Circa 2015 – 2019
We have come to the final part on this topic about tithing, which I feel is most useful as the Holy Spirit guided me on how to put what I learned into practice with minimum fuss.
The accountant in me tried to figure out how to work out what was written in Deuteronomy 14:22-29 accordingly: e.g. when do I start counting Year 1, 2 and 3? How do I apportion between my family and the Levites? In Year 3, how to allocate to the different classifications of people listed by God? And how do I account for mid and long-term investments? Do I tithe only on realised profits only or on unrealised ones too?
I agonised over how to work it all out efficiently and with minimum fuss.
And got a bit overwhelmed.
The Holy Spirit told me not to be stressed out by technicalities and exact numbers, but to look at God’s heart and His intent; keeping it flexible and manageable, to simply keep in mind those whom the Father cares most about:
Ah, yes, the “KISS” (Keep It Simple, Stupid!) Principle.
That helped. With that in mind, this is what I did:
He did not ask me to give it all out at one go, which would have been easier, so I just leave whatever there is in the account until He directs it.
Later, when my investments got a bit more extensive, I worked out my yearly investment profit and loss, realised and unrealised, based on the calendar year, marking my paper investments to market at the end of the year. I credit 10% of the net earnings to the Kingdom account in January or February when I have all the numbers worked out, and start a new accounting year on a fresh slate.
Then I simplified things even further. Instead of keeping my Kingdom Fund in a separate bank account, I keep a Kingdom ledger using a little notebook, updating it every time there is a debit or credit (contribution or expenditure).
As to where He wants to put His name, the Lord tells me sometimes in dreams and visions, or I check with the Holy Spirit.
Same for who to give to. Because I get easily moved when I see someone in need, V reminds me to be careful to never let anyone become dependent on me. They must always learn that they can depend only on God and not on men. I will never get in the way of God’s will or lessons for them. So, I always have to steady my heart and bravely say “No” when I do not feel led to give. Sometimes I say a prayer for them, sometimes I just let go and entrust them to God.
I also watch against the same spirits of vanity and greed etc. that the Church faced with the resources in our hands. So I do not get into projects that might wear us down or draw attention to COBS or myself. I usually ask God for a good partner who can administer it well or be accountable for the integrity and execution of the project, especially when it is overseas.
I want to spend my primary focus and energy on simply worshipping God and hearing His Voice; not get bogged down by accounting or administrative work, or on wants or needs; mindful that I must be careful not to end up like Judas Iscariot.
I asked the Holy Spirit about giving when I visit a Church service. This is what He told me to do:
I suppose if I finally find a church to call home once again, then maybe God will tell me what to do in terms of a regular offering.
COBS collect no tithes. Everyone keeps and manages his or her own Kingdom Fund. They may choose to contribute a third of their tithe to the COBS City Fund (CCF), which is based on the 3rd year of the tithe in Deuteronomy 14 which goes to the town they live. Contributions to the CCF are not mandatory nor monitored. Every city manages their own CCF independently.
COBS had zero operational overheads when we operated from our workplace. When we later moved into the Prayer Vault, we appointed two caretakers to take care of worship, cleaning and administrative work. CCF pays for the caretakers’ allowance every month and for expenses. It also used to support any Torchbearers in need. We decided to retain the services of the Caretakers after we closed the Vault. The Caretaker in charge of managing the money presents a yearly cash flow statement at the year end retreat for all members present to review and approve.
Post Covid Update: April 2023
I’m so gratified that our CCF has withstood the test of the Covid pandemic from 2019 to 2023. None of our members were in want or need spiritually or materially. And since we could not travel, from our respective kingdom funds and the CCF, the Lord led us to ship masks, disinfectants and gloves from China to several countries when there was a worldwide shortage.
Later on, we helped some of the poorer countries with masks, soap, rice, food, vitamins, gas, phone cards, pigs, cows, chicken, diapers, toys, books, vegetables, seeds, heating, clothing and so on when they found themselves sick or out of work, and their children stuck at home.
We have come to the end of this potentially contentious topic of tithing, which has been so difficult and uncomfortable for me to write about. But I am glad to have done it in obedience to the Lord and I urge you to seek the truth for yourself. Money is really the least of our problems but it can lead to a bad outcome if we are not careful.
For COBS members, this truth they learnt about tithing never fails to bring joy and delight in God, as they enjoy the fruit of their labour with their families, with the poor and needy and with those who are close to their hearts as well as God’s.
My final thought on this issue of tithing is this – if you prefer that the Church manage your tithe or feel led to continue to give it to your church, please continue to do so. I do not regret having done that in all of my church years. To me, all I have given to Church was given to God, willingly and joyfully, better in excess than to be short. Rightfully or wrongfully, the one who asks for and receives it is accountable to God for it.
And if you have other thoughts or discovery about this, do feel free to share. I would love to learn something new.
God bless you.
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