Oakley United Methodist Church
Thursday, October 19, 2017
Bringing Joy to God and Our Neighbors
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“You must present a tenth of your tithe as the LORD’s offering.”

– Numbers 18:26


When I was growing up in a church in Hickory; every November the pastor and some leaders in the church would begin talking about “stewardship;” talking about how much we should give to the church – 10% was the recommended amount, 10% “before” taxes were taken out.  I despised that time of year – despised the church for talking about money.  As I got older, I began to realize just how ignorant I truly was.  I had no concept of just what it took to “keep the lights on,” to pay those who gave so much of themselves every week in service to the church:  the custodians, the administrative assistants, the music director, the organist, etc.

Stewardship is something I never wanted to “preach” about as a pastor.  And up until this point in my ministry – I never have.  But now I am concerned for our church because our offerings are not keeping pace with our expenses.  In fact, they haven’t for quite some time now.  Don’t get me wrong – we are no worse than any other church when it comes to tithing.  It is estimated that, on average, most congregants only give 2 to 3% of their income; which, in most churches, leaves just a handful of people who are actually keeping the church afloat financially.  I hate to say it, but that is the case for Oakley UMC – we are being kept “afloat” by a handful of people.

Most people feel the “pain” when they give away ten per cent.  If I make $100 and give away a dollar – that doesn’t hurt so much.  But if I give away $10 of that $100 – then it begins to “hurt.”  We must ask ourselves:  “Do we not trust that God will provide?”  My wife taught me the importance of tithing.  Even when we were both unemployed at the same time, Debbie still gave 10% of her unemployment check to the church.  We were living off ramen noodles and peanut butter sandwiches – and she was still tithing properly!  Guess what?  God provided immensely!

What I have learned from her and from others who tithe properly – is that somehow when we do so – we seem to gain so much more!  It’s miraculous really – and something you will never experience until you commit to it.  If you love your church, if you love the way things are,   I encourage you to commit your proper share “as the Lord’s offering.”

Blessings, Peace, and Love!  Pastor Vic