Stewardship

According to Psalm 24:1, everything belongs to the Lord. 1 Chronicles 29:11, 12. However large or small our possessions, they are ours only in trust. For our life, strength, skill, time, talents, opportunities, and means, we must render an account to God. 1 Corinthians 4:1, 2; Matthew 25:14-30.

 

"Men... seem to think that they have a right to do with their means just as it pleases them, no matter what the Lord has commanded, or what may be the need of their fellow men. They forget that all they claim as theirs, has simply been entrusted to them."—Counsels on Stewardship, p. 112.

 

"Our money has not been given us that we might honor and glorify ourselves. As faithful stewards we are to use it for the honor and glory of God.... All we possess is the Lord's, and we are accountable to Him for the use we make of it. In the use of every penny, it will be seen whether we love God supremely and our neighbor as ourselves.

 

"Money has great value, because it can do great good. In the hands of God's children it is food for the hungry, drink for the thirsty, and clothing for the naked. It is a defense for the oppressed, and a means of help to the sick. But money is of no more value than sand, only as it is put to use in providing for the necessities of life, in blessing others, and advancing the cause of Christ." —Christ's Object Lessons, p. 351.

 

"Let us surrender ourselves a living sacrifice, and give our all to Jesus. It is His; we are His purchased possession. Those who are recipients of His grace, who contemplate the cross of Calvary, will not question concerning the proportion to be given, but will feel that the richest offering is all too meager, all disproportionate to the great gift of the only-begotten Son of the infinite God. Through self-denial, the poorest will find ways of obtaining something to give back to God.—(RH July 14, 1896.)"—Counsels on Stewardship, p. 200.

 

Faithful and Wise Stewards

A wise and faithful steward is careful with that which God has given him. Matthew 24:45-47; 2 Thessalonians 3:10-13; Proverbs 11:24, 25.

 

Even though we believe that Jesus is coming soon, we also receive instruction that "if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel." Therefore, as individuals, we should presently make provision for the uncertain future till our Saviour shall appear. Luke 19:13; 1 Timothy 5:8.

 

Tithe

In recognition of God's ownership of all things, we are required to return to Him one-tenth (a tithe) of all our increase. Leviticus 27:30-33; Matthew 23:23; 1 Corinthians 9:14. The Bible teaches that withholding the tithe is a violation of the eight commandment (Exodus 20:15). Malachi 3:8, 9.

 

Under the priesthood after the order of Melchisedec, God still claims our tithes. Hebrews 7:1-8 (cf Revelation 1:18). The Lord's tenth must be returned to Him regularly through the storehouse, the church, of which one is a member or attending. Deuteronomy 12:5, 6; Nehemiah 13:11, 12. Our prosperity depends upon our faithfulness to this principle. Proverbs 3:9, 10; Malachi 3:10, 11.

 

"Let each regularly examine his income, which is all a blessing from God, and set apart the tithe as a separate fund, to be sacredly the Lord's. This fund should not in any case be devoted to any other use; it is to be devoted solely to support the ministry of the gospel. After the tithe is set apart, let gifts and offerings be apportioned, 'as God hath prospered' you."—Counsels on Stewardship, p. 81.

 

"A very plain, definite message has been given to me for 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 should be applied. Those who make this use of the tithe are departing from the Lord's arrangement. God will judge for these things.

 

"One reasons that the tithe may be applied to school purposes. Still others 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."—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, pp. 248-249.

 

"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."—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 250.

 

"Our conferences look to the schools for educated and well‑trained laborers, and they should give the schools a most hearty and intelligent support. 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."—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 215.

 

"Many confessed that they had not paid tithes for years; and we know that God cannot bless those who are robbing Him, and that the church must suffer in consequence of the sins of its individual members."—Counsels on Stewardship, p. 95.

 

"If all would take the Scripture just as it reads, and open their hearts to understand the word of the Lord, they would not say, 'I cannot see the tithing question. I cannot see that in my circumstances I should pay tithes.' 'Will a man rob God?' The consequence of doing so is plainly stated, and I would not risk the consequence. All who take a wholehearted, decided position to obey God; who will not take the Lord's reserved funds—His own money—to settle their debts; who will render to the Lord the portion that He claims as His own, will receive the blessing of God which is promised to all who obey Him."—Special Testimony to Battle Creek Church, pp. 9, 10 [August, 1896].—Counsels on Stewardship, pp. 92-93.

 

"One tenth of all the increase was claimed by the Lord as His own, and to withhold the tithe was regarded by Him as robbery."—Acts of the Apostles, p. 336.

 

First Fruits

As God saved the first-born in the last plague in Egypt, He claims as His the first portion of all our increase. Exodus 23:19; Leviticus 23:10; Proverbs 3:9.

 

Freewill Offerings

While God claims one-tenth of our increase as our duty to Him, He gives us the remaining nine-tenths to use as our love for Him will suggest. One measure of our love for God is revealed in the freedom and joy with which we give to His cause on earth in freewill offerings, which should be proportionate to our prosperity. Exodus 25:2; Deuteronomy 16:16, 17; 1 Chronicles 16:29; Psalm 96:8.

 

"Practical benevolence will give spiritual life to thousands of nominal professors of the truth who now mourn over their darkness. It will transform them from selfish, covetous worshipers of mammon to earnest, faithful co-workers with Christ in the salvation of sinners."—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 387.

 

"The contributions required of the Hebrews for religious and charitable purposes amounted to fully one-fourth of their income. So heavy a tax upon the resources of the people might be expected to reduce them to poverty; but, on the contrary, the faithful observance of these regulations was one of the conditions of their prosperity."—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 527.

 

"Some have excused themselves from aiding the cause of God because they were in debt. Had they closely examined their own hearts, they would have discovered that selfishness was the true reason why they brought no freewill offering to God. Some will always remain in debt. Because of their covetousness, the prospering hand of God will not be with them to bless their undertakings. They love this world better than the truth. They are not being fitted up and made ready for the kingdom of God."—Counsels on Stewardship, p. 93.

 

"In the days of Israel the tithe and freewill offerings were needed to maintain the ordinances of divine service. Should the people of God give less in this age? The principle laid down by Christ is that our offerings should be in proportion to the light and privileges enjoyed."—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 528.

 

"Well, says one, the calls keep coming to give to the cause; I am weary of giving. Are you? Then let me ask: Are you weary of receiving from God's beneficent hand? Not until He ceases to bless you will you cease to be under bonds to return to Him the portion He claims. He blesses you that it may be in your power to bless others. When you are weary of receiving, then you may say: I am weary of so many calls to give. God reserves to Himself a portion of all that we receive. When this is returned to Him, the remaining portion is blessed, but when it is withheld, the whole is sooner or later cursed. God's claim is first; every other is secondary."—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 150.

 

Talents

"All that we have is the Lord's. Our money, our time, talents and ourselves, all belong to him. He has lent them to us, to test and prove us, and to develop what is in our hearts. If we selfishly claim as our own the favors God has graciously intrusted to us, we shall meet with great loss, for we rob God, and in robbing him, we rob ourselves of heavenly blessings, and the benediction Christ will give the faithful and obedient: 'Well done, good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.'"—Signs of the Times, April 1, 1875.