First, the best source for your
questions will be the leaflet To Whom Should You Give Your Tithe?...
This will answer most of your questions
in regard to giving to "churches", ministries, or other "religious" type
organizations and individuals.
Over the years there has been much
discussion, debate, and disagreement about the whole tithing issue. Some
groups claim that there are 3 tithes that we are to give. 1) The
well-known 10% tithe to God (or, as they like to say, to the "church").
2. 10% that is to be put away to be used for the Feast of the
Tabernacles. [And other festivals.] 3. Another 10% that is to be given
for orphans and widows (i.e. ‘charity’) that is also given to the
"church". I believe that the latter is to be done every 3 years, but I
am not sure on that.
When I first came into contact with MM,
I had been involved with a group that "pushed" the above method of
tithing. Even though I had separated myself from this group, I still
believed that this method was to be followed rigidly. I sent an e-mail
to Malcolm about it, and listed (just as you did) a number of charities
I wanted to give to in order to satisfy number 3 above, and to try and
give to the poor as I believed we should.
What Malcolm told me surprised me. I
have also learned that many of the "churches" abuse the tithes that are
paid to them. The church I was involved with was a prime example. The
money that was intended for the poor, widows and orphans rarely got to
these type of people. The "ministers" lived high-on-hog while many
church members were struggling to make the 3 tithes and additional
"contributions" that the church requested / required of the members.
What I am about to say may not appeal to
you, but I must be honest.
I cannot recommend giving money to any
charity. That may come as a surprise to you. Let me try to explain.
There are many good charities that do really good work. So why would I
not recommend giving money to a charity? There are a number of reasons.
First, a charity is an "organization" of
this world. No matter how good or bad it may be, it is a man-made
organization. That in itself says that there are many, many problems
with even the best of them.
Now I ask a simple question. Are you
"of" this world? Is any Christian supposed to be "of" this world? The
answer should be "no". We are not of this world. Our true home lies
elsewhere. We are "in" the world, but we are not "of" it.
Two distinct things. Supporting a
worldly organization is not what we Christians should do. Granted, many
of them do many good things for people, but then they very often create
more problems or add to existing problems. People get to where they
become dependent on charities. They look to charities for help. People
therefore look to man for their needs.
Now I ask you, who or what are we to be
dependent on, and who are we to look to for help? The answer should be
obvious. We are to look to God.
Now, many charities operate under the
guise of religion, and claim that they lead people to God with their
charitable work. Well, some of them do, to an extent. But they are still
run by men, for men, and most of what they promote is not unlike the
churches of this world. We can never be sure of what we are giving our
money to. History itself is proof enough of this.
The same logic can be used for giving
money directly to the poor. Say you run into someone on the street who
approaches you for money. They explain the hardships they have gone
through, the problems they have, and ask you to give them a little money
to help them out. Being a compassionate person, and a Christian, you
might think that giving them money is what God wants you to do. But is
it really? By simply giving them the money they ask for, you are in
essence teaching them to continue to look to man to solve their
problems. Little do they realize that their primary problem is SPIRITUAL
and NOT physical. By giving them money though, you are helping them
physically, but you are actually harming them spiritually.
Now I realize that may sound cruel, and
it may even sound un-Christian and against principles that Jesus taught.
I thought the same thing when Malcolm tried explaining it to me.
However, after I prayed over it (for a long time!), God showed me that
he was right. I have also had some firsthand experiences like Malcolm to
back it up. Malcolm receives countless "begging" letters from some very,
very, poor and destitute people in Africa. The conditions in that part
of the world are worse than we can imagine. However, Malcolm rarely
sends money to anyone there, and never sends money in response to a
"begging" letter. Why? For the very reasons I stated above. What he does
do is point them to God and tells them to turn to Him for support and He
WILL provide. Malcolm provides them with spiritual food that will
provide much more in the long run, and will last for eternity, if they
We also "practice what we preach",
so-to-speak. Malcolm does not ask for money from anyone to help him in
his ministry. I have resolved myself to do the same thing. God has
provided for Malcolm for over 20 years, and He has been helping us the
short time we have been in His service.
OK, having said all of that, I will now
say something that may sound contradictory. I just recently sent a box
of food to a young woman living in another state. She has 2 children (11
months, and 5 years), a dirtbag of a live-in boyfriend (unemployed,
irresponsible, selfish, uncaring, and demonically influenced), no money,
no food, electricity cut off, and faces eviction from her trailer.
Pretty sad case, huh?
So, why did I send her a big box of
food? Many reasons really, but all had to do with being moved by God.
How did I know the difference? Well, I just did. There is hope for this
woman, and I do not mean with her problems in the physical (though that
is there too). She requested some literature from us recently through a
lady that we have known for quite some time. I have also talked to her
on the phone, and she is seeking God, and she is open to the new truths
that are being presented to her. She is hungry!! Yes, she is hungry
physically (she has been slowly starving), but she is also hungry
spiritually. She also did not ask me for a thing (except the
literature). She just wanted someone to talk to, and she wanted the
literature. God brought this young woman into contact with us for a
purpose, and He also moved me to send her the food to feed her and her
children. I gave her some pretty hard advice on the telephone, and
really expected her to reject it, or to try to rationalize her way out
of it. She actually surprised me, and she is progressing.
Do you see the difference?
God has also moved me NOT to send money
and / or help to someone. One case in particular may surprise you
because the person was a true Christian, and was in desperate need of
help. I initially wanted to help, but was told by Malcolm that this was
not what God wanted. God verified that to me through 2 other sources.
Mila was one of them, and the other source was God Himself.
Now, this person (a woman) did not ask
me for the help, but was desperate, and would have accepted anything I
would have done and was hoping that someone would help. God wanted her
to rely on Him, and that is what she needed. I talked with her on the
phone, and told her to look to God, that He would deliver her. I prayed
for her, and she prayed as well.
Over the course of the next few days
some really amazing things happened. God fixed her problems, and much
better than the token spot of cash I was going to send her. It was also
a trial and lesson for me, though I did not know that initially.
We are to help our fellow Christians,
but as God directs, not as WE think. It's a hard lesson to
We are also to help those who are not
Christians, but then again, as God directs. We must be cautious and
discerning. Our own emotions and feelings can blur our spiritual vision.
We must pray and look to Him. We can look for confirmation, as I did in
the story above.
Another way to look at this: Giving
money / help should be done the same way healing is done. You cannot go
into a hospital and clear the place out of sick people. The same goes
for helping those in need. You heal those to whom God directs you, and
you help those to whom God directs you.
Throwing money at a problem is rarely
the best way to solve things. Look at how our own government proves this
every single day!! Very often, a few well chosen inspired words can
solve the most impossible looking problems. I have witnessed this
One other thing I will say about all of
this. We have to caution ourselves against one other, more serious
thing. This may surprise you, but it is pride. Yes, pride.
Many times people give, without
realizing it, for the wrong motive. Or, when they do give with the right
motive, they feel good about themselves, and that soon becomes the
motive for further giving. I have experienced this myself in the past.
It is an easy trap to fall into, and we must guard ourselves against it.
We can fall into this even when doing God's will, so be careful.
Each time you are moved to give by the
Lord, afterward, give thanks to Him for using you to do His will. Give
the glory to Him, and pray to Him to keep your pride in check. It is
easier to fall for this than you might think.
...I went through this very thing myself
2-3 years ago. So, if you have any questions or concerns, please let me
know and I will do my best to answer them.