Ellen G. White Writings

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East Michigan Banner

March 15, 1905

The Church and its Mission

No. 4

Honest Tithing

Not only does the Lord claim the tithe as his own, but he tells us how it should be reserved for him. He says, “Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of thine increase.” This does not teach us that we are to spend our means on ourselves, and bring to the Lord the remnant, even though it should be otherwise an honest tithe. Let God's portion be first set apart. 1 Corinthians 16:2, applies also to tithing.

Solemn Appeal

There is a work to be done in the churches. A different testimony must go forth. I am terribly alarmed. Throughout the churches there is selfishness and sin, dishonesty, unbelief, criticism and fault-finding. It is high time to wake out of sleep. You who have long lost the spirit of prayer; pray, pray earnestly. Pity thy suffering cause; pity the church; pity the individual believers, thou Father of mercies. Take from us everything that defiles, deny us what thou wilt; but take not from us Thy holy spirit.

The Church's Needs

The churches need to be impressed that it is their duty to deal honestly with the cause of God, not allowing the guilt of the worst kind of robbery to rest upon them—that of robbing God in tithes and offerings. Instead of bringing the work down to a low figure, it is your duty to bring the minds of the people to understand that “the laborer is worthy of his hire.”

Shall it be Small Pay?

When settlements are made with the laborers in his cause, they should not be forced to accept small remuneration because there is a lack of means in the treasury. Many have been defrauded of their just dues in this way, and it is just as criminal in the sight of God, as for one to keep back the wages of one who is employed in any other regular business. It is the worst kind of generalship to allow a conference to stand still or to fail to settle its honest debts. There is a great deal of this done, and whenever this is done, God is displeased.

There has not been money in the treasury to supply ministers for the service of God.

Why should ministers be half-paid and at the same time talk so begrudgingly of that which they do receive? When this work shall cease in our churches, a living testimony will go forth from human lips, under the operation of the Holy Ghost.

Minister's Work

The auditing committee has not always tried with most humble prayer for guidance, to act in every case towards the servants of Jesus Christ as they would toward the person of Christ, or as they themselves would wish to be treated. But said Christ, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” It is a very serious matter that men by the word of their mouth, and some in a hardened sang-froid manner, have decided that means shall go to the workers in the field. I will give you a chapter in my experience. We have found it necessary to build a home, and have hired carpenters, painters and others to do the several portions of the work. The master workman has two dollars per day, working eight hours only. As soon as the eight hours are over, the tools are laid aside and work ceases.

These men do not receive according to the amount of work done, but according to the hours worked. If a man is not an apt, quick workman, but loiters over his work, that is the loss of the one who pays him. Another may be a much quicker workman, showing that he has intelligence and can use it; his aptitude and correct judgment may be a treasure to him and a satisfaction to his employer, but he may receive only the same wages. After the week's work is done and payment made, the amount of work done has nothing to do with the sum received. A slow unprofitable man never thinks it his duty to make up for his want of sharp thought, but receives his pay as his right. These men have not the burden of dealing with human minds. Senseless material and building materials are all they are dealing with. They can hammer just as loud and energetic as they please, and it hurts not the soulless material.

But God's shepherds who are to watch as well as to labor for souls, as they that must give an account, can not work in this way, The chosen missionary must go forth under all circumstances, moving his family from place to place, and from country to country. This moving is expensive. In order to exert a good influence, the wife of the missionary must set a proper example in neat and tidy dress. Her children must be trained and educated with much painstaking effort, for everything must be made to tell in missionary lines. The laborer who represents Christ must dress plainly and yet properly, as becoming a minister of Christ. The ministers of our conference cannot say they have a home, for they are sometimes in this country and sometimes in that. The people for whom they labor are poor, but Christ came to preach the gospel to the poor. This is the work the Lord's shepherds are to do.

Money is consumed in traveling from place to place, in settling and unsettling every few months, in buying household goods and selling them again or venturing transportation. The entire family have no release from their efforts; for they must always appear cheerful and fresh, that they may bring sunshine into the minds of those who need help.

Mrs. E. G. White.

(To be Continued.)

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