Q. RE: Giving To Those Without Need. I was interested to note that you didn’t comment on the lifestyles of the pastors the writer referenced. It would seem in this time when there is real need in missionary programs and others that pastors who live like this make a mockery of the teachings of Jesus concerning shepherding, stewardship, and sacrifice. How did we ever get to the point where people believe that the fact that our Savior spent His ministry homeless and penniless is a badge of shame to us?
A. The person’s question was about tithing, not the lifestyle of his pastors. But since you’ve brought it up, there’s nothing in the Bible to prevent pastors from living well, but it does condemn everyone who prioritizes material possessions ahead of generous giving to the needy (Matt. 6:19). If the pastors in question set an example of generous giving as an expression of their gratitude to the Lord, and encourage their congregation to do likewise, then there’s nothing wrong with living well themselves. But even then, common sense says their lifestyle should approximate that of their parishioners, otherwise they might provoke the kind of jealousy or resentment that could inhibit a spirit of generosity among those upon whose giving they are dependent.