Pastor Smith asked to speak privately with me during the lunch break during a recent Church Management and Tax Seminar. Once all of the class left the room for lunch he began to tell me a story I have heard often in the 46 years of teaching these seminars. He confessed that his Church was committing serious violations, and needed our help but his Church of 20 years was a small congregation and could not afford the funds to retain us. It was then I told him that which he probably did not want to hear.
I began to share with him the parable of the talents in the 25th Chapter of Matthew. The Master did not give each of the three stewards the same amount—He gave to them based upon their proven ability of what they could handle and manage. I then told Pastor Smith that God probably would not allow him to get any larger because he had a proven track record of mismanaging that which God had sent him—i.e. his Church in financial disorder and serious IRS violations. I then asked him to justify why God should give him more people and more money. His words were, “If God would grow my Church numerically and financially I would get our Church in order.” Unfortunately, for him, God doesn’t operate that way. The principle is the same as that of tithing. Many people use an excuse that they cannot afford to tithe, but want the Pastor to pray they will win the Lottery, and if they do, they will give the Church a big tithe check. That doesn’t happen. If someone can’t give God $20 on a $200 paycheck they wouldn’t give tithe ten million dollars if they won a hundred million.