is that the very same season that is supposed to bring the family together is the same season that has so many fights and conflict? They are fussing and moaning on what theme they want, what gifts to buy, what food to prepare and what clothes they should purchase.

While we moan about the preparations, some don’t even have anything to prepare. While we complain about spending so much, some don’t even have money at this time of the year. While we complain about the family members that we cannot stand, there are people who have lost loved ones this year.

So, it is extremely obvious that our priorities have been shifted to something that’s not even important. But what is exactly? What is this pandemonium that has slipped into our lives? Is it selfishness? Is it Pride? Or is it the comparison between us and others?

How is it that we push down doors to get in shops for a better sale? How can saving a quick buck be more important than humanity? There are people trampled by hordes of greedy people?

Why is that the death toll is exponentially high in these times? Why is that some don’t live more carefully? Is this not the season about Jesus? Why is it that many engage in drunkenness? Vouching for fun but no responsibility is on the to-do list. And as they drown in their vulnerability, they miss most of the best parts of their lives…

And in the end, when the turkey is eaten, the bottles empty, and so are we. Because our happiness wasn’t based on what we had for Christmas but in what we give, who we are and what we were made to be….

 

Tithing

Truth Series Part 7

With the number of sermons that we have on tithing, it is pointless to prove this by scripture. Hands down, the Bible says that 10% of your earnings must be given to God. What I want to get across here is my perception of tithing. My view on it. I am not infallible but I believe that the Bible is. So if you disagree, that’s fine, but I can tell you now, most of the people who will disagree with me are probably pastors!

In the book of Acts, or in the entire New Testament for that matter, there is no mention of the 10% tithe. Why? Because the Christians at that time gave everything they had. They gave all their wealth which was distributed to those who were really in need. They also gave their lives to the cause of God’s kingdom. Needless to say, Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5 never end well when they held back a portion of the funds they had claimed to have given. 

C.S. Lewis quoted in his book ‘Mere Christianity’:

C.S. Lewis

“I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc, is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them.”

CS Lewis, Mere Christianity


Therefore, we give a certain amount and this eases our conscience. We think we have done enough and that should be alright. We live in a culture where we are not really concerned about giving or helping another. Rather, we use our ‘hard earned money’ to buy things we don’t need that give us comfort. We spend our finances on luxuries so that we can show off on social media and just fit in the trend of the modern world. Don’t feel guilty. We all do it. Giving a buck to a beggar easing our aching conscience of spending thousands on something that we could have done without. No doubt, that amount of money could be used for better use, like feeding 10 people for a week!

But anyway, let’s continue tithing…

So, in the Bible, the Jews would bring the 10% of their produce or earnings and give it to the priest at the temple. Of course, the Levite priests would receive a certain amount of this tithe. The priests had no job or means of earning a living. hence, that’s what the tithes were for. So the priests would take what they needed and the rest was distributed to orphans, to the widows and of course, the poor.

Today, we find millions of dollars are received into churches and what does the pastor do with it? Just think about that for a second…

The pastors buy Mercedes and mansions for themselves. They adorn their lavish lifestyles with unnecessary things and proclaim that God has blessed them. They make their wealth a sign or evidence that God is using them or blessing them. 

Now nobody tithes to thank God for what they have, they tithe in the expectation that God will give them more money as if tithing was a huge gamble…

Some pastors boast of their private jets. For what? Some even have a fleet! All this will pass away. it is clear that they are building their own kingdom instead of the kingdom of God. Your heart is where your treasure is. Surely it is upon this world which will fade away soon…


Case Study

A non-Christian was selling a car. One Saturday, a pastor approaches him with the intention to buy the vehicle. After the seller had told him the price, the pastor replied: “I’m having a church service tomorrow morning, I’ll check my funds and come back to you…”


The money that is received into the church is to pay for all its cost and also for the pastor to live on. Whatever is left over should be used to help the poor. How many people are going to church, listening to a prosperity gospel as the preacher receives a fat lot of money, then go to a home without food?

So let’s think a bit here, out of the box. If the preacher is not doing what is right with the tithes we give, why can’t we refrain from giving money to the church and use that same money to help the poor? It would still be tithing! The only difference is that we will start being the Church for a change. Instead of sitting in the pews like spectators, we will be extending God’s kingdom…