God Has Devised Methods Of Support For All His Plans
For every plan that God has devised for the finishing of His work, He has devised methods and left instructions about how that plan is to work and how it is to be supported. Some missionary workers are to receive money from the profits of their labors, such as literature evangelists, physicians and nurses, missionary farmers and tradesmen. But those participating in the work of the gospel ministry are not to receive their living from the profits of secular labor. This includes more than just those called “ministers”. According to Ellen White the work of the gospel ministry includes the following kinds of workers.
“Institutions that are God’s instruments to carry forward His work on the earth must be sustained. Churches must be erected, schools established, and publishing houses furnished with facilities for doing a great work in the publication of the truth to be sent to all parts of the world. These institutions are ordained of God and should be sustained by tithes and liberal offerings.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 464
“I have had special instruction from the Lord that the tithe is for a special purpose, consecrated to God to sustain those who minister in the sacred work, as the Lord’s chosen to do His work not only in sermonizing, but in ministering. They should understand all that this comprehends.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, 187
“Light has been plainly given that those who minister in our schools, teaching the word of God, explaining the Scriptures, educating the students in the things of God, should be supported by the tithe money. This instruction was given long ago, and more recently it has been repeated again and again.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 215
“The tithe should go to those who labor in word and doctrine, be they men or women.” Evangelism, 492
We Are Responsible for the Use of Our Tithe
The gospel confers individual responsibility upon each of us. In no case can this personal responsibility be avoided or transferred. God will not condone our using tithe for the preaching of apostasy or any use other than specified: “There are fearful woes for those who preach the truth, but are not sanctified by it, and also for those who consent to receive and maintain the unsanctified to minister to them in word and doctrine.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 261, 262
Diversion of Tithe
One of Satan’s major goals is to divert the money that should be coming into the Lord’s treasury and thereby dry up the financial resources to finish God’s work. He has successfully done this by causing men to neglect to give, to invest in worldly speculations that fail, to bequeath their property to children and grandchildren who do not love the truth, and by the needless use of funds for selfish gratification.
We have a responsibility to be sure that our tithe and gifts to God’s cause are supporting the preaching of the truth and that the devil does not out-general us and secure those assets that God has placed into our hands into the wrong storehouse.
What Is The Storehouse?
Only two storehouses exist in the world, “There are only two places in the world where we can deposit our treasures—in God’s storehouse or in Satan’s, and all that is not devoted to Christ’s service is counted on Satan’s side and goes to strengthen his cause.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 448
Where Is The Storehouse?
“Do not worry lest some means shall go direct to those who are trying to do missionary work in a quiet and effective way. All the means is not to be handled by one agency or organization.” Spalding Magan, 421
“Send direct to the people. God’s ways are not to be counterworked by man’s ways. . . . Have this money come direct to your destitute portion of the vineyard. The Lord has not specified any regular channel through which means should pass.” Spalding Magan, 498
Surplus Tithe Money
“If you have means that is not needed after settling with your ministers in a liberal manner, send the Lord’s money to these destitute places,” (missions and churches with limited tithe.) Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, 184
Regular And Irregular Lines
In Ellen White’s day the terms “regular workers” and “regular lines” referred to conference employees and programs and “irregular workers” were the independent ministries. “For years the same routine, the same ‘regular way’ of working has been followed, and God’s work has been greatly hindered. . . .
“God calls for a revival and a reformation. The ‘regular lines’ have not done the work which God desires to see accomplished. Let revival and reformation make constant changes. Something has been done in this line, but let not the work stop here. No! Let every yoke be broken. Let men awaken to the realization that they have an individual responsibility.
“The present showing is sufficient to prove to all who have the true missionary spirit that the ‘regular lines’ may prove a failure and a snare. God helping His people, the circle of kings who dared to take such great responsibilities shall never again exercise their unsanctified power in the so-called ‘regular lines.’ Too much power has been invested in unrevived, unreformed human agencies.” Spalding Magan, 175
“The people to whom God has given His means are amenable to Him alone. It is their privilege to give direct aide and assistance to missions.” Spalding Magan, 177
Special Counsel Concerning Bible Workers
The following quotation is helpful as we seek to answer the question of using tithe money to pay a person not in conference employ: “There are minister’s wives, Sisters Starr, Haskell, Wilson and Robinson, who have been devoted, earnest, whole-souled workers, giving Bible readings and praying with families, helping along by personal efforts just as successfully as their husbands. These women give their whole time, and are told that they receive nothing for their labors because their husbands receive their wages. I tell them to go forward and all such decisions shall be reversed. The Word says, ‘The laborer is worthy of his hire.’ When any such decision as this is made, I will in the name of the Lord, protest. I will feel it in my duty to create a fund from my tithe money, to pay these women who are accomplishing just as essential work in the same line as that of the ministers, hunting for souls, fishing for souls. I know that the faithful women should be paid wages proportionate to the pay received by ministers. They carry the burden of souls, and should not be treated unjustly. These sisters are giving their time to education those newly come to the faith, and hire their own work done, and pay those who work for them.” Spalding Magan, 117
Obviously this same counsel would apply to full-time Bible workers today.
Special Need For Bible Workers
It is God’s will that we prepare thousands to do Bible work. (See Testimonies, vol. 9, 126.) “In every school that God has established there will be, as never before, demand for Bible instruction.” Evangelism, 42. What is this Bible instruction to accomplish? The next sentence says, “Our students are to be educated to become Bible workers.” Ibid. “In every city there should be a corps of organized, well-disciplined workers; not merely one or two, but scores should be set to work.” Christian Service, 72
This work will require money. “It almost seems as if scarcely anyone dares ask a worker to go into cities, because of the means that would be required to carry on a strong, solid work. It is true that much means will be required in order to do our duty toward the unwarned in these places; and God desires us to lift our voices and our influence in favor of using means wisely in this special line of effort.” Evangelism, 42
If We Fail God’s Plan Will Succeed Through Others
If none of us feel a responsibility to fill the gap and become trained in Bible work and then help to train others, the Lord will pass us by and finish His work with others. If we do not feel a responsibility that all of our tithe support the giving of the three angel’s messages, God can at any time find other intelligences and other money or sources of support to finish His work, but we will be the losers. If we support apostasy with our tithe and offerings we are not hastening the Lord’s coming by getting the last message to all the world—rather we are delaying His coming and in dire danger of being accounted as an evil servant at the end. Matthew 24:44–51
“Let me tell you that the Lord will work in this last work in a manner very much out of the common order of things, and in a way that will be contrary to any human planning. There will be those among us who will always want to control the work of God, to dictate even what movements shall be made when the work goes forward under the direction of the angel who joins the third angel in the message to be given to the world. God will use ways and means by which it will be seen that He is taking the reins in His own hands. The workers will be surprised by the simple means that He will use to bring about and perfect His work of righteousness.” Testimonies to Ministers, 300
“There will soon be an awakening that will surprise many. Those who do not realize the necessity of what is to be done, will be passed by, and the heavenly messengers will work with those who are called the common people, fitting them to carry the truth to many places. Now is the time for us to awake and do what we can.” Loma Linda Messages, 83
“If we are to bear a part in this work to its close, we must recognize the fact that there are good things to come to the people of God in a way that we had not discerned; and that there will be resistance from the very ones we expect to engage in such a work. A man that is sincere in the wrong is not justified in the wrong.” 1888 Materials, 1024
Tithe and Educational Reform
God’s plan for the rapid finishing of His work in the world involved educational reform that would refashion people’s thinking about who and what the church is, who and what a minister is, who is qualified to receive tithe and what kind of education this person should receive.
“With such an army of workers as our youth, rightly trained, might furnish, how soon the message of a crucified, risen, and soon-coming Savior might be carried to the whole world!” Education, 271
This missionary training was to prepare young people as quickly as possible for a useful life as a self-supporting or mission board supported missionary. Adventist young people were to be taught the great reforms that God had given to His people—reforms in dress, diet, education, recreation, healthful lifestyle, methods of healing, and reforms in church organization. This training would also include manual skills, would not include games and amusements, and would be offered in a simple setting with simple buildings.
Adventist education was to train young people to be thinkers and to be able to govern themselves instead of being merely reflectors of other men’s thoughts and having to be governed by others.
The Connection Between Christian Education and Tithe
Many times in the past different ones were led to reject truth because they didn’t understand that God is not dependent upon the literary institutions to prepare His workers and they have looked only to the graduates of these institutions for instruction and have sent their tithe support only to these workers. God has often used those that He has trained in another manner to carry forward His work.
In the last great work of God for the world, “the Lord will work through humble instruments, leading the minds of those who consecrate themselves to His service. The laborers will be qualified rather by the unction of the Spirit than by the training of literary institutions.” Great Controversy, 606
The tithe and offering issue has to do with more than what organization you send it to. It has to do with more than just money and who is going to handle God’s money in this world. It has much to do with the finishing of God’s work. As long as your money goes to support apostasy there will not be revival and reformation for you because “where your treasure is there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:21