The Review and Herald

506/1902

December 17, 1889

The Duty of Paying Tithes and Offerings

EGW

There are many things which should stir the soul to action at this time. We cannot afford to be sluggards now, my brethren. The Lord has the first claim upon all that we have. The means in our possession has been given to us in trust, and we hold it simply as the stewards of God's bounty. Many have made a mistake in withholding from the Lord that which he has plainly specified as his own. The tithe of all that God has blessed you with, belongs to him; and you have robbed God when you have used it for your own enterprises. The Lord has not left the disposal of the tithe to you, to be given or withheld as your inclination may dictate. He has placed the matter beyond all question, and there has been great neglect on the part of many of God's professed people to fulfill the requirements of his word in regard to tithing. RH December 17, 1889, Art. A, par. 1

The prophet asks, “Will a man rob God?” as though such a thing could hardly be possible. And the answer is, “Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse; for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the store-house, 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. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground: neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.” RH December 17, 1889, Art. A, par. 2

Upon what ground may we claim the full and rich promises of God? We can claim them only when we have fulfilled the conditions prescribed in his word. The Lord is constantly giving. He pours down the rain and the sunshine. He promises to give to his people the privilege of eating of the tree of life, and the hidden manna. He holds forth the crown of life, the white stone with the new name written therein. He says, “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” God makes man his agent. He places bounties in his hands, not to do with as it suits his natural inclinations, but as shall best serve the cause of God and forward the truth in the earth. If man had co-operated with God as he directed, every part of the work of God would have moved on in perfect order; there would be no empty treasury. God has given to man the use of nine-tenths of his income, but one-tenth, with the addition of gifts and offerings, the Lord has reserved for himself. Have you robbed God in tithes and offerings? What treasure have you been laying up in heaven by giving to the Lord his own? Your hands may be loosening their hold on the things of this world, and while life is still granted you, why not take up your neglected duties, and as God's faithful stewards, bestow your means where it will work for the salvation of souls and the glory of your Redeemer? RH December 17, 1889, Art. A, par. 3

Many have waited to devote their means to God's cause until they were laid on their death-bed. They have willed a certain portion of their property to the work of God; but wills are not safe. They are often broken, and the means does not flow into the channel designed by the donor. It is much better to give your means to God while you are in health and strength. A close, selfish spirit seems to prevent men from giving to God his own. The Lord made a special covenant with men, that if they would regularly set apart the portion designated for the advancement of Christ's kingdom, the Lord would bless them abundantly, so that there would not be room to receive his gifts. But if men withhold that which belongs to God, the Lord plainly declares, “Ye are cursed with a curse.” RH December 17, 1889, Art. A, par. 4

It is the duty of the elders and officers of the church to instruct the people on this important matter, and to set things in order. As laborers together with God, the officers of the church should be sound upon this plainly revealed question. The ministers themselves should be strict to carry out to the letter the injunctions of God's word. Those who hold positions of trust in the church should not be negligent, but they should see that the members are faithful in performing this duty. When Christ took human nature upon him, he bound humanity to him by a tie of love that can never be broken by any power save the choice of man himself. Through Christ we have the gift of eternal life, if we comply with the stated conditions; but if we are united to Christ, we are also united to humanity. God has a tender and impartial care for all his children. He is mindful of those who are despised and destitute. The Lord has given us the privilege of becoming co-workers with him, that the truth of heavenly origin may be placed within the reach of all, in all countries. Man has been privileged to become an agent to work out, not his own plans, but the plans of Heaven. His ears must be open to hear when God speaks, his heart in a condition to respond to his claims. RH December 17, 1889, Art. A, par. 5

There have been special occasions at large gatherings, when appeals have been made to the professed followers of Christ, for the cause of God, and hearts have been stirred, and many have made pledges to sustain the work. But many of those who pledged have not dealt honorably with God. They have been negligent, and have failed to redeem their pledges to their Maker. But if man is so indifferent about his promises to God, can he expect that the Lord will fulfill a promise made on conditions that have never been kept? It is best to deal honestly with your fellow-men and with God. You are dependent upon Christ for every favor you enjoy; you are dependent upon him for the future, immortal life; and you cannot afford to be without respect unto the recompense of reward. Those who realize their dependence upon God, will feel that they must be honest with their fellow-men, and, above all, they must be honest with God, from whom come all the blessings of life. The evasion of the positive commands of God concerning tithes and offerings, is registered in the books of heaven as robbery toward him. RH December 17, 1889, Art. A, par. 6

No man who is dishonest with God or with his fellow-men can truly prosper. The most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, says, “Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small; thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small; but thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have: that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. For all that do such things, and all that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto the Lord thy God.” Through the prophet Micah, the Lord again expresses his abhorrence of dishonesty: “Are there yet the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is abominable? Shall I count them pure with the wicked balances, and with the bag of deceitful weights? For the rich men thereof are full of violence, and the inhabitants thereof have spoken lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth. Therefore also will I make thee sick in smiting thee, in making thee desolate because of thy sins.” RH December 17, 1889, Art. A, par. 7

The Lord has bought us with his own precious blood, and it is because of his mercy and grace that we may hope for the great gift of salvation. And we are enjoined to deal justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God. Yet the Lord declares, “Ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.” When we deal unjustly with our fellow-men or with our God, we despise the authority of God, and ignore the fact that Christ has purchased us with his own life. The world is robbing God upon the wholesale plan. The more he imparts of wealth, the more thoroughly do men claim it as their own, to be used as they shall please. But shall the professed followers of Christ follow the customs of the world? Shall we forfeit peace of conscience, communion with God, and fellowship with our brethren, because we fail to devote to his cause the portion he has claimed as his own? Let those who claim to be Christians, bear in mind that they are trading on the capital intrusted them of God, and that they are required to faithfully follow the directions of the Scriptures in regard to its disposal. If your heart is right with God, you will not embezzle your Lord's goods, and invest them in your own selfish enterprises. If you are faithful servants of Jesus, you will not rob God yourselves, or connive at those who do it. You will not be men-pleasers, world-servers. You will make your Lord's interest your interest. RH December 17, 1889, Art. A, par. 8

Brethren and sisters, if the Lord has blessed you with means, do not look upon it as your own. Regard it as yours in trust for God, and be true and honest in paying tithes and offerings. When a pledge is made by you, be sure that God expects you to pay as promptly as possible. Do not promise a portion to the Lord, and then appropriate it to your own use, lest your prayers become an abomination unto him. It is the neglect of these plainly revealed duties that brings darkness upon the church. Let the elders and officers of the church follow the direction of the sacred word, and urge upon their members the necessity of faithfulness in the payment of pledges, tithes, and offerings. RH December 17, 1889, Art. A, par. 9