Tithing – A Reward In Giving

How does the Church of God support itself? Do the people donate baked goods and spaghetti dinners to sell every month? Is there a periodic rummage sale? The answer to your question, friend, is simply no. Our congregation is self-sufficient in the fact that we follow the doctrine of tithing taught in God’s Word. The word tithe means a tenth part of something paid as voluntary contribution. It is that first part set aside for the Lord, ten percent of the gross income. Tithes and additional offerings are used to offset the church’s financial obligations and to further the cause of the gospel of Christ.

The doctrine of tithing not only blesses the individual for giving but blesses others by meeting their needs. When the offering plate is passed in the    congregation and members willingly give, it enables the Church to give as well. The money is given to help locally with our outreach program and also to missions around the world.

In the book of Genesis, we read that Adam and Eve’s sons gave offerings to the Lord. Cain was a farmer and gave fruit; Abel was a shepherd and gave from his flock. However, only Abel’s offering was accepted because he gave “of the firstlings of his flock” or the choicest lamb. We can suppose that Cain was careless in his offering, bringing spotted or withered fruit. Yes, it was an offering but it was not worthy to give back to God. God will only accept our very best. “Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase.” (Proverbs 3:9)

One may think, “There’s no way I can afford to give, I’m already living tight financially.” Bills may be large, but if an individual will give to God first, they will personally experience their needs being met. So many in our congregation will testify to the blessings they have found by giving of their tithes when it seemed they could not afford it. The Lord not only helped them with their monetary needs, but blessed them with so many other intangible benefits – such as peace that passes understanding, unspeakable joy and abiding hope.

There is a promise or reward for obeying this   doctrine. “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” (Malachi 3:10)

When the Lord sends blessings, He does it in a large way! The result is like David says in Psalms 23, “… my cup runneth over.” Consider how faithful the Almighty  Creator is to mere mortals every day, His faithfulness is great and His mercy is everlasting. The tithe that we give hardly scratches the surface of all that we owe to the Lord! That is why we cheerfully give back to Him. We’ve proved God is true to his word. Tithe, and He in turn will bless abundantly in both temporal and spiritual ways.

by J Shick

Unity Through Christ

The Church of God at Connoquenessing is made up of many members. We attend services and take part in many activities together. However, we are not “cookie cutter” people. We have come from very different walks of life and have a variety of interests and opinions. Yet, the beautiful part is that there is perfect unity between us. Unity is more than going to the same church or acknowledging a love for Jesus. This sacred oneness with Christ is only possible through the full plan of redemption.

One cannot be unified without first being holy. The divine power of Salvation and Sanctification, the two works of grace taught in the Bible, are the bond that joins us together. It makes worship and service to God more than a ritual as it joins members together into the  family of God. A person’s personality, race or gender makes no difference– for it is salvation that makes an individual a member in God’s church. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)

An onlooker might assume the combination of so many variables would lead to chaos within the pew, but that is not the case. There is no debate over what we should or should not  believe each year, for we share the same beliefs. The ebb and flow of society’s morals do not cause rifts in the congregation for we are fixed upon one faith. Our doctrine is forever settled for it is founded upon the unchanging Word of God. “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6)

Unity causes us to work together for the cause of Christ. We are not pulling in multiple directions or in competition with one  another but rather combine our efforts for one purpose: the gospel of Jesus Christ. Unity through Christ gives us a genuine love one for one another. When one person suffers or goes through difficulties, they are faithfully carried to God through our prayers. On the other hand, when one member rejoices, we also share in their joy.

Each member contributes to the service of God in different   capacities. Some sing in the choir, some are prayer warriors, some are teachers and some take care of the church property. One is not more important than another, nor is one less useful than another. The Bible compares the family of God to the   physical body in I Corinthians 12:17-18 “If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.” Each person is valuable to the work and success of the congregation.

Consider the job of a songwriter who brings multiple elements together to produce beautiful music. If we only heard one part it may not sound like much at all, yet the end result is a lovely  harmony. This is a wonderful parallel to the Church of God. We are many members blended together to glorify God! Our children’s choir sings this chorus describing the beauty of unity – “Living in harmony, part of God’s family, singing a melody of praise to the Lord. Traveling this narrow road, helping to bear the load, ‘til we are safely home in heaven’s reward.”

By J Shick