When I attended seminary, chapel services were held every day. I didn’t always go, but there were certain ones I would never miss.
One of the “must-attend” ones was the annual chapel service conducted by my church history professor. He always delivered a memorable homily. Each one was well crafted, and you could tell he probably spent the entire year molding it just the way he wanted it.
He had an extremely dry sense of humor and his delivery was impeccable. I really enjoyed sitting in for his classroom lectures. His chapels, however, were special.
“The most sensitive nerve in the human body…”
During one of his homilies, he delivered a line I’ll never forget. He said, “The most sensitive nerve in the human body is connected to the wallet.” I wish I had come up with that one. Regardless, I’ve still used it many times over the years.
Money and the church is always a difficult subject. It’s difficult to preach on, and it’s difficult to discuss. That “nerve” is quite raw, and people don’t want to deal with it.
I find it interesting how people (who are quite willing to rationally discuss almost anything else) hit the ceiling when the subject of tithing is broached. They immediately see red (or green) when it’s suggested as a Biblical norm.
I remember a young lady coming to me after a service one day. She was a visitor, and she wanted to ask if I would be the officiant at her wedding ceremony. When I sat down to speak with her, she told me she was Roman Catholic. I asked why she didn’t want to get married in her own place of worship. Her answer really took me by surprise.
She almost shouted back saying, “They want us to contribute ten percent of our income!” I didn’t have the heart to tell her that was oft considered the standard. It didn’t seem like the right time to foist that one on her.
“I tithe! I just don’t give ten percent!”
I have a pastor friend whose financial secretary was not a particularly good giver. When my friend suggested that financial secretaries (of all people) should be tithers, he was given this reply. “I tithe! I just don’t give ten percent!” [And just in case you were never made aware, the word “tithe” actually means ten percent.]
I’m well aware that we can’t buy our way into Heaven. We can’t give enough to earn our ticket to the Promised Land. Even if we could, I suspect the price would be way too high for most of us.
I’m not trying to get you to tithe.
I’m also aware that the concept of tithing is quite legalistic. But when donating money, it always seemed like a good place to start (or at least a good goal to work towards). Consequently, I’ve always been a tither. If you start out doing that, it’s not so hard to continue.
The point of this is not to get you to tithe. I don’t care how much you give. However, you may want to rub some salve on that nerve.