Ask Your Preacher
My question is this: if my husband is the sole moneymaker in our household but is not yet reborn of Christ, how do I know what I am to give to my church? Say he brings home $2,500.00 gross per month. He is not agreeing with me to tithe 10%.
Dear Money Matters,
You aren’t accountable for giving what you don’t have control over. In 2 Cor 8:12, the apostle Paul explains that we are only held accountable for what we have power over. Your husband is the head of your household (Eph 5:23), and since he is an unbeliever, he isn’t going to have the same priorities as you. Do your best to talk through this issue with him, but take comfort that the Lord isn’t upset if you end up giving less than you wish you could.
Does God get sad if you don't pray some nights and just go to sleep because you’re tired?
That is a tricky question because the Bible never tells us exactly when we must pray. For example, the Bible never says, “You must pray at bedtime.” We have examples of people praying at all sorts of different times. The principle is that we should have a habit of praying (1 Thess 5:17). Dan 6:10 talks about Daniel having the custom of praying to God three times a day. It isn’t about one prayer missed or made; it is about building a lifestyle of prayer.
1 Corinthians 14:34-35: I do not understand what this means.
Paul says that women are to keep silent in the church assembly … it is the public teaching done in the church assembly that is being dealt with in 1 Cor 14:34-35. Women are not supposed to serve as public teachers in the worship service because men have the responsibility to lead the church in public teaching. Elders (Tit 1:5-6), deacons (1 Tim 3:12), and preachers (2 Tim 2:2) are all required to be men. 1 Tim 2:12 specifically prohibits Christian women from teaching Christian men in a congregational forum.
However, just because women don’t lead in the public assembly, that doesn’t mean they just take up pew space! The Bible is chock-full of examples of active and vibrant godly women. Lydia was a Christian who took Paul and gave him lodging, food, and financial support (Acts 16:14-15). Priscilla and Aquila were a married couple that taught the gospel to Apollos (Acts 18:24-26). That same Apollos went on to become a mighty preacher… something that would have never happened without Priscilla. John Mark’s mother opened her home for a prayer meeting that saved Peter’s life (Acts 12:11-12). Older women are supposed to be teachers and train the younger women to be faithful wives and mothers (Tit 2:3-5). Younger women have the immensely important task of raising godly children… the next generation of Christians (Tit 2:4). Women have children’s classes to teach, women’s classes to teach, hospitality to provide, others to encourage, and evangelism to do. On top of all those very important and pivotal duties within the church, during the worship services, women have the task of singing and praising God (just like the men – Col 3:16) and joining in the public prayer… just because one man leads the prayer doesn’t mean we aren’t all praying together. When the church assembles, we all are worshipping God, edifying each other, and studying His Word (Heb 10:24-25).
We have been without a preacher for sometime now. One preacher who recently tried out at our church has gained the interest of our elders, but I have some concerns about his ability to lead. He has six grown children, and only one is a faithful Christian. The church he was at previously is losing members. He is very knowledgeable about the Bible, but is that the only requirement? I have voiced my concerns with the elders, but they say it's their duty to shepherd, and as long as he preaches the truth, I shouldn't be concerned. What should I do?
You’ve already done what you ought to do. You had concerns about this man, and they sound like legitimate concerns, and you voiced them. Choosing a preacher is both a doctrinal issue and a wisdom issue. It sounds like the man is faithful and preaches the truth – that is the doctrinal element (2 Tim 4:1-5). The wisdom part comes down to the other things that make up a preacher – personality, preaching style, experience, etc.
The elders of a congregation are specifically appointed to handle issues of wisdom. They need to know how to manage people and assess these sorts of nuanced circumstances (1 Tim 3:4-5). You did the right thing by giving them your thoughts on this matter, but now you need to trust their judgment – after all, that’s what they are there for (Heb 13:17).
Does God always hear our prayers?
Who is praying and how they pray matters. God says that a righteous man’s prayers do a great deal of good (Jas 5:16). That would by default mean that an unrighteous man’s prayers wouldn’t do much, if any, good at all. God told Israel that their ungodly lifestyles meant that He wouldn’t hear their prayers at all! (Isa 1:15) There are other things that will stop your prayers from being heard:
- Treating your spouse badly (1 Pet 3:7)
- Praying for “show” (Lk 20:47)
- Praying selfishly (Jas 4:3)
- Praying without gratitude (Col 4:2)
There is no doubt that the Bible teaches that we should examine ourselves before approaching God in prayer. A wrong attitude or lifestyle can seriously jeopardize our prayers effectiveness. The flip is also true though! Proper attitudes and behavior are rewarded:
- Asking for wisdom (Jas 1:5)
- Consistency (1 Thess 5:17)
- Godly living (Jas 5:16)
- Asking without doubt (Jas 1:6)
When we are constantly praying, trusting in God’s strength to answer, humbly seeking his wisdom, and living lives that befit God’s servants, we can expect powerful results! Prayer is perhaps one of the greatest tools in a Christian’s arsenal (perhaps also one of the least utilized). The Bible is how God speaks to us; prayer is how we speak to Him. Just like a child asking their parent for a privilege – how we approach God makes all the difference.