Last post, we talked about why it is necessary for me to go find an actual person when handing in my mother’s tithe. After all, if God is the omnipotent creator God, why would I need to give my money (his money, wink) to a person, let alone travel to an actual building to do it? Those sound much more like the constraints of a human being than a being who is supposedly outside of space and time.
This week, we’re going to talk about working through people. An obvious answer to the question of why God doesn’t just pick up the money himself is that he works through people, or so it has been explained to me. For the time being, we will table a discussion on why the creator of the universe would need or even desire to work through fallible people in the first place, and we’ll just assume that he does.
The Lord works through deeply flawed people, since He made so few of the other kind. – (Timothy B. Tyson, Blood Done Sign My Name)
The problem with the Christian narrative of God working through people is that, according to Christians, people are the worst. In Adventist churches, an 18 million member Christian denomination, it is not at all out of the ordinary to hear prayers that deride people selfish, foolish, and ultimately, worthless. But we can’t blame them too much. Their inspiration comes from the Bible.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (Isaiah 64:6)
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
So, in Christian theology, I’m just as bad as the kiddy-raping Josh Duggar, Pharaoh, and to Godwin myself, Hitler, all just for existing. Is that the truth? Is it true that we are all equally deserving of death as Hitler, not for committing genocide against a people, but simply by dint of existing underneath a magical curse put in place a long time ago (original sin)? You can keep that shit.
And the point of all of this is to come back around to the question of stewardship. Given that many Christians believe that these texts are inspired by God, that means that they believe that God thinks the human heart is desperately wicked. They believe that we are all worthy of death by God’s standards.
And yet, Christians will be the first to make a most concerted effort to make the point that God works through these people. I see no reason why, if these verses are any indication of how God truly feels about his creations, an omniscient, all-powerful being would choose humans to be the stewards of his riches, especially when he is well-aware of their proclivity for corruption. It would seem that instead of finding a person to give tithe to, God might skip the middle man and pick it up himself.
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