Ellen G. White Writings

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The Southern Watchman

February 14, 1905

Tithes and Offerings

It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.”

In the days of Malachi God gave his people words of reproof, warning, and instruction, but those who should have profited by these messages, seemed to continue their violation of right principles. Patiently the Lord dealt with them. “Even from the day of your fathers,” he declared, “ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you.”

It would seem that every heart would have responded to this invitation. The God of heaven pleaded with his erring children to return to him, that they might again co-operate with him in carrying forward his work in the earth. But they remained impenitent. Self-vindication is apparent in their response, “Wherein shall we return?”

The Lord revealed to his people their special sin. “Will a man rob God?” he asked. “Yet ye have robbed me.” Still unconvicted of sin, the disobedient inquired, “Wherein have we robbed thee?”

Definite indeed is the Lord's answer: “In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.”

The Lord has been greatly dishonored by the failure of the church to impart of their means for the advancement of the work which he desires to see going forward with power. I entreat my brethren and sisters throughout the world to awaken to the responsibility that rests upon them to pay a faithful tithe. Do not allow lax principles to lead you to rob God. Keep a faithful account with your Creator. Realize fully the importance of being just with him who has divine foreknowledge. Let every one search his heart diligently. Let him look up his accounts, and find out how he stands related to God.

He who gave his only begotten Son to die for you, has made a covenant with you. He gives you his blessings, and in return he requires you to bring him your tithes and offerings. No one will ever dare to say that there was no way in which he could understand in regard to this matter. God's plan regarding tithes and offerings is definitely stated in the third chapter of Malachi. God calls upon his human agents to be true to the contract he has made with them. “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse,” he says, “that there may be meat in mine house.”

Duty is duty, and should be performed for its own sake. But the Lord has compassion upon us in our fallen condition, and accompanies his commands with promises. He calls upon his people to prove him, declaring that he will reward obedience with the richest blessings. “Prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.”

This message has not grown weak because of its age. It is just as binding now as when first given, and just as fresh in its importance as God's gifts are fresh and continual. There is no difficulty in understanding our duty in the light of the word of God,—this message given by his holy prophet. We are not left to stumble along in the darkness of ignorance. The truth is plainly stated, and it can be clearly understood by all who wish to be honest in the sight of God.

The subject of tithes and offerings has not been dwelt upon as it should have been. Men are not naturally inclined to be benevolent, but to be sordid and avaricious, and to live for self. And Satan is ever ready to present the advantages to be gained by using all their means for selfish, worldly purposes; he is glad when he can influence them to shirk duty, and rob God in tithes and offerings. But not one is excused in this matter. “Let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him.” The poor and the rich, the young men and women who earn wages,—all are to lay by a portion; for God claims it. The spiritual prosperity of every member of the church depends on personal effort and strict fidelity to God.

Can we not reason from cause to effect? Can we not see that because of our slothfulness in trading on the Lord's goods, because of our selfishness in refusing to return to him his own portion, his work is retarded? There is not means enough in the treasury to sustain God's laborers in the field of service. Christ looks upon a vineyard unworked, a world unwarned, with wickedness increasing on every hand. Men and women are spending the Lord's goods in selfish gratification, preparing for the fearful punishment that must come upon them unless they repent.

The treasury must be supplied with funds, that Christian missions may be set in operation and supported. Schools must be established, that the youth may be prepared to stand at the last day. The multitudes going to ruin must be labored for. For the accomplishment of this good work the gifts of God's people are needed. Let church-members do their very best in this matter. Withhold not your offering because it is small. If it is given with a willing mind and an understanding heart, the Lord will accept it, and in his hands it will be many times increased.

If all will act their part, the barrenness of the Lord's vineyard will no longer speak in condemnation of those who profess to follow Christ. The third angel's message is to be heard in all places. Economize! Strip yourselves of pride. Give to God your earthly treasure. Give what you can now, and as you co-operate with Christ, your hand will open to give still more. And God will refill your hand, that the treasure of truth may be taken to many souls. He will give to you, that you may give to others.

Mrs. E. G. White

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