Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Lt 81, 1897

Jones, C. H.

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

May 27, 1897

Portions of this letter are published in CS 263; 1MR 184-186, 189-191. +Note

Dear Brother Jones:

We received your letter today. The question in regard to applying the tithes for incidental expenses connected with the church is referred to. You say that this has not been done in Oakland for years. I am glad to hear this. I answer in accordance with the light recently given me of God, and which has led me to write so much on this matter, that it is a mistake for our churches to appropriate the tithe for any other purpose than to sustain the ministry. The Lord will not work in your favor if you do this. If all that God requires of His people had been done, in securing laborers who will open the Scriptures to others, there would be no more money in the treasury than would be required to sustain the work in the field. There are but few working where there should be many. 12LtMs, Lt 81, 1897, par. 1

And if there is a surplus of means in the treasury, there are many places where it may be used strictly in its appointed lines. In many places the dearth of means is so great that workers cannot be employed to do missionary work. Every dollar of the money put into the treasury is not needed in California. Let the Lord’s money be donated to support the ministers in foreign countries, where they are working to lift the standard in new fields. This is God’s money, and He designs that it shall be used in sustaining the ministry, in educating a people to prepare to meet their God. 12LtMs, Lt 81, 1897, par. 2

In this country there are men who are kept out of the field because there is no means in the treasury to sustain them. The tithe is not to be consumed in incidental expenses; that belongs to the work of the church members. They are to support their church by their gifts and offerings. When this matter is seen and realized in all its bearings, there will be no questions on this subject. Through His servant Malachi, the Lord gives a most solemn warning in reference to this matter. He says, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” [Malachi 3:10.] 12LtMs, Lt 81, 1897, par. 3

The Lord has revealed to me that when the members of the church in Oakland shall learn to deny themselves, when they shall consecrate themselves to God, when they shall practice economy as true-hearted sons and daughters of God; when they shall expend much less for outward display, and shall wear plain, simple clothing without unnecessary adornments; when their faith and works shall correspond, then they will be the Lord’s true missionaries and will have clear discernment and spiritual understanding. They will have a sense of the sacredness of God’s work. They will see the necessity of the tithe money being faithfully paid into the treasury, and reserved for the sacred work to which God designs that it shall be devoted—to carry the last message of mercy to a fallen world. God’s people are to lift the standard of truth in every place where the message of mercy has not been proclaimed. 12LtMs, Lt 81, 1897, par. 4

Every soul who is honored in being a steward of God is to carefully guard the tithe money. This is sacred means. The Lord will not sanction your borrowing this money for any other work. It will create evils you cannot now discern. It is not to be meddled with by the Oakland Church, for there are missions to be sustained in other fields, where there are no churches and no tithes. When the men who, as God’s messengers, have their work to do [and] will do it in a straightforward manner, the church of Oakland will take care of the duties belonging to it individually. The members will furnish the means to sustain these extra expenses. But by using the tithe for these expenses, or filling the gaps made in business lines, you lift from them a burden which they should, as a church, carry. 12LtMs, Lt 81, 1897, par. 5

Time, precious time is passing into eternity, and the work that should be done in saving perishing souls is left undone. Keep your hands off the Lord’s reserve fund. That means is to do a great work before probation shall close. Not one-hundredth part of the work that should be done in California is being done. Missionary workers are few. It is most painful to me to see how little is being done in self-sacrificing effort, in bringing up the church to sense their individual responsibility and the necessity of self-denial. Look at the congregations coming into the houses of worship in Battle Creek and Oakland, and see how much money is expended in dress that should go to the Lord’s cause. But you cannot, as responsible men, be clear in the sight of God unless you shall practice more economy and self-denial yourselves, unless you shall bear a testimony that will cut its way to the heart of self-indulgence. 12LtMs, Lt 81, 1897, par. 6

It makes me heartsick to see the most sacred, solemn truth ever given to our world have so little influence upon the life and character of many who profess to believe the Word of God. What is the matter? The truth is not practiced. The life of the world’s Redeemer is our example in all things. There is much more in the word of God than many have discovered. There is practical godliness that must be brought into the life and character. There are heights and depths that we might reach if there were less self-indulgence and more consecration to God. 12LtMs, Lt 81, 1897, par. 7

If you have more means than you need to settle [with] your ministers in a fair, liberal, Christian manner, there are other places where you can help, where there are but few people and poor, and the tithe is limited. Send the Lord’s money to them. This I have been repeatedly shown is the way to do. I was listening to the voice of the heavenly messenger on this subject, and the directions given were that other churches who had buildings and facilities should help in foreign countries where there is very little tithe money. The Lord’s vineyard is large. 12LtMs, Lt 81, 1897, par. 8

God’s money is to be used to support the ministry, to proclaim the truth. I ask you to send the extra tithe to this part of God’s moral vineyard. Here there is a constant demand for work; but we cannot use the men who could do God service, because there is no “meat” in the Lord’s treasury to sustain the workers. [Verse 10.] The Lord has shown me that when those who are in office will do their appointed work and bind about their many supposed wants; when they shall practice the self-denial that God enjoins, and encourage economy in every line as it is their duty to do by setting the example, there will be a solemn, straightforward testimony, [with] hearts and lips touched with holy fire, coming forth from the great center in California and Battle Creek that will have an influence on smaller churches. 12LtMs, Lt 81, 1897, par. 9

When the people will, as in the church in Oakland, excuse themselves from sustaining their own church demands, that church is in deep need of a ministry that is of a different order than that which it has had. The men who are handling sacred things will need to discern more clearly spiritual things; and if they will begin to rely upon the tithe money to use in the several places where there is a gap and where means are needed in Battle Creek and Oakland, the Lord will surely remove His blessing from these churches. You know nothing experimentally of the poverty in foreign countries. We need some of your abundance here. When men shall be properly exercised to present to the people their duty as Christians to support their church expenses; when they shall themselves present more abundantly their gifts and offerings to carry forward the work, then God will bless the faithful messenger, and He will bless the members of the churches, for He says, “I know thy works.” [Revelation 2:2.] 12LtMs, Lt 81, 1897, par. 10

Then who will be aroused to sense their duty in this respect, and act their part in the fear of God? Self-denial is to be presented to the people, and offerings called for in donations. Said the messenger of heaven, “It is not the Oakland Church, the Battle Creek Church, the Healdsburg Church, or the San Francisco Church who should draw from the treasury of God to supply their weekly incidental expenses, incurred in accommodating the people as they assemble together to worship God. Let every soul consider, and humble himself before God.” 12LtMs, Lt 81, 1897, par. 11

Again, The lax way which many churches have of incurring debts, and keeping in debt, was presented before me. In some cases a continual debt is upon the house of God. There is a continual interest to be paid. These things should not and need not be. If there is that wisdom and tact and zeal manifested for the Master that God requires of every one of His servants, there will be a change in these things. The debts will be lifted. Self-denial and self-sacrifice will work wonders in advancing the spirituality of the church. Let every church member do something. Let the necessity of each acting a part be most strenuously impressed upon the worshipers. 12LtMs, Lt 81, 1897, par. 12

The Healdsburg college and church need not be loaded with debt as it is. This shows unwise stewardship. God calls for self-sacrifice. He calls for offerings from those who can give, and even the poorer members can do their little. And when there is a will to do, God will open the way. But the Lord is not pleased with the management. He does not design that His cause shall be trammelled with debt. Self-denial will enable those who have done nothing in the past to do something tangible, and show that they believe the teachings of the Word, that they believe the truth for this time. All, both old and young, parents and children, are to show their faith by their works. Faith is made perfect by works. We are in the very closing scenes of this earth’s history; yet there are but few who realize this because the world has come in between God and the soul. There is little appreciation of the value of the truth. 12LtMs, Lt 81, 1897, par. 13