Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. – 1 Corinthians 15:58
Such a great verse admonishing stick close to God! But do we always read the first half of the last sentence? “Always GIVE yourselves fully to the WORK of the Lord…”
Now we get to a personal pet peeve of this author. Just a few hundred years ago, someone decided we need chapters and verses. This particular chapter division creates a much larger gap in the text than necessary and even enhances our ability to overlook the giving of ourselves and the work we are instructed to do. Verse 58 is a transition verse, but it also has to do with the beginning of Chapter 16 just as it is related to the preceding verses. In a large percentage of English Bibles, the first word in chapter 16 is the word “now”. In the original language, this transition word can be adversative or continuative. It seems to this writer that the context demands a continuation of thought, not a diverging thought. Paul seems to be describing a work that the Corinthians should be doing.
It sure sounds as if Paul is saying to give to the church regularly based on your income. Never once does the New Testament say to give 10%. The tithe comes from the Old Testament law and when studied in total, the requirement is closer to 30% than the 10% fallacy held by so many Christians today. But lets use that 10% number and apply it to today’s income. This author resides in Roanoke, Virginia. According to https://www.salaryexpert.com/,the average annual salary in Roanoke is over $50,000 per year. In most homes, there are two incomes. For this example, let’s pretend the primary bread winner earns the 50k and the other person earns a small part time salary of just $10,000 per year. Based on the American concept of tithing and free will offerings, this household should be giving at a minimum $6,000 per year to their church. If there are 10 average couples in this church, the church’s annual minimum budget should be $60,0000. If there are 50 homes, the church minimum budget should be $300,000. If there are 100 homes, the church minimum budget should be $600,000*. The challenge to individuals is to look at their tax statement from their church and see what percentage of your income is going to the church. (At this writing, we are less than a week from TAX DAY.) The New Testament actually emphasizes faith giving instead of tithing. Here is the big question: “How much faith does it take to give $10.00 out of $100.00?” The encouragement to the churches is to look at their tithes and offerings and see where your members stand as a whole. Not to dictate to any particular family how much they should give, but to encourage the congregation as a whole for their faithfulness or for their need of more faithfulness. Which ever the case may be. Just think if the largest church above had faith and gave 20% instead of the 10%. The church budget now becomes $1,200,000! And remember back, this money Paul was talking about was going to meet needs, not to build buildings and especially not to Paul himself.
*The above numbers are only representative and do not take into account any free will offering or special offerings that are regularly given in most churches.