The Tonawanda Indian Reservation is in upstate New York. It is about 45 minutes from Niagara Falls. I lived there for a year on the reservation working with Seneca Indian children. It really was an amazing experience! Our reservation was unique in that it had a long house where Medicine men still practiced their magic and healing. The little Baptist church I worked at was older than our country. Originally, it met in a log cabin during the days of George Washington. We had a bi-vocational pastor and me. I was paid $75.00 a month by an old farmer.
The reason the church has been able to remain viable in a pagan environment is because the people tithed. I think they had 69 people in church this past Sunday.
We are blessed in our church with kids who have been called to the ministry. It is exciting! I wonder what church ministry will look like in 10 to 20 years. We are encouraging our young men and women to get trained in a career so they can support themselves. If the current trend of giving continues in our churches, it will be sad to think that our future ministers will have the challenge of ministering full time with only minimal income.
Eastern Hills is still healthy but we are feeling the pressure to cut back. Our senior adults have always sacrificially given. Their parents were also sacrificial givers. It is why the churches in America were able to survive during the Great Depression.
Malachi 3:10 is the only place in the Bible where God says, “I dare you” or “Try it, you’ll like it” He says, “Bring the tithe into the storehouse, so there may be meat in my house. Test me in this”, says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room to store it.”
Our generation is going to have to step up. We are going to have to take the baton and sacrificially give if the future of the CHURCH is to carry on.
I had a pastor whose daughter once asked, “Daddy, how come we don’t get a new car like all of my friends?” His response was, “Because we do not drive our tithe around town.” That’s kind of harsh, but it is a reality in churches across this country. We are willing to sacrifice for our wants but we are not willing to sacrifice for the kingdom of God.
We need to teach this younger generation the importance of giving and that we cannot out give God. He promises that He will bless our giving.
My question to all of us is, “Are we giving to the kingdom of God as if our gift was what it will take to keep an active church for our kids and future generations?”
“Try it, you’ll like it.” – God-