Why muzzle the ox?

Paul did not hide his displeasure at those who questioned his authority as an apostle. He expressed this in his first epistle to the church at Corinth.

7 What soldier has to pay his own expenses? What farmer plants a vineyard and doesn’t have the right to eat some of its fruit? What shepherd cares for a flock of sheep and isn’t allowed to drink some of the milk? 8 Am I expressing merely a human opinion, or does the law say the same thing? 9 For the Law of Moses says, “You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain.” Was God thinking only about oxen when he said this? 10 Wasn’t he actually speaking to us? Yes, it was written for us, so that the one who plows and the one who threshes the grain might both expect a share of the harvest. 1 Cor 9

He touched on something very important: the investor should partake off his investments. Which was taken from God’s Old Testament command to the children of Israel: they were not to muzzle the ox that treads the corn. Paul showed that this could also apply to us.

How often do we hear that God must get first pick from our wages in the form of tithes and/or firstfruits even before we have met our necessary financial obligations like feeding, clothing, shelter etc? Wouldn’t that be akin to muzzling the ox? Of a truth God owns a 100% of what we earn anyway but does that mean we do not have to spend anything on ourselves?

The commonly held belief about stewardship with finances is giving towards God’s work, with many preachers inventing their own definition of God’s work. What indeed is God’s work? Big church buildings? Paying for luxury cars for preachers? Paying for their air time (“partnership”)? Is that really God’s work? Does that show good stewardship of God’s money?

Is there really any sense behind paying someone else’s bills while yours goes unpaid under the guise of funding God’s work? The ox has to eat from the corn it treads! When it eats from it, it happily treads the corn because it knows there is a reward for its labour. It is the same thing with those of us who earn wages; we should be able to take care of our needs through the wages we receive. With careful planning and proper budgeting, one would be able to meet one’s needs and still have something to give to someone in need.

I must admit that some Christians do not help themselves in this situation either.They continue to sink themselves deeper and deeper into debt till they become bankrupt. They buy cars they can ill afford, live in homes they cannot pay for and even borrow money from their credit cards to tithe and give offerings. They live well above their means and secretly struggle under the weight of crippling debts but try to make others believe God is blessing them in all manner of ways. That is till their home and luxury car is repossessed. How we are destroyed for lack of knowledge!

I once read about a very popular Christian sportsman who was behind in his child support payments, had the threat of foreclosure hanging over his head and still believed that tithing was something he should do. How in God’s name does he think the Lord would be please at someone who neglects the needs of his immediate family under the guise of funding God’s work? Besides if he wanted to tithe so bad, why did he not get a smaller house and free up more cash to tithe as well as meet the needs of his immediate family? Sad isn’t it!

Take care of your needs and that of your family first! With proper budgeting you can have enough left to “fund” (like God needs our money anyway) the gospel without going bankrupt. Think about it!


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. P. W. Dunn
    Jan 31, 2011 @ 16:14:19

    Hi. I make a similar point on my blog: http://righteousinvestor.com/2011/01/29/what-is-counter-cultural-charismatic-givinga-response-to-poser-or-prophet/

    The difference is my adversary is a marxist anarachist “Christian” who expects people to give everything beyond the bare bones essentials that they need to survive.


    • eliteinchrist
      Feb 01, 2011 @ 09:43:34

      Hi, funny enough a lot of preachers take this approach as well so as to ensure their coffers remain full. It’s unfortunate that they want to drive people to poverty. May the good Lord help us.


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