The Covid pandemic has caused havoc around the globe, and sadly Americans are not immune to the horrible impact of the virus as it continues to mutate and spread worldwide.
But unlike countless people who live in less fortunate countries, tax paying US citizens, foreign workers and permanent residents have been receiving stimulus checks from the US Department Of Treasury. Call it a “pay back” of sorts since the government doesn’t really have or make any money, instead it’s essentially giving back money that was paid in taxes in the past.
These checks are either sent by mail or deposited directly in bank accounts, when such accounts are on file with the Internal Revenue Service from a previously filed tax return.
The amount paid out to individuals has varied from USD $600 per child or dependant, to $1,200 per adult and more recently, a whopping $1,400 per person within each household including adults and dependants.
For example, a US family with three kids received a payout of $7,000 to help make lock downs and country wide restrictions more tolerable.
Many christians ask: “Should we tithe on this government handout?”
To better answer that question, let’s first examine what “tithe” actually means, and to find out more about biblical giving, we’re going to glean from the Gospel of the apostle Mark.
“41 Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much.” (Mark 12:41)
The “treasury” was located in the Temple and consisted of 13 trumpet-shaped receptacles that were fastened along the walls. More specifically, the tithe receptacles were found in the Court of the Women, a public place where offering and donations were placed. The Court of the Women was not reserved for women, rather it was called such because women could not go beyond it.
So both men and women were invited to give back to God through receptacles in the Temple, and that’s where Jesus was sitting when a widow arrived.
“42 Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans.” (Mark 12:42)
A “mite” was a small copper coin and the smallest Jewish denomination used in those days, worth about 1/8 of a US penny. Quadrans were simply the Roman equivalent.
To the widow, the two mites were a very significant portion of the money she had earned. Jesus tells us the two mites were all she had to give. When you have very little to give, giving a little bit means a lot…
“43 So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”” (Mark 12:43-44)
Jesus used the widow’s sacrifice as a learning opportunity for His disciples, and His lesson was one of generosity and trust. Generous, because we are called to give back to God one tenth of our harvest, that’s ten percent of our take home earnings or $10 for every $100 earned. The widow was generous in giving all she had, not only one tenth.
As for trust, the widow did trust in God to such an extent, she gave all the money she had knowing He would provide through His children.
In this passage of Mark’s Gospel, Jesus teaches us about generosity, in giving more than we are called to to, and trust when we give to such an extent that it becomes sacrificial, it actually costs us something.
With this in mind, the big question when it comes to Covid 19 stimulus checks remains, should you tithe on government handouts like this one?
Technically (and biblically) since it’s actually a tax refund, believers are not expected to give 10% back to God since they already paid their tithe on the revenue earned, as well as taxes to run the country and in this case, to help its citizens get through rough times.
What About Generosity?
Sadly, Americans are on the record for being a greedy breed of believers as less than 2.5% of US Christians actually give 10% of their income back to God. This translates into a ridiculously low number considering how wealthy many christians are, and factoring in the great needs and widespread poverty in America.
Since stimulus payments are more refunds than income, it’s estimated that less than 1 in 3 believers will tithe 10% of their stimulus checks to their local fellowship.
What’s your plan?
Even though you don’t “have to tithe on a tax refund,” what will you do with your stimulus payout?
More importantly, when you hear this question thrown around, what’s your answer: Who’s money is it anyway?
Every time I hear that question or visit it in my own mind, somehow I always come to the same conclusion. All of it is His.
Are you struggling to make sense of tithe and the meaning of it all? I invite you to click HERE to reach out to me so we can get together in a virtual meeting and further discuss faithful giving, biblical tithe and more importantly, how to build trust in God and His Son Jesus, the resurrected Savior. Let’s pray…
We thank you for your presence in our lives
We praise you Lord for the wisdom found through Mark’s Gospel
And we ask you Lord to help us surrender to your perfect plan.
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through the truth, the Word, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by the truth as we spread the good news to one and all
And lead the lost to You.
God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and our place with you in Heaven
According to your ways, your everlasting wisdom and strength. May your will be done, here on Earth and through the vast Universe,
May our hearts be filled with your everlasting love and grace.
Praises to You God, Amen!
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre