Ellen G. White Writings

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The Southern Watchman

February 28, 1905

Giving Willingly

When the people of God were about to build the sanctuary in the wilderness, extensive preparations were made. Costly materials were collected, and among them was much gold and silver. As the rightful owner of all their treasures, the Lord called for these offerings from the people; but he accepted only those that were given freely. The people offered willingly, until the word was brought to Moses: “The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work, which the Lord commanded to make.” And the proclamation was made to all the congregation: “Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the sanctuary. So the people were restrained from bringing; for the stuff they had was sufficient for all the work to make it, and too much.”

The Lord requires that we return to him, in tithes and offerings, a portion of the goods he has lent us. He accepts these offerings as an act of humble obedience on our part, and a grateful acknowledgment of our indebtedness to him for all the blessings we enjoy. Then let us offer willingly, saying, with David, “All things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.” Withholding more than is meet tends to poverty.

God will bear long with some; he will test and prove all; but his curse will surely follow the selfish, world-loving professor of truth. God knows the heart; every thought and every purpose is open to his eye. He says, “Them that honor me I will honor, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.” He knows whom to bless, and who are deserving of his curse. He makes no mistakes; for angels are keeping a record of all our words and works.

“God loveth a cheerful giver,” and those who love him will give freely and cheerfully when by so doing they can advance his cause and promote his glory. The Lord never requires his people to offer more than they are able; but according to their ability to give, he is pleased to accept and bless their thank-offerings. Let willing obedience and pure love bind upon the altar every offering that is made to God; for with such sacrifices he is well pleased, while those that are offered grudgingly are an offence to him. When churches or individuals have no heart in their offerings, but would limit the cost of carrying forward the work of God, and gauge it by their own narrow views, they show decidedly that they have no living connection with God. They are at variance with his plan and manner of working, and he cannot bless them.

All that you have and are belongs to God. Then will you not say from the heart, “All things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee”? “Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first-fruits of all thine increase.” As ye abound in everything, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.”

Thus Paul exhorted his Corinthian brethren to show Christian beneficence. And in his epistle to Timothy he wrote: “Charge them that are rich in this world that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”

Liberality is not so natural to us that we gain this virtue by accident. It must be cultivated. We must deliberately resolve that we will honor God with our substance; and then we must let nothing tempt us to rob him of the tithes and offerings that are his due. We must be intelligent, systematic, and continuous in our acts of charity to men, and in our expressions of gratitude to God for his bounties to us.

We should regularly reserve something for God's cause, that he may not be robbed of the portion which he claims. This is too sacred a duty to be left to chance, or to be controlled by impulse or feeling. When we rob God, we rob ourselves also; we give up the heavenly treasure for the sake of having more of this earth. This is a loss that we cannot afford to sustain.

Presented in a spirit of reverence and gratitude, our gifts are recognized in heaven above. It is the humility, the thankfulness, the reverence with which the gifts are offered, that make them a sweet-smelling savor, acceptable to God. We should ever remember that he is not indebted to us for that which we return to him. He is the One to whom we owe our all.

“This day the Lord thy God hath commanded thee to do these statutes and judgments: thou shalt therefore keep and do them with all thy heart, and with all thy soul.

Mrs. E. G. White

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