Christians who don’t tithe risk God’s curse, according to Southern Baptist Convention leader Bob Rodgers.
Rodgers, the SBC Executive Committee’s vice president for Cooperative Program and Stewardship, said in Raleigh March 12 that those people might as well walk around with a sign on their back saying, “God, take your best shot.”
Rodgers was speaking to a group of ministers at the Raleigh Baptist Association building.
The gathering was one of five around the state sponsored by Crown Financial Ministries, the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).
The meetings were part of the “It’s a New Day” stewardship emphasis by Crown and the SBC.
Rodgers pointed to a passage in Malachi 3 where God says He doesn’t change, then tells the people they are robbing Him by not tithing.
The people who keep tithes are cursed, he said.
God “will absolutely mess with your finances,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers used a basket of 10 apples to illustrate the resources God gives Christians to manage.
One of the apples should be given back to God, he said.
Those who even “nibble” on God’s apple are cursed.
“God’s going to test us until we learn that lesson,” Rodgers said.
The parable of the talents in Matthew 25 teaches that God intentionally gives people what they have, Rodgers said.
“Christians as a rule get very uncomfortable with this,” he said. “What we want is not what we have, but what somebody else has.”
Rodgers said he believes baptisms are down in the SBC because bondage to debt is keeping church members from witnessing.
“We as a Southern Baptist Convention have not done a lot to deal with this issue,” he said.
“That’s why we put this (It’s a New Day) program together.”
The program is not about raising money, but about freeing Christians from the financial bondage that separates them from a right relationship with God, Rodgers said.
Baptist churches can use a financial seminar available through the program to help and reach even people who would not come to a Baptist church, Rodgers said.
“They’re hurting so much they don’t care,” he said.
Symptoms of Christians using God’s tithe can be seen in consumer debt that has increased 82 percent in the last eight years in the United States, according to Rodgers. The number of Visa and MasterCard accounts in the country now number more than 1 billion, a number equal to three for every man, woman, child and illegal alien, he said.
At least before the recession hit, the average American spends $1.26 for every $1 they earn, Rodgers said. He told of a man he knew who couldn’t pay for all his debt even though he was making more than $100,000 a month.
Rodgers quoted Christian financial expert Dave Ramsey as saying that 70 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.
“The folks sitting in that pew looking back at you with that glassy-eyed look are hurting,” Rodgers told the pastors.