I have been shown that many are robbing the Lord in tithes, and as the result His work is being hindered.
How can the beneficent Father continue to make us His stewards, if we grasp all that is placed in our care, selfishly claiming it as our own? All that we have comes from God. He gives to us, that we may be His helping hand to bless others. He requires that we return to Him the tithe. He says it is holy unto the Lord.
God will bear long. He will test and prove all; but the curse will surely follow the selfish transgressor. God knows the heart. Every thought and every purpose is open to His eye. He says, “Them that honor Me I will honor.” [1 Samuel 2:30.] He knows whom to bless, and who deserves the curse. He makes no mistakes. Angels are keeping a record of all our works. When we rob God of the tithe, we also rob ourselves: for we lose the heavenly treasure. We deprive ourselves of the blessing of God, which is promised to those who deal honestly with Him. “There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.” [Proverbs 11:24.] God’s ministers should not fail to warn the people, showing from the Bible the result of withholding the tithe.
When men realize that they are not their own, that they are bought with a price, and are therefore the Lord’s property, and all they have is simply intrusted to them as His stewards, they will, with cheerful heart, render to God the things that are His, and there will be no occasion to urge or beg for the tithe. All will realize that they are not proprietors, but stewards, and will know that they must give an account of their Lord’s money. . . .
The tithe should be consecrated to God. His requirements come first. We are not doing His will if we consecrate to Him what is left after all our wants have been supplied. Before any part of our income is consumed, we should take out and present to Him that portion which He claims as His. When this is done, the remainder will be sanctified and blessed to our own use. But when we withhold that which He says is His, the curse rests upon the whole, and we are recorded in the books of heaven as guilty of robbery. God gives man nine-tenths, but the one-tenth He claims for sacred purposes,—as He has given man six days for his own work, and has reserved the seventh day to Himself.
The tithing system was founded upon a principle which is as enduring as the law of God. It will be a blessing to those who will carry it out to the end of time. Our heavenly Father did not originate the system to enrich Himself, but to be a great blessing to man.
The simplicity of the plan shows the wisdom of God in its arrangement. Everything bearing the divine stamp unites simplicity with utility. Those who return to the Lord the tenth, will find it true that the nine-tenths are worth more to them than the ten-tenths. . . .
If all the tithes were brought into the storehouse, God’s treasury would not be empty. [Malachi 3:10 quoted.] When man does his part, God never fails to fulfil His promises.
God asks not only the tithe, but says we are to come to Him with tithes and offerings. Some will say that this was one of the rigorous laws binding upon the Hebrews: But it was not a burden to the willing heart that loved God. It is only when the selfish nature is made stronger by withholding that which God has given us that we might bless others, that we value earthly treasures above souls, above the blessings that are for the unselfish.
There are even more urgent necessities upon the Israel of God in these last days than were upon ancient Israel, for there is a great and important work to be accomplished in a very short time. God designed that the spirit of sacrifice should broaden and deepen for the closing work.
As followers of Christ we do not realize our true position. We do not have correct views of our responsibilities. We are stewards of our Lord, and the interests and prosperity of His cause should receive our first and best attention. In the balances of the sanctuary our gifts are not estimated according to the amount given, but according to the self-denial, prompted by love for Christ, that the gift has cost. . . .
An all-wise God knew what was best when He gave to His people the plan of systematic offerings. They found that when they tried to increase their possessions, by withholding from God their tithes and offerings, the effort was sure to be a failure.
When we humbly use what God has given us for the honor of the Giver, we may feel at all times the peace and assurance that God’s hand is over us for good; for the treasure which is used to advance the cause of God, and which is given to the needy in Christ’s name, is given to Christ, and He lays it up for us in heaven. Then we grow rich. There is no danger of loss nor poverty when one has everlasting riches in heaven’s bank. Covetousness is idolatry; and it was to aid us in keeping the commandments that God originated the plan for tithes and offerings.
Free-will offerings of self-denial, made in faith and love to the Redeemer, will bring back blessings. Every act of liberality on the part of His saints is recorded in the books of heaven. We are to become like God. He gave all to save us.
In God’s system of offerings He would impress upon the minds of His people that the Lord is the great Proprietor. He must have the first place in their minds. He would have them know their dependence on Him. . . . Would that those of this day who rejoice in a Saviour’s love, could realize that their silver and gold, their time and strength, are the Lord’s and should be used to promote His glory, not grudgingly retained to gratify self.
God knows, and all who have had the experience know, that there is an elevated and permanent happiness in giving willingly and freely to bless others, which those who spend all on self-gratification, or hoard for greed of gain, can never experience. It is to bless us, to make us happy and rich, that God asks us to adopt His plan of giving. The spirit of liberality is the spirit of heaven. Selfishness is the spirit of Satan. . . .
God in His wise plan has made the advancement of His cause dependent upon the personal efforts and free-will offerings of the people. By giving man the opportunity of becoming a copartner in the great plan of redemption, the Lord has placed a signal honor upon him, greater than has been conferred upon the angels. They would gladly do the work that God, in His love, has made it possible for man to do.
Some say: “We are tired of giving. It is the old cry, ‘Give, give.’ ” If we are tired of giving, we should be tired of receiving; for this is why God gives to us, that we may be channels through which His gifts may reach others, and we have the reward. As soon as we wish in our hearts that there would be no more calls to give, we virtually desire that the cause of God shall make no further progress, and that the gospel of the kingdom shall not be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, that the end may come.
As we near the end, the gospel will go with greater and yet greater rapidity. And opportunities will be given us to give more and more of the means of which the Lord had made us His stewards. In this God would have us act as His colaborers. What a blessing, to be a worker and an heir with the world’s Redeemer! If we suffer with Him, the promise is, we shall also reign with Him. As we hear the calls and demands being more and more urgently made for means to enter the many doors that are opening, we may know that the Lord’s coming is nearing. Who would delay it by withholding for selfish gratification the means God has placed in our hands for this very work?
Pacific Union Recorder, October 10, 1901; October 24, 1901.