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    IV.

    We have seen that the tithe is to be used solely for the purpose of supporting the ministry; but money is required for various other purposes in the cause of God, besides this. Therefore we find in the Bible that offerings were made for special purposes. In the 25th of Exodus we have an instance. The people needed a sanctuary, where they could worship God. Did they vote to reserve a portion of the whole of their tithe for this purpose? No; the Lord directed them as follows: “Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering; of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering.” “And let them make be a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.” Exodus 25:2, 8. The intervening verses tell of what the offerings were to consist.HDTG 25.1

    Remember that these offerings were all to be given willingly, with the heart. The Lord takes no pleasure in service grudgingly performed. Paul says, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7. In the case under consideration we have an example of the results of such giving; for that the children of Israel did give cheerfully and willingly is stated in Exodus 35:20-29. And here is the result:—HDTG 26.1

    “And all the wise men, that wrought all the work of the sanctuary, came every man from his work which they made; and they spake unto Moses, saying, The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work, which the Lord commanded to make. And Moses gave commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, 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.” Exodus 36:4-7. The same plan was pursued when the temple was to be built. See 1 Chronicles 29:1-9. The people did not take their tithes, but brought offerings; and it may not be amiss to note right here, for the emulation of modern church builders, that these places of worship were entirely paid for before they were built.HDTG 26.2

    What a contrast this presents to modern giving! Who ever heard of a similar instance among any other people? Here there was nothing like a fair, or an oyster supper, or a strawberry festival, by which people now coax unwilling dimes from the pockets of worldlings and professors alike, for the benefit of the church; we do not read that Moses went around to remind the people of their duty, and urge them to help the good work along; but “the children of Israel brought a willing offering.” We are forced to the conclusion that when people need urging even to make a pledge to help on in the cause, and then need continual reminders of their obligation, there must be a great lack of that cheerful readiness to give that is so pleasing to God.HDTG 26.3

    Now we will compare with this an incident in connection with the tithe. When Hezekiah came to the throne of Israel, he found things in a very bad condition. The temple of the Lord was forsaken, and the people were worshiping idols. In 2 Chronicles, chapters 29 to 31, we have an account of the restoration of the true religion by Hezekiah. He revived the ancient worship, and brought the priests and Levites back to their service in the temple. But of course the treasury was empty, for while the people were worshiping idols, they did not pay their tithe. But Hezekiah gave commandment to set aside the portion of the Levites, and the people came promptly forward and did their duty. The record says: “And as soon as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel brought in abundance the first-fruits of corn, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the field; and the tithe of all things brought they in abundantly.” 2 Chronicles 31:5.HDTG 27.1

    For four months the people continued to bring in their tithe, laying them in heaps, and then Hezekiah and the princes came to see what had been done. “Then Hezekiah questioned with the priests and the Levites concerning the heaps. And Azariah the chief priest of the house of Zadok answered him, and said, Since the people began to bring the offerings into the house of the Lord, we have had enough to eat, and have left plenty: for the Lord hath blessed his people; and that which is left is this great store.” Verses 9, 10.HDTG 28.1

    Now what did the people do? Did they stop bringing in the tithes, because there was enough on hand? We read further, “Then Hezekiah commanded to prepare chambers in the house of the Lord; and they prepared them, and brought in the offerings and the tithes and the dedicated things faithfully.” Verses 11, 12. That is, instead of stopping, they made additional room in which to place the tithes, and continued bringing them in. This is just what we should expect from those who realize the sacredness of the tithe. “The tithe is the Lord’s,” and must be restored to him, whether it is little or much.HDTG 28.2

    We have heard of men who would stop paying their tithe because it seemed to them that there was enough money in the treasury to supply all present wants. We have known others to stop paying because they have not received as much ministerial labor in their churches they thought was their due. Others refuse to pay because some one has wronged them; and there is no limit to the excuses that may be made to evade the payment of the Lord’s portion, when the individual does not want to pay. But no excuse will avail. Suppose that the people have done their duty, as the Israelites did, and have been blessed in consequence, as they were. According to the promise (Proverbs 3:9, 10) the Lord has given them abundance, because they have honored him. Now shall they say, “We have done enough; the Lord has received all he needs”? That would not only be foolish, but positively wicked. Yet that is just what some people do. Perhaps the Lord has designed a much greater work than has been done, and is preparing in this way the means with which to carry it forward; but men, by withholding his due, say, there is enough being done; and while they profess to want to see the cause advance, and may even pray for its prosperity, they stand in the way of its advancement.HDTG 28.3

    We would not deal in this way with a neighbor. If we owed them a man a sum of money, we would not think of refusing to pay it to him, on the ground that he was already well provided for. And if we should do so, our creditor would soon take steps to compel us to give him his due, and we would be made to understand that the fact that he was rich would not absolve us from a just obligation. Why will men deal more honestly with their fellow-men than with their Maker? Is it because God is seemingly indifferent, and does not at once present his claim? And in that case, are we to judge that these same ones would defraud their neighbors, if they could do so without fear of prosecution? Think of it in this light; but always remember that God keeps an account, and, although it may be after a long time, he will surely reckon with his servants.HDTG 29.1

    And yet it should not be for this reason alone that we give the Lord his due. Remember the privileges that we enjoy, far exceeding those of the ancient Jews, whose liberality has never been exceeded by any people. Christ said to Simon, that “to whom little is given, the same loveth little;” and by the same rule, he to whom much is given, will love much, unless he fails entirely to realize what has been done for him. When we realize the infinite price that has been paid for our redemption, we shall be able to sing from the heart the words,
    “Were the whole realm of nature mine,
    That were a tribute far too small;
    Love so amazing, so divine,
    Demands my life, my soul, my all.”
    HDTG 30.1

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