Ms 33, 1907

Ms 33, 1907

Faithful Stewardship


January 24, 1907 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in 9T 245-251.

Christ has purchased us by the price of His own blood. He has paid the purchase money for our redemption; and if we will lay hold upon the treasure, it is ours by the free gift of God. 22LtMs, Ms 33, 1907, par. 1

“How much owest thou unto my Lord?” [Luke 16:5.] It is impossible to tell. All that we have is from God. He lays His hand upon our possessions, saying, I am the rightful owner of the whole universe; these are My goods. Consecrate to Me the tithes and offerings. As you bring in these specified goods as a token of your loyalty, and your submission to My sovereignty, My blessing shall increase your substance, and you will have abundance. 22LtMs, Ms 33, 1907, par. 2

God is testing every soul that claims to believe in Him. All are entrusted with talents. The Lord has given men His goods upon which to trade. He has made them His stewards and has placed in their possession money, houses, and lands. All these are to be treated as the Lord’s goods, and used to advance His work, to build up His kingdom in the world. In trading with the Lord’s goods we are to seek Him for wisdom that we may not use His sacred trust to glorify ourselves, to indulge selfish impulses. The amount entrusted varies, but those who have the smallest gifts must not feel that because they are small, they can do nothing with them. 22LtMs, Ms 33, 1907, par. 3

Every Christian is a steward of God, entrusted with His goods. Remember the words, “Moreover it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful.” [1 Corinthians 4:2.] Let us be sure that we are not robbing God in any jots or tittles: for much is involved in this question. 22LtMs, Ms 33, 1907, par. 4

All things belong to God. Men may ignore His claims. While He bountifully bestows His blessings upon them, they may use His gifts for their own selfish gratification; but they will be called to give an account for their stewardship. 22LtMs, Ms 33, 1907, par. 5

A steward identifies himself with his master. He accepts the responsibilities of a steward, and he must act in his master’s stead, doing as his master would do were he presiding. His master’s interests become his. The position of a steward is one of dignity, because his master trusts him. If in any wise he acts selfishly, and turns the advantages gained by trading with his lord’s goods, to his own advantage, he has perverted the trust reposed in him. 22LtMs, Ms 33, 1907, par. 6

The Lord has made the proclamation of the gospel dependent upon the labors and voluntary gifts of all His people. The one who proclaims the message of mercy to fallen men has another work also, to set before the people the duty of sustaining the work of God with their means. He must teach them that a portion of their income belongs to God and is to be sacredly devoted to His work. This lesson he should present both by precept and example. And he should beware that he does not by his own course lesson the force of his teaching. 22LtMs, Ms 33, 1907, par. 7

Use of the Tithe

That which has been set apart according to the Scriptures as belonging to the Lord constitutes the revenue of the gospel and is no longer ours. It is no better than sacrilege for a man to take from God’s treasury to serve himself or to serve others in their secular business. Some have been at fault in diverting from the altar of God that which has been especially dedicated to Him. All should regard this matter in the right light. Let no one, when brought into a strait place, take money consecrated to religious purposes and use it for his advantage, soothing his conscience by saying that he will repay it at some future time. Far better cut down the expenses to correspond with the income, to restrict the wants, and live within the means, than to use the Lord’s money for secular purposes. This subject is not regarded as it should be. Under no pretext is the money paid into the treasury of God to be used for the benefit of any one in temporal affairs. 22LtMs, Ms 33, 1907, par. 8

God has given special direction as to the use of the tithe. He does not design that His work shall be crippled for want of means. That there may be no haphazard work and no error, He has made our duty on these points very plain. The portion that God has reserved for Himself is not to be diverted to any other purpose than that which He has specified. Let none feel at liberty to retain their tithe, to use according to their own judgment. They are not to use it for themselves in an emergency, nor to apply it as they see fit, even in what they may regard as the Lord’s work. 22LtMs, Ms 33, 1907, par. 9

God has shown honor to men in taking them into partnership with Himself in the great work of redemption. The minister should, by precept and example, teach the people to regard the tithe as sacred. He should not feel that he can retain and apply it, according to his own judgment, because he is a minister. It is not his. He is not at liberty to devote to himself whatever he thinks is his due. Let him not give his influence to any plans for diverting from their legitimate use the tithes and offerings dedicated to God. They are to be placed in His treasury and held sacred for His service as He has appointed. 22LtMs, Ms 33, 1907, par. 10

God desires all His stewards to be exact in following divine arrangements. They are not to offset the Lord’s plans by performing some deed of charity, or giving some gift or some offering, when or how they, the human agents, shall see fit. It is a very poor policy for men to seek to improve on God’s plan and invent a makeshift, averaging up their good impulses on this and that occasion and off-setting them against God’s requirements. God calls upon all to give their influence to His own arrangement. He has made His plan known; and all who would co-operate with Him must carry out this plan, instead of daring to attempt an improvement on it. 22LtMs, Ms 33, 1907, par. 11

“Thou shalt command the children of Israel that they bring thee pure olive oil, beaten, for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always.” [Exodus 27:20.] This was to be a continual offering, that the house of God might be properly supplied with that which was necessary for His service. His people today are to remember that the house of worship is the Lord’s property, and that it is to be scrupulously cared for. But the funds for this work are not to come from the tithe. 22LtMs, Ms 33, 1907, par. 12

A very plain, definite message has been given to me to give to our people. I am bidden to tell them that they are making a mistake in applying the tithe to various objects which, though good in themselves, are not the object to which the Lord has said that the tithe is to be applied. Those who make this use of the tithe are departing from the Lord’s arrangement. 22LtMs, Ms 33, 1907, par. 13

God will judge for these things. One reasons that the tithe may be applied to school purposes. Still others would reason that canvassers and colporteurs should be supported from the tithe. But a great mistake is made when the tithe is drawn from the object for which it is to be used—the support of the ministers. There should be today in the field one hundred well-qualified laborers where now there is but one. 22LtMs, Ms 33, 1907, par. 14

The tithe is sacred, reserved by God for Himself. It is to be brought into His treasury to be used to sustain the gospel laborers in their work. For a long time the Lord has been robbed because there are those who do not realize that the tithe is God’s reserved portion. 22LtMs, Ms 33, 1907, par. 15

Some have been dissatisfied, and have said, I will not longer pay my tithe; for I have no confidence in the way things are managed at the heart of the work. But will you rob God because you think the management of the work is not right? Make your complaint, plainly and openly, in the right spirit to the proper ones. Send in your petitions for things to be adjusted and set in order; but do not withdraw from the work of God and prove unfaithful because others are not doing right. 22LtMs, Ms 33, 1907, par. 16

Read carefully the third chapter of Malachi, and see what God says about the tithe. If our churches will take their stand upon the Lord’s Word, and be faithful in paying their tithe into His treasury, more laborers will be encouraged to take up ministerial work. More men would give themselves to the ministry were they not told of the depleted treasury. There should be an abundant supply in the Lord’s treasury, and there would be if selfish hearts and hands had not withheld tithes, or made use of them to support others lines of work. 22LtMs, Ms 33, 1907, par. 17

God’s reserved resources are to be used in no such haphazard way. The tithe is the Lord’s, and those who meddle with it will be punished with the loss of their heavenly treasure unless they repent. Let the work no longer be hedged up because the tithe has been diverted into various channels other than the one to which the Lord has said it should go. Provision is to be made for these other lines of work. They are to be sustained; but not from the tithe. God has not changed; the tithe is still to be used for the support of the ministry. The opening of new fields requires more ministerial efficiency than we now have, and there must be means in the treasury. 22LtMs, Ms 33, 1907, par. 18

Duty of Ministers to Educate

Those who go forth as ministers have a solemn responsibility devolving upon them which is strangely neglected. Some enjoy preaching, but they do not give personal labor to the churches. There is great need of instruction concerning the obligations and duties to God, especially in regard to paying an honest tithe. Our ministers would feel sadly aggrieved if they were not promptly paid for their labor; but will they consider that there must be meat in the treasure house of God wherewith to sustain the laborers? If they fail to do their whole duty in educating the people to be faithful in paying to God His own, there will be a shortage of means in the treasury to carry forward the Lord’s work. 22LtMs, Ms 33, 1907, par. 19

The overseer of the flock of God should faithfully discharge his duty. If he takes the position that because this is not pleasant to him he will leave it for some one else to do, he is not a faithful worker. Let him read in Malachi the words of the Lord, charging the people with robbery toward God in withholding the tithes. The mighty God declares, “Ye are cursed with the curse.” [Verse 9.] When the one who ministers in word and doctrine sees the people pursuing a course that will bring this curse upon them, how can he neglect his duty to give them instruction and warning? Every church member should be taught to be faithful in paying an honest tithe. 22LtMs, Ms 33, 1907, par. 20

“Bring ye all the tithe 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.” [Verse 10.] 22LtMs, Ms 33, 1907, par. 21