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Should a tithe go to the church or can it go straight to the Pastor if he is in need?
Thank you for your question about tithing and a Pastor's income.
In the Old Testament, giving to God's work is shown to be an act of worship to God but practically was intended to support the ministry of the Temple and its priests. In the New Testament, worship continues but no equivalent rule was made about how much should be given for supporting the work of the churches, even though giving is presented as a definite Christian duty. The apostle Paul put it like this:
Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written,
“He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever" (2 Corinthians 9:7-9)
Some Christians use the Old Testament law as a guide for how much to give to church work, but it is clear from this passage of the Bible that the final decision is a matter of personal choice as an act of devotion to God.
With regard to giving for the Lord's work directly to a needy Christian worker rather than through a church or Christian organisation such as a mission agency, there are four basic things to bear in mind.
First, Paul mentions giving to the poor, so it is certainly not wrong in principle.
Secondly, however, giving directly to someone can change the nature of the personal relationship between a church member and their pastor or other leader, by introducing a financial element. The leader may find it more difficult to be open and honest when a disagreement or the need to give difficult advice arises. Also, a danger can occasionally arise that Christian leaders might put wrong pressure on people to give them money who don't feel able or willing to do so freely.
The third consideration is very practical. Giving to a charitable organisation like a church or mission society will enable it to reclaim tax if the giver pays tax, thus increasing the value of the gift. Giving to an individual cannot be included in this scheme.
The final point is that, if you don't give to your local church you might be thought to be unsupportive of its work, since there are other costs besides the salary of the pastor and these also need to be met by the members, such as running children's work, sending money to missionaries, or maintaining the church premises.
I would encourage you to speak with your own Church about this issue. There are many different factors that we are unable to comment on further without knowing much more about the situation.
I do hope this general answer to your question goes some way to helping you find peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: www.lookingforGod.com
In closing, I want to encourage you to get more involved with your local church. It would be good to speak to a Christian leader or another trusted church individual regarding your question. I know they would be delighted to further answer you as well as offer prayer and support as you continue your spiritual journey:
Please use our Interactive Answer Matrix and feel free to ask another question. Our helpful staff are praying for you and waiting to try and answer to you from the Bible, and will be delighted to tell you more about Jesus Christ the Lord, the Saviour of the world.
*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise
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