Relections by Jeremy Alger

When I talk or write about issues that are pretty personal for people I like to use the phrase “getting in your kitchen.” Today I’m not going to stop in your kitchen. I want to talk about something that is going to get all the way into your wallet!
As the pastor of a church I know all too well how many people do and don’t regularly give to the church. A national survey I read recently said that only five percent of Americans tithe to a church or religious organization. Tithe is an old word that means tenth. The verb tithe means to give one tenth of what you have to the Lord through the church.
I don’t desire to get into a debate about the numbers of that issue. Let me simply say that if you read and consider the whole of scripture you will see that God desires for His people to faithfully give to the church. In my view there is simply no justification for any other Christian viewpoint.
The numbers say that Christians in America are giving about 2.5% of their income to the church. During the great depression Christians gave 3.3% of their income for comparison.
The thing that got me thinking about this topic today is the multiple stimulus checks that many of us received and likely are going to receive in the future. I wonder how many people gave a tithe of those checks to their church.
I want to acknowledge that the stimulus money was intended to help people in financial constraints. If every penny of those checks went to fulfill financial responsibilities that the pandemic has created then please know that I am glad that you had those resources to meet your needs, and I wish you the absolute best going forward.
What I am wondering is did people have the notion at all to tithe from that money. For some I’m sure the thought never crossed their minds because it wasn’t money that they had earned or was paid by their employer. I believe that some people view giving (tithing specifically) as a result of our work.
As I imagined a conversation between a person and God I could see God asking “why didn’t you tithe this?” and the person responding that the money was from the Government. The implication is that it was not from God.
1st Chronicles 16:11 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from God.” We grossly underestimate how God blesses us. Every day is filled with blessings of protection and provision that we take for granted. We Americans are so richly blessed. I fear that we (myself included) may have become a bit like spoiled children.
So, pastor, I know why you’ve written this: you want my money!
Well, that would be fine. Surely it would. But I want you to have your eyes opened to see the depth of God’s blessings for you. I want you to grow in understanding that even your bank account fails to offer you the security that comes from knowing and faithfully following God with your life.
I believe that.
Jeremy Alger is the pastor of the New Cumberland Church of the Nazarene. For more information please visit