one couple. About 9 minutes.
(Frank and Edith are heading for their car. Two chairs are all that
is needed to represent the car seats.)
FRANK: (Calling out) Hey there, Tom! How are you? Wasn’t that a
great sermon today? It sure spoke to my heart! Such an important
topic! Well, I’ll see ya Wednesday night! Oh, that’s right, I
forgot. You don’t go to the Wednesday service. Next Sunday, then.
God bless! (He gets in the car.)
EDITH: (Calling out) God bless! (She gets in the car. They both
just sit there stone faced for a moment. They can pantomime driving
the car… or just sit there talking in the car throughout the scene…
which ever works best.)
FRANK: Did you put a check in the offering today?
EDITH: I never put a check in the offering, Dear. You know that. I
always leave that type of thing to you.
FRANK: I didn’t know he was going to preach on tithing today! How
did I miss that?
EDITH: I didn’t know our pastor ever talked about money from the
pulpit. It’s such an uncomfortable subject.
FRANK: He does it about once a year.
EDITH: How come I don’t remember that?
FRANK: Because it is always the same weekend that we go to the lake.
This was a surprise sermon! I had no indication that this was
coming! We could have been at the lake right now.
EDITH: So, did you write a check after the service and hand it to
the usher? You can always do that, you know.
FRANK: Oh, yeah. How does that look? After a sermon on tithing,
you suddenly remember that you forgot to put your offering in?
EDITH: Well, not everyone gives every week. This was just our off
week. You have given recently haven’t you?
FRANK: Oh sure. I wrote that check out for missions, remember?
EDITH: Oh sure, sure. (Pause) When was that?
FRANK: A couple of weeks ago, I guess. I don’t remember. Right
after the missionary speaker was here.
EDITH: That was a couple of months ago. But we did give a nice
amount, didn’t we?
FRANK: Sure we did. It will go a long ways. That is my tithe. I
give to missions.
EDITH: Oh, sure, sure. We give a lot to missions.
FRANK: Well, sometimes I forget, but then I make up for it double
the next time… if I remember.
EDITH: So, how do they know that you are giving to missions? Don’t
you make the check out to the church?
FRANK: You write on the check that it is for missions. When you
designate like that, then they have to put it where you tell them.
I always designate where I want the money to go. Always. Otherwise,
you have no idea how they are spending your hard earned money!
EDITH: So, Frank….what the preacher was saying about 10%… is that
on the gross or the net?
FRANK: The whole thing is gross if you ask me! Can you imagine
giving a tenth of our income? We make a lot combined, and a tenth
of that would be a ridiculously high figure! (Laughing) Can you
imagine giving all that money away?
EDITH: (Also laughing) That’s right, Dear! What would the church do
with all that money?
FRANK: God wants us to be good stewards of our money, and so that is
why we need to carefully decide where and when we give our money away.
EDITH: I always trust your judgment in these areas, Frank. I know
that we tithe when we know it is right to do it.
FRANK: Oh of course. We tithe, Edith! I just don’t think it needs
to be as often as the preacher was saying. I don’t keep track that
closely… because you know how the Bible says that you should not let
your right hand know what your left hand is doing. I’m sure there
are times that you put a check in for our tithe and I didn’t even
know about it.
EDITH: Oh, no, Frank! I stopped writing checks ever since that
Woman’s Conference where we learned that finances was the man’s role.
FRANK: Yeah… but before that you did… when was that conference?
EDITH: Let’s see…It was right before our cruise on the Mediterranean.
So that was 1996.
FRANK: No, 96 was the Panama Canal Cruise. The one you are talking
about was in 93.
EDITH: Are you sure? When did we take the trip to Paris and London?
FRANK: The first time or the second?
EDITH: The second.
FRANK: That was in 95.
EDITH: Oh, sure, sure. I remember. So that was it, then. It was
93. I have not written a check for church since 1993! Well, it was
before that anyway. I don’t remember exactly. (Pause) Oh yes I do…
it was at that fund raiser that I went to. They were really making a
strong pitch for tithing. I know I was acting on the Holy Spirit
prompting me that day. I wrote a check for $50! That was my last one.
All the checks since then have been yours.
FRANK: $50 is a nice size check, too. That is a good amount.
Nothing chintzy about that!
EDITH: So…that stuff he was saying about tithing being a tenth… what
do you make of that, Dear? Does tithing have to be a tenth?
FRANK: You see….that is why he should not preach on that topic… it
brings so much confusion. Tithing doesn’t have to be 10%. It can be
whatever you want it to be. You should give the amount God tells
you to give! It is important that you listen to God and not to man.
I mean, think about it! Look how many people are in our church!
Now if you think about how much their combined income is…. Let’s see…
.we make $135,000 and there must be at least 5 other couples that
make that much or more…
EDITH: Sure, sure.
FRANK: …and several that make a hundred thou… and probably some
families that only earn $75,000 a year… you add up all of that and
you get over a million dollars! Well, if everyone tithed ten
percent, then the church would get over $100,000 in one year! Now
what is the church going to do with one hundred thousand dollars!
EDITH: What indeed!
FRANK: They will either spend it foolishly, or give the pastor and
all the staff a raise. I think they make enough as it is. The last
thing we need is an over-paid preacher!
EDITH: Oh, sure, sure. You are right there.
FRANK: I mean…this guy could end up making as much as I do! And for
EDITH: Well, he does have a lot of responsibilities. He preaches
and teaches and counsels…
FRANK: A pastor needs to remain humble. A financial struggle will
build character. If you pay him too much, then he will be tempted by
that wealth, and lose his humility. When a preacher starts
preaching about tithing it means that he is looking for a raise.
EDITH: Oh, Honey…you know so much about tithing!
FRANK: That’s because we live The Word, Edith. If you really know
The Word of God, you can make these kinds of decisions.
EDITH: Now, didn’t he say that The Word teaches that you should
give a tenth? I’m sure he said it was scriptural.
FRANK: It’s Old Testament, Edith. You know we are not bound by the
Old Testament laws. Plus, back in those days… it was only the men
who made the money. The women didn’t work. So it was only a tenth
of the man’s income. So, if we were going to be true to The Word,
we would not tithe on your salary, just mine.
EDITH: I never thought of that. That is very interesting.
FRANK: You gotta think these things through, Edith.
EDITH: That is so true.
FRANK: There is a passage in the New Testament that settles all the
questions about tithing…
EDITH: There is?
FRANK: Sure, there is. Hand me my bible, would you? (She reaches
in the back seat for it)
EDITH: I don’t see it, Frank.
FRANK: Here, I’ll use yours. (He takes hers from her lap. If you
are having him driving throughout the scene, then have him be stopped
for a minute. He starts flipping through pages looking for
something.) I know it’s here somewhere.