William Wilberforce (1759-1833,) Jane Austen (1775-1817) and John Wesley's life spans overlapped. Each was a sharp observer and has described the culture and practices of that era. In those 18th and 19th Centuries, clergymen depended on patronage. Clergymen would have had the use of a house or holding on some estate. To provide his living, each preacher was responsible for collecting his own tithes. Preachers would make the rounds personally and visit the members of their congregation to collect their portion. This practice was offensive, unpopular and a breeding ground for abuse. Although the process itself was changed many times over the centuries, financial dealings remained a nightmare for most clergy. No wonder John Wesley proclaimed grace-giving.
Given that legacy, it's also no wonder many Pastors today are reluctant to preach and teach tithing and finance. Pastors need to care for their flock. Contemporary Pastors/Shepherds require a huge amount of time to prayerfully nurture and care for the souls God sends them. It's an enormous and expensive responsibility. When Christians withhold tithes, or their grace offerings are a tad short in grace, a crushing burden is placed on the shoulders of their Pastors. Too many of our Pastors are then obligated to act as accountants, finance ministers or CFO's. That's to our shame, Church!
In the original languages, the word 'bring' of Mal.3.10, translates as "cause to come in." On-line giving, kiosks and other automatic delivery systems for transfer of funds to the local church are easy, convenient and totally scriptural. What's preventing you from implementing your tithing covenant?
Until next time.
Love in Christ.