“How can people steal from God? How can anyone stoop so low as to steal from a church!?”
I heard several versions of that and, I concur that robbing the House of God is wrong. Dead wrong. And I am thankful that there are requests out to help us replace the stolen property, with some responses already coming back of promises to assist us in restocking our Praise Band’s much needed equipment.
My higher, spiritual take on the situation, though, is this: there is no honor among thieves. You see, I have thieves in my church—I believe every church has thieves in it, and we all know thieves will steal from each other and be stolen from. What am I talking about? Let me refer you to Malachi 3:6-11 (The Message)
My church is not atypical – it is all too typical when it comes to tithing. Most studies find that the average church receives 2-3% in “tithing.” The tithe, by the way, is 10%. That’s right. Ten cents out of every precious dollar you earn is not yours … it belongs to God. If you are not tithing to God then you are a thief. Since my church has thieves in it, I cannot be surprised when other thieves don’t respect it and steal from it.
"B-b-but, hey—w-wait a minute, Pastor Dana … that’s not the same thing!" you say ...
Really? I have people call me 24/7 when they are in crisis (funny how they don’t call when life seems to be going well, just to ask me how I am doing), who haven’t tithed into the church. As they rob God, they rob me; they rob from others in the church, their families. as well as their community. Over my many years of pastoring I have seen in the church people helping themselves to church supplies. Most of these same individuals are people who rarely give anything at all to the church.
Trust me, I have seen just about all there is when it comes to observing the selfishness and ‘thievery’ so ubiquitous amongst those who would call themselves ‘Christians.’ From being a child in a parsonage where people came over unannounced, intruding into my parents’ personal lives as if it were not their own to have, to living in one where people will walk in and help themselves to my food without the courtesy or respect to ask first—I have seen the selfish, thoughtlessness of man, even (especially?) those who claim to follow the Way of Christ, and, well … I am therefore not at all surprised when thieves strike in my church.
Is God going to “get them?” Those terrible thieves who took from our church? Hmm … a particular scripture comes to mind.
And you will reap what you have sown.
I have a simple challenge to all you thieves out there – tithe. Give 10% to your church. If you do not attend a church, then tithe into a godly work. The book of Malachi is the only place in the Bible where God says it is acceptable to test Him, and that test was in the tithe.
You want to debate this issue with me? Fine, but with one hard and fast prerequisite. Start tithing. Test the divine system for yourself. For the next six months, give your tithe duly and regularly to the church. Then get back to me and we’ll talk!
Keep the Faith ...