by David J. Stewart
Proverb 3:9, “Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.”
One of the biggest problems I see in America today are people who foolishly financially support dead-beat ministries. Proverb 3:9 tells us to “honour” the Lord with our substance and increase. You're not honoring God with your money when you give it to an apostate ministry that doesn't believe in the inspiration of the King James Bible. You're not honoring God with your money when you give it to an apostate ministry that teaches a false gospel of Lordship Salvation, worships statues, or doesn't go soul-winning.
It's epidemic in America. Ninety-five percent of all churches in America are a big waste of money. It's tragic how religious people blindly support so many worthless ministries. America's churches are a disgrace. I like what Billy Sunday said early one hundred years ago...
"It would be a godsend if the Church would suffer persecution today; she hasn't suffered it for hundreds of years. She is growing rich and lagging behind. Going back." -Billy Sunday, The Need for Revivals, From "Billy Sunday: The Man and His Message", by William T. Ellis, Philadelphia: John C. Winston Co., 1914
What a statement! I couldn't agree more with Billy Sunday. The problem is much worse today. We don't know what persecution is in America and other free nations. One of my web visitors recently sent me some photos from Sudan in Africa showing Christians being stabbed to death by an angry Muslim mob. One man lying dead on the ground had a machete sticking out of his chest. The churches today in wealthy nations like the United States are blind to reality. Worse, most churches don't care. The U.S. is in trouble.
Sadly, Christians in America are already beginning to lose their freedoms because of the indifference and complacency of its churches. And that is because of its lifeless and spiritually sleeping pastors. Yet, believers continue to support such failing organizations. Why do Christians support bad churches?
A pastor should lead by example, not force. Pastors can quickly become big hypocrites if they're not careful. Most pastors receive quite a bit of gifts, money and fringe benefits throughout the year, that members in the church don't ever get. That said, pastors often live a wealthier lifestyle than their congregation. I think it's deplorable for a professed man of God to drive a new car, eat the best of foods, wear the best of clothes; and yet many of the people supporting him are living on a shoe-string. It's just not right. Such pastors will be held much more accountable by God since so much has been given to them.
If you do tithe, do it for the Lord Jesus Christ and no other reason. Never give a preacher or pastor money simply because they ask for it. Ask the Holy Spirit, "Is this money going to further the kingdom of Heaven? Is this money going to result in lost souls hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ? What type of ministry am I supporting? Is the pastor living extravagantly?" I would NEVER support any ministry like the Salvation Army that doesn't aggressively preach the Gospel to the people whom they are trying to help. It's sweet that the Salvation Army gives hot-chocolate to cold firemen, but it all means nothing if they don't hear the Gospel. I dare you to go to the Salvation Army's official website and show me how to be saved. They are more Army than Salvation. Give your hard-earned money to a soul-winning church!!! A church that does not have a soul-winning ministry is a dead church. The church in the book of Acts was a soul-winning church (Acts 20:20).
Please don't think that I'm discouraging you from tithing, God forbid. I'm simply saying that most of the money given to ministries today is not used wisely or honestly. Too many pastors are living high-on-the-hog, going on trips to the Holy Land, driving a new car every year, golfing with the businessmen in the church rather than soul-winning, and squandering God's money. I'm sick of the hypocrisy.
Financial Hypocrisy in Our Churches
I visited a Baptist church where the missionary guest preacher hounded the congregation for money. The church has about 500 members. He said, “I know this church gives a lot of money; but we need you to give until it hurts for Philippine missions, because the need is very great.” Yet, hypocritically, 2-weeks later the pastor and 20 wealthy members of the congregation went on a trip to the Holy Land, which easily cost them over $100,000. It made me sick, because weeks earlier the pastor and his guest speaker had been laying a heavy financial burden upon the congregation; but then they spent all that money to take a vacation to the Holy Land.
I guess the missionaries didn't need the money so bad after all? That money could have bought A LOT in the Philippines where an American dollar is worth about $40 in pesos. Literally, American money goes 40-times further in the Philippines. You can live like a king on a small income over there.
I'm not against a pastor and his people going to the Holy Land; but then don't pressure the working men and women of the church to give for Philippine missions, laying a heavy burden upon them, making them feel bad for not sacrificially giving. Put your money where your mouth is!
Literally, I knew a Lutheran minister who organized and drove one dozen members of his congregation to SIN CITY Las Vegas. It is an abomination in the sight of God! Why should God bless this wicked nation?
There is More to the Christian Life Than Tithing
From listening to many ministers, you'd think that all it takes to please God is money. Many preachers just quote Proverb 3:9, “Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.” There are 8 verses before Proverb 3:9, which command the Christian believer to keep God's Laws, loving mercy and truth, trust the Lord with all thine heart, fear God and depart from evil.
God's promise to prosper the believer is not just conditional upon tithing. If your pastor doesn't preach against women wearing pants and the evils of Rock 'N' Roll music, then you need to find a different church. There are still some God-fearing Baptist pastors, in Independent Fundamental Baptist Churches, who still teach soul-winning, and preach against sin, who genuinely care about people, and love the truth!
Proverb 3:9 teaches for the believer to “honour” God with what God has given to them. If we are to honor God, then we must support the man of God who honors God, and causes that honor God, and ministries that honor God.
Don't be a fool, give your money to a soul-winning church. We ought to help the poor; but soul-winning is top priority, for what doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world and yet lose his soul in Hell, fire and damnation for eternity? Most ministries today are apostate, teaching humanism, evolution and even atheism. Eighteen percent of the Unitarian Universal Church are professing atheists! Most churches today are not Bible-believing churches. They are false cults. Are you giving your money to such an organization?
How about Benny Hinn, whom many rightfully refer to as “Benny Sin?” Benny Hinn has been exposed publicly as a blatant fraud and liar. Yet, fools give him over $100,000,000 a year. Are you a fool with your money? God is not honored by Benny Hinn and his demonic cult. In one message Hinn preaches a Gospel message, and in the next he praises the Catholic Church and Our Lady of Fatima on The Larry King Show. Hinn is of the Devil. He exploits the Gospel for his own greedy gain. Hinn conforms to whatever he needs to be to get people's money. Don't be a fool. If you don't know where to give, then bless God, start your own ministry to the homeless and needy!
Something that most people won't give God is their time. If you tithe 10% (which is not a Biblical COMMAND; only a guideline), then you've only given God 2% of your time. Ten percent of a 40-hour workweek.
May we all honor the Lord with our time, money and talents.