Welfare Ministry


Chapter 36—Specific Funds for Welfare Work

Christians to Act as God's Treasurers—The poor are God's heritage. Christ has given His life for them. He calls upon those whom He has appointed to act as His stewards, to give liberally of the means entrusted to them to relieve the poor and to support His work in the earth. The Lord is rich in resources. He has appointed men to act as His treasurers in this world. That which He has given them they are to use in his service.—Manuscript 146, 1903. WM 272.1

A Thank Offering for the Poor—In every church there should be established a treasury for the poor. Then let each member present a thank offering to God once a week or once a month, as is most convenient. This offering will express our gratitude for the gifts of health, of food, and of comfortable clothing. And according as God has blessed us with these comforts will we lay by for the poor, the suffering, and the distressed. I would call the attention of our brethren specially to this point. Remember the poor. Forgo some of your luxuries, yea, even comforts, and help those who can obtain only the most meager food and clothing. In doing for them you are doing for Jesus in the person of His saints. He identifies Himself with suffering humanity. Do not wait until your imaginary wants are all satisfied. Do not trust to your feelings and give when you feel like it and withhold when you do not feel like it. Give regularly, either ten, twenty, or fifty cents a week, as you would like to see upon the heavenly record in the day of God.—Testimonies for the Church 5:150, 151. WM 272.2

A Self-denial Box at Home—Let everyone have a self-denial box in his home, and when he would spend pennies and shillings in self-gratification let him remember the needy and starving in Africa and India and those close by his own door. There are poor among us. Practice economy, and in every line present your case to God. Ask Him to give you the spirit of Christ, that you may be in every sense of the word Christ's disciples and receive His blessing. As you turn from the worship of self and try to relieve suffering humanity, pray that God will give you a true missionary work to do for souls. Then those who come to worship in the house of God will see a people clothed in modest apparel in harmony with the faith and Word of God. It is these things that steal away the love and trust and confidence of God's people in Him, that mar the religious experience and develop a selfishness that God cannot look upon.—Manuscript 52, 1898. WM 273.1

The Second Tithe—To promote the assembling of the people for religious service, as well as to provide for the poor, a second tithe of all the increase was required. Concerning the first tithe, the Lord had declared, “I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel,” But in regard to the second He commanded, “Thou shalt eat before the Lord thy God, in the place which He shall choose to place His name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God always.” This tithe, or its equivalent in money, they were for two years to bring to the place where the sanctuary was established. After presenting a thank offering to God and a specified portion to the priest, the offerers were to use the remainder for a religious feast, in which the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow should participate.... WM 273.2

Every third year, however, this second tithe was to be used at home, in entertaining the Levite and the poor, as Moses said, “That they may eat within thy gates, and be filled.” This tithe would provide a fund for the uses of charity and hospitality.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 530. WM 274.1

The consecration to God of a tithe of all increase, whether of the orchard and harvest field, the flocks and herds, or the labor of brain or hand; the devotion of a second tithe for the relief of the poor and for other benevolent uses, tended to keep fresh before the people the truth of God's ownership of all and of their opportunity to be channels of His blessings. It was a training adapted to kill out all narrowing selfishness and to cultivate breadth and nobility of character.—Education, 44. WM 274.2

Gifts and Offerings for Welfare Work—Deeds of mercy must be done; the poor and the suffering must be aided. Gifts and offerings should be appropriated for this purpose. Especially in new fields, where the standard of truth has never yet been uplifted, this work must be done.—Special Testimonies, Series A 9:68. WM 274.3

Medical missionaries can find a field in which to relieve the distress of those who are failing under bodily ailments. They should have means so that they may clothe the naked and feed the hungry. Christian help work will do more than the preaching of sermons.—The Review and Herald, December 24, 1895. WM 274.4

It will be necessary that a fund shall be created so that the workers may have means with which to help those who are in poverty and distress, and this practical ministry will open their hearts to respond to the truth.—The Review and Herald, January 28, 1896. WM 274.5

Men are appointed to proclaim the truth in new places. These men must have funds for their support. And they must have a fund to draw upon for the help of the poor and needy whom they meet in their work. The benevolence that they show toward the poor gives influence to their efforts to proclaim the truth. Their willingness to help those in need gains for them the gratitude of those they help and the approval of Heaven.—Letter 32, 1903. WM 275.1

Aided From Special Contributions, Not Regular Church Income—In the sixth chapter of Acts we are shown how when men were to be selected to fill positions in the church, the matter was brought before the Lord, and most earnest prayer was offered for guidance. The widows and fatherless were to be supported by contributions from the church. Their wants were not to be relieved by the church but by special donations. The tithe was to be consecrated to the Lord, and was always to be used for the support of the ministry. Men must be chosen to oversee the work of caring for the poor, to look after the proper distribution of the means in hand, that none among the believers should suffer for the necessaries of life.—Letter 9, 1899. WM 275.2

None Suffer If God's Plans Are Followed—There is nothing, after their recognition of the claims of God, that more distinguishes the laws given by Moses than the liberal, tender, and hospitable spirit enjoined toward the poor. Although God had promised greatly to bless His people, it was not His design that poverty should be wholly unknown among them. He declared that the poor should never cease out of the land. There would ever be those among His people who would call into exercise their sympathy, tenderness, and benevolence. Then, as now, persons were subject to misfortune, sickness, and loss of property; yet so long as they followed the instruction given by God, there were no beggars among them, neither any who suffered for food.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 530, 531. WM 275.3