Do You have faith in God? That was a question Jesus used to ask. It is one thing to say, “Yes, I have faith in God,” when everything is going well; you have money in your checkbook, your physical exam showed you were healthy, you are current on your house payment, none of your children are sick, and you are not having a major crisis at your work. It is another thing to say, “Yes, I trust in God,” when things are not going so well; you have been diagnosed with a very serious disease, or maybe your job is not as certain as you thought it was and you might get laid off, there is not enough money to pay bills, somebody is sick, and one wrong thing piles up on another. Do you trust in God? Do you really trust Him now—or is your trust in something else?
The Bible says a rich man’s wealth is his strong city. His confidence and trust are in his wealth. That is very common. In Matthew 19:23, 24, Jesus, speaking about rich men, says, ” ‘Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’ ” Do we realize that in comparison to people in many other countries, most people in the United States are rich? Solomon said when a person is rich, he trusts his riches. If you have your trust in riches or anything other than Jesus Christ, you cannot be saved. It is impossible.
The Lord had to teach some lessons of trust to the children of Israel. For this purpose, He put them through a rigorous forty-year training course during which time they had no way to get food. Have you ever been without food? It is bad to be without food when there is a grocery store nearby, but it is worse to be without food in the desert. For a while they did not know where the food was going to come from. So Moses told them, “Now the Lord is going to provide for you.” The Lord let them go in the desert a few days until they ran out of food, before He started providing manna. Have you ever been in a situation where you were looking for a job and you said, ” Lord, are you going to let me spend my last dollar before I find a job?”
When the Lord sent the manna, He did not send enough for a week—He only sent enough for one day. They were never more than one day away from being out of food. The next day the Lord sent a little more. If they kept it for more than a day, it spoiled. The only exception was on Friday, then the Lord sent a two days supply so that on Sabbath they did not have to gather food. The Lord taught them to put their trust in Him. We are also going to have to learn to trust in God alone. God has given us principles of living to help us learn to trust in Him.
To the tent meetings
Miss Clancy was an elderly Irish Protestant lady. She will be surprised when she gets to heaven because people have heard about her in many places. They will come to her from all over and say, “I learned to have faith in God from you.”
Her story began in 1919, when a Seventh-day Adventist minister by the name of Carlisle B. Haynes was having evangelistic meetings in a canvas tent in New York City on 95th Street and Broadway. Miss Clancy came to these tent-meetings, sat down, and started listening.
Whenever Carlisle B. Haynes would preach something from the Bible she would look it up, take notes, and check to see if that was really what the Bible said. If that was what the Bible said, she believed it and would do it. She soon started getting ready for baptism. She accepted everything the Bible taught until, Elder Haynes preached on tithing. He noticed after that, Miss Clancy was not so happy anymore. She became sad, gloomy and upset and he wondered what had happened.
Miss Clancy finally requested a personal interview with Elder Haynes. When she came to see him, she had her notes. Together, they reviewed the notes of his sermon. There are seven points she had enumerated. Here they are:
Notes on Tithing
1. The tithing plan explained. Leviticus 27:30-32. The word tithe means a tenth or ten percent. It says, “And all the tithe of the land whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s.” It belongs to the Lord. “It is holy to the Lord. If a man wants at all to redeem any of his tithes, he shall add one-fifth to it. And concerning the tithe of the herd or the flock, of whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the Lord.” The tithe or the tenth is holy. It does not belong to us, it belongs to the Lord.
2. Tithe anciently was used for the support of those who ministered about holy things. Numbers 18:20-24 says, “Then the Lord said to Aaron: `You shall have no inheritance in their land, nor shall you have any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the children of Israel. Behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tithes in Israel as an inheritance in return for the work which they perform, the work of the tabernacle of meeting. Hereafter the children of Israel shall not come near the tabernacle of meeting, lest they bear sin and die. But the Levites shall perform the work of the tabernacle of meeting, and they shall bear their iniquity; it shall be a statute forever, throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they [that is the Levites] shall have no inheritance.’ ” Anciently, the tithe was used for those who worked in holy service.
3. The New Testament teaches that this tithing plan has been ordained for the support of the gospel ministry. In 1 Corinthians 9:13, 14, Paul refers to the passage in Numbers 18 and says, “Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar? Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.” The New Testament says that the tithing plan has been ordained for the support of the gospel ministry.
4. Jesus endorsed the tithing plan. In Matthew 23:23, Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the other undone.”
5. God promises to bless the faithful payment of tithe. Malachi 3:10-12 says, ” ‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now in this.’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,’ says the Lord of hosts; ‘And all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land,’ says the Lord of hosts.” (Wealthy men like John D. Rockefeller and Colgate paid tithe.)
6. Those who do not do as God commands will not prosper. Haggai 1:5-11. “Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Consider your ways! You have sown much, and bring in little; you eat, but do not have enough; you drink, but you are not filled with drink; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes.’ Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Consider your ways! Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified.’ says the Lord. ‘You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house.’”
7. God’s curse is upon men, money and property when God is not honored and obeyed. Malachi 3:8, 9 says, “Will a man rob God? Yes you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation.”
As Elder Haynes listened to her, he thought to himself, “Well now, what is she going to say? What is she going to object to?” Miss Clancy said, “Now, do I have to do this?” Elder Haynes replied, “Why would there be an exception for you? I’m not the one who told you this, this is what God’s Word says.”
To this reply, Miss Clancy stated, “Well, you don’t understand my circumstances. Now, I don’t enjoy telling you this, but I must tell you because you need to understand why I don’t see how I can do this. First of all,” she said, “I am not employed. I don’t have a job. I really don’t have any means of support. But,” she explained, “I have a son-in-law and he sends me $6.00 a week.”
Elder Haynes was listening—$6.00 a week, even in 1919, was not much money. Miss Clancy continued, “I’m renting a little kitchenette apartment. I’ve been there ten years and the rents have gone up with the other apartments all around, but, the Lord has been good to me. My landlord has not increased my rent.”
“How much is your rent?” inquired Elder Haynes.
“My rent is $4.50 a week.”
Miss Clancy receives $6.00 a week from her son-in-law to live on. Her rent is $4.50 a week, leaving $1.50 for all other expenses including food. Elder Haynes was aghast. “That’s impossible! You can’t live on that!”
“I know. I know you can’t live on that, but the Lord’s been good to me and has helped me to live on that. I have been living on that for many years. But now you’re telling me that I need to pay a tithe which is 60¢ on $6.00 and then my rent is still going to be the same. So you are telling me that instead of living on $1.50 a week, now I’m to live on 90¢ a week.”
What would you do if you were the preacher? Would you say, “Well sister, I recognize that you’re in a very difficult situation and God doesn’t expect you to pay tithe.” Elder Haynes felt so bad. Now he knew why she was going through a trial. When all you have to live on is $1.50 a week and now you are only going to have 90¢ a week, what are you going to eat? Does God make an exception for the poor? There are no exceptions in the Bible. And he had to say to her, “I’m not the one who made the rules. God said that He would open the windows of heaven and that He will bless you. If you will do what He says to do, He will take care of you. I don’t know how He’s going to do it. All I know is that God will not fail you.” She thought it over and said, “Well, God’s taken care of me before and I’ll do it.”
The next week she came to church and she handed Elder Haynes 60¢ tithe. In writing about it later, he said that was the hardest 60¢ he ever had anybody put in his hand to accept. He did not want to take it, but God had commanded it and he took it. And every Sabbath from then on she would come to church, go up to him and hand him 60¢. And in his mind, he would just have a sinking feeling, “What is happening to this lady? Is she going hungry?” Once he bent down and whispered in her ear, “Miss Clancy, how are you getting along? Are you all right?”
“Praise the Lord! I am,” was all she replied. The preacher wondered what was happening.
Finally, the third time, he again inquired, “Miss Clancy, are you sure, everything is all right?”
“Pastor, something strange has been happening,” She beamed, “I never knew before that the neighbors could be so kind and thoughtful. I’ve never had this happen before. They never did the things before that they’re doing for me now.”
“Well what things are they doing?”
“They bring me little presents—a loaf of bread, a pound of butter. A neighbor will come over and give me some flour and another will give me some cereal and another will give me a quart of milk and another will give me some fruit. They even come over and give me cake.” She continued, “I’m living better now on 90¢ a week than I used to live on $1.50.”
“Do you think somebody has been putting them up to this?”
“Yes I do. I think somebody has put the neighbors up to this.”
“Who do you think it is?”
“Do you need to ask me that, Pastor? If you had not counseled me to pay tithe like you did, I would have been robbed of God’s blessing.”
“Miss Clancy, I have reached the conclusion that you are the ablest financier in New York City and I have long wanted to ask you how you could possibly make 90¢ a week cover your weekly needs.”
“Ah Pastor, I’ve told you the neighbors help it to stretch, but aside from that my needs are simple. I have learned to live on porridge and oatmeal and these are cheap. To me, now, it seems that I’m getting along better than I was before.”
Every week she came and put in 60¢. This went on for three or four months, but one day there was a knock on the door of his study. Elder Haynes opened the door and there stood Miss Clancy with a playful smile on her face.
“Pastor, now you are going to have to give me some respect. Because now I am a woman of means.”
“Well, what has happened?”
Ten dimes plus offering
“My son-in-law wrote a letter the other day and told me that he had been feeling for some time that he really should send me more money. It was just too difficult to live on just $6.00 a week. He said that from now on he was going to send me $10.00 a week. Pastor, do you know what that means? My tithe on $10.00 will be $1.00, my rent will be $4.50 a week, so that will give me $4.50 left. My income has just gone up from 90¢ a week to $4.50 a week. My disposable income has gone up five times. I don’t know what I’m going to do with all that money. I guess I’m going to have large offerings to help the gospel go to the mission field.”
Someday if you are faithful, you will get to meet Miss Clancy. Maybe you will have a story to tell her about how God helped you, how God opened the windows of heaven for you. Do you know, friends, God is somebody that you can trust. Do you believe that? Miss Clancy found out that when you do what God says, He opens up the windows of heaven. Nobody knew how God was going to open up the windows of heaven, but as soon as she started paying tithe, something changed and she started getting along better than she had before. The same thing will happen to you. When you are faithful to return to God His own, God opens the windows of heaven and takes charge of your life.
Look what Jesus said about this in Matthew 6:30-33, “Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and these things shall be added to you.”
When you make God first in your life and choose to follow Him, God takes responsibility for you. God is going to see to it that you have food and clothing and will take care of you. Would you like to see God open the windows of heaven in your life? Would you like to be blessed? The Lord says, “Return the tithes and offerings into the storehouse and try Me out. And I will open the windows of heaven to you and all people will call you blessed.”
There is nothing in this world that is as good or as wonderful as being blessed by God.