Is that wrong?
I say probably because, let’s be real, it wasn’t specifically mentioned in the Bible. When Jesus told the story of the old widow and the mite, he didn’t say, “And do you know what is most pleasing about her heart? She had a chance to tithe with her debit card, which would have allowed her to earn airline miles and magazine subscriptions and espresso machines, and she didn’t. That is how you should give. Amen.”
But that’s where we are right now. Some churches have debit machines in the lobby where you can use your debit card to tithe. And I have nothing against that. It’s about the heart, not a basket or a bucket.
What you give to God in the pew can be just as meaningful as what you give to God in the lobby. But the offering bucket won’t get you one-step closer to an airline ticket to Destin, Florida or a two night stay at Disney World. So if your debit card does offer points back to you every time you use it, what should you do with those holy points?
Is this a “give to Disney what is Disney’s” moment, kind of like “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s”? Go ahead and enjoy the fruits of your first fruits? Or should you donate to the church the Eddie Bauer fleece pullover your tithe earned you? Maybe that’s the ticket? Just a sea of pastors across the country wearing free Haggar slacks they were given via debit cards? Is that what you want, a wave of pleated pants washing over the entire evangelical community? Wrinkle resistant khaki after wrinkle resistant khaki cascading throughout the land?
Those are our two options. You give with a gracious heart but secretly know you’re getting a free subscription to Shape magazine, or you make every pastor in the country wear Haggar pants.
It’s a pickle. It’s a real pickle.
I didn’t have a great answer for my friend Adam Short when he brought this dilemma to me.
What do you think about the whole situation?
Is it wrong to tithe with a debit card you earn points on?