"LET THERE BE LIGHT" Ministries
STEWARDSHIP IS NON-TRANSFERABLE
God has made each one of us responsible for whom we support with God's sacred tithe.
"There are only two places in the world where we can deposit our treasures--in God's storehouse or in Satan's, and all that is not devoted to Christ's service is counted on Satan's side and goes to strengthen his cause." 6T 448.
"If God pronounces a woe upon those who are called to preach the truth and refuse to obey, a heavier woe rests upon those who take upon them this sacred work without clean hands and pure hearts. As there are woes for those who preach the truth while they are unsanctified in heart and life, so there are woes for those who receive and maintain the unsanctified in the position which they cannot fill." 2T 552 (see also 1T 261-62).
Not only has God made us individually His stewards over His tithes and offerings, but we are also a treasury or storehouse where these tithes and offerings can be found and sent to support the work (see 3T 388-89; Spalding-Magan Collection, p 163, 168, 176-77, 215-16, 419-22, 498). This stewardship is a solemn responsibility which we are not to bargain away or pass off to anyone else or to any church (see TM 361-62; 9T 51; DA 617; 1888 Materials, p 1234-38). We are individually responsible to God to invest this means ourselves, and we are held responsible as to whom we give this money!
But with increasing frequency, questions are being raised as to whom can be safely supported with God's sacred tithes and free-will offerings. Since apostasy has gutted the SDA church and is extending its vile tendrils throughout the church system world-wide, and will continue to do so until the Lord comes (see Series B#7, p 56-57), the church is definitely not a place God desires to be supported with His sacred tithe. And if we did pay God's tithe to the apostate church, then we would be robbing God--even though we were paying tithe! We would also be held responsible for supporting the church's apostasy and supplying it with money to continue its rebellion against God. But the apostate church is not the only place we could be paying our tithes to and yet still be robbing God.
The various and growing Independent Ministries and ministers came into existence because of the apostasy of the SDA church. Yet, not all of these Independent Ministries and ministers are called of God or are being directly used of God to further His work of spreading His present truth far and wide today. If we give a false Independent Ministry or minister God's sacred tithe money, then we are still robbing God--even though we were paying tithe!
To make matters even worse, many Independent Ministries and ministers are nothing more than covert guideposts directing our unwary and unstudied people back into the clutches of the apostate church. Other Independents are content to remain two-faced by riding the edge of the fence rail so that support can be obtained from Adventists both inside, as well as outside, the apostate church. Others are involved in spreading fanatical and erroneous doctrines. Several other Independent Ministries and ministers have completely severed all connections with the apostate church, and with the little tithe they obtain, are working unhindered to speed God's present truth around the world. Thus it behooves our separated people to carefully check into the positions of these different "Independent" Ministries and ministers BEFORE YOU DONATE MONEY TO THEM FOR ANY REASON OR FOR ANY PROJECT lest you find yourself guilty of supporting and promulgating doctrines which you do not believe to be true, and thus be robbing God!
With so many different Independents all calling for money to support their work, and with such apparent confusion as to whom among the many Independent Ministries and ministers one can safely support, it is little wonder that many conscientious followers of God have been unable to decide where to send God's tithes to. Thus many are pooling their tithes and waiting on God to clearly direct where to send them. Others are sending God's tithe toward any area where a need is seen--even outside of God's work. While others have begun to use this sacred money for their own use in many areas. But God has not left His people without guidance in this important issue!
God has sent clear inspired guidelines as to whom can be safely supported with His tithe so that none will be guilty of robbing God--even though they were paying tithe. So where can God's honest people direct this sacred money so that they will not be held guilty of spreading apostasy, fanaticism, or supporting false Independent Ministries and ministers, and thus rob God? WHO IS TITHE TO BE GIVEN TO?
Anciently, a tithe was given to Melchizedek for his support and use in his ministry for God (see PP 525). In the time of ancient Israel, the tithe was to be exclusively devoted to the use of the Levites who were the ministers of God (see PP 526). They used it for their support and their ministry in the work of God. In the time of the apostles, Paul states that God's tithe was to be used for the support and ministry of those who preached the true gospel (see 1 Cor 9:3-14; AA 336; 1 Tim 5:18).
But today, how is God's tithe to be used?
"The tithe is set apart for a special use....It is to be especially devoted to the support of those who are bearing God's message to the world, and it should not be diverted from this purpose." Welfare Ministry, p 277.
"God's ministers are His shepherds, appointed by Him to feed His flock. The tithe is His provision for their maintenance, and He designs that it shall be held sacred for this purpose." Pamphlets, vol 1, p 40.
"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." 9T 248.
So ministers of the true Gospel are to be supported by the tithe: whether they be medical missionaries (see MM 245-46), or school teachers (see 1MR 189; 6T 134-35, 215), or foreign missionaries (see 9T 52). Even minister's wives can be supported by tithe if they minister to others (see MR #267, p 1-2; Spalding-Magan Collection, p 117; 1MR 263). And minister's widows can be supported by tithe if they are in need (see MR #451, p 3).
The only area, other than supporting a living minister, that God's sacred tithe can be sent is for the support of God's institutions--such as schools, publishing houses, missions, or the building of churches when necessary (see 4T 464; 1MR 183-84, 190). If the tithe were to be sent to any of these institutions, it would be for the support of that institution, and not for the benefit of the one donating the tithe--such as being used for the purchasing of any produced item from that institution (like books from the publishing house, etc).
As we can clearly see, God's sacred tithe is to be used mainly for the support of His living ministers be they men or women. As only the ministers of the gospel, in their various lines of labor (medical missionaries, school teachers, etc), and also God's institutions (publishing houses, schools, missions, etc)--or in other words those agencies who are active in getting God's precious present truth messages out to others--are the only ones to be supported with God's sacred tithe, then it becomes easy to discern all the other areas which are NOT TO BE SUPPORTED WITH GOD'S TITHE.
M Are churches or meeting houses and necessities to be paid with tithe? No (see Series A#10, p 16, 18-19; 1MR 191).
M Are church expenses to be paid with tithe? No (see 9T 248; 1MR 191; CS 103).
M Are necessary church conveniences to be paid with tithe? No (see Series A#10, p 21; MR #1045, p 2).
M Are canvassers and colporteurs to be supported with tithe? No (see MR #451, p 2; 9T 248-49).
M Are unnecessary buildings to be built with tithe? No (see Spalding-Magan Collection, p 174-75).
M Can investing in real estate, stocks, bonds, shares, and other speculation schemes be purchased with tithe? No (see 1888 Materials, p 50-51, 60-62).
M Are personal debts to be paid for with tithe? No (see CS 92-93; 6T 391; 9T 247).
M Is school tuition or student aid to be paid with tithe? No (see MR #451, p 2; MR #1045, p 2-3).
M Are worthy charities to be supported with tithe? No (see Series A#10, p 19).
M Are the feeble and aged to be cared for with tithe? No (see MR #177, p 1).
M Are the poor to be supported by tithe? No (see 4T 511; WM 277).
M Are the fatherless and widows (not minister's wives) to be supported with tithe? No (see 1MR 192).
As we can clearly see, any use of the tithe other than what God has clearly specified it to be used for (mainly for the support of His ministers and ministry), is robbing God--even though tithe was being paid! Sending tithe other than where it should go is also hindering the gospel from going forward more fully. But not every Ministry or minister is to be supported!
M Are those who are lowering the standard of true Christianity to be given tithe? No (see 3T 553).
M Are those who do not advance and progress with the present truth to be supported with tithe? No (see 4T 469).
M Are those who disregard health reform to be supported with tithe? No (see 6T 378; 9T 159-60).
M Are those who preach only to receive support to be given tithe? No (see GW 237).
M Are part-time workers to be supported with tithe? No (see 2T 649).
M Are those who are involved in politics to be supported with tithe? No (see FCE 477).
But some reason away God's specific directions, declaring that they do not need to give God's tithe to His living ministers or His institutions, because they can use this sacred money to buy Bibles, Spirit of Prophecy books, tracts, or other present truth materials to hand or mail out; and this misappropriation of God's tithe is done "all in the name of the Lord!" Still others reason that they can pool their tithe money and buy copy machines, tape duplicators and cassette tapes, video recorders, travel vans or motor homes, and the list goes on and on--all justified by the human reasoning that "all this is to be used in the Lord's work." But even though these other items may be good and beneficial in spreading God's truth, but because God's sacred tithe was used to purchase these, God considers it to be robbery! This is not only robbery from God, but is also robbery from His ministers, and robbery of the light and truth from those who sit in darkness and gross darkness. All because the tithe was not used as God has clearly directed!
"The tithe you have withheld I reserve for the support of My servants in their work of opening the Scriptures to those who are in the regions of darkness, who do not understand My law. In using My reserve fund to gratify your own desires you have robbed souls of the light which I made provision for them to receive. You have had opportunity to show loyalty to Me, but you have not done this. You have robbed Me; you have stolen My reserve fund." 6T 387.
If the tithe was faithfully given where God has clearly specified it should go, then there would be many ministers of the gospel spreading God's present truth far and wide, and the work could speedily close. But this is not the case. As a result, there are but few ministers doing God's work when there should be hundreds. Those who are already in God's work become discouraged, or are forced to stop their God-given Ministry, because of the lack of money. Hence they have to find other employment with which to support their families and keep from starving. Some even work themselves to their graves in order to continue their God-given Ministry and also support their family at the same time.
"The tithe is to be used for one purpose,--to sustain the ministers whom the Lord has appointed to do His work. It is to be used to support those who speak the words of life to the people, and carry the burden of the flock of God.
"But there are ministers who have been robbed of their wages. God's provision for them has not been respected....
"A very plain, definite message has been given to me to give to 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 is to 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 appropriated to school purposes. Still others would 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...
"The use of the tithe must be looked upon as a sacred matter by our people. We must guard strictly against all that is contrary to the message now given....
"The impression is becoming quite common that the sacred disposition of the tithe no longer exists. Many have lost their sense of the Lord's requirements.
"The tithe is sacred, reserved by God for Himself. It is to be brought into His treasury to be used to sustain the gospel laborers in their work. For a long time the Lord has been robbed, because there are those who do not realize that the tithe is God's reserved portion.
"Many ministers are lying in their graves, brought there by sorrow and disappointment, and by the hardship brought upon them because they did not receive sufficient for their labors....
"There should be an abundant supply in the Lord's treasury, and there would be if selfish hearts and hands had not made use of the tithe to support other lines of work.
"God's reserved resources are to be used in no such haphazard way. The tithe is the Lord's and those who meddle with it will be punished with the loss of their heavenly treasure, unless they repent. Let the work no longer be hedged up because the tithe has been diverted into various channels other than the one to which the Lord has said it should go. 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." Manuscript 82, 1904 (MR #451, p 1-4) (see also Series A#10, p 17-18; MR #1045, p 1-5; AA 340-41; 1MR 184-85).
Since the tithe is God's sacred portion to be used mainly for the support of His living ministers in the gospel work, what can be used to purchase or support all these other necessary areas; such as buying Bibles, Spirit of Prophecy books and materials, tracts, or the postage to mail out these items, tape duplicators, copy machines, meeting house expenses or other necessities, caring for the poor and needy, or any other areas that might come up? What can be used to pay for these other necessary areas in the Lord's work? A second tithe (see Ed 44, PP 530, PK 646-47), and/or offerings (see CS 82, 299), and/or freewill gifts (3T 510-11).
So tithe is only to be used to support God's ministers and ministry, but offerings can be used to spread the printed truth.
"Christ assigned to men the work of spreading the gospel. But while some go forth to preach, He calls upon others to answer His claims upon them for tithes and offerings with which to support the ministry and to spread the printed truth all over the land." 4T 472.
Many misread and twist this testimony to say that tithes can also be retained by them to be used according to their own judgment and for their own purposes in purchasing and spreading the printed truth far and wide. But this is not according to the weight of evidence which the other testimonies have stated regarding tithe. God's tithe is solely devoted to the support of the ministers and their ministry for Him. And no one, who wants to be one of God's faithful stewards, has the right to use this sacred money according to their own judgment and purposes, independent of God's will--even if it is in the Lord's work!
"A steward identifies himself with his master. He accepts the responsibilities of a steward, and he must act in his master's stead, doing as his master would do were he presiding. His master's interests become his. The position of a steward is one of dignity because his master trusts him. If in any wise he acts selfishly and turns the advantages gained by trading with his lord's goods to his own advantage, he has perverted the trust reposed in him.
"God has given special direction as to the use of the tithe. He does not design that His work shall be crippled for want of means. That there may be no haphazard work and no error, He has made our duty on these points very plain. The portion that God has reserved for Himself is not to be diverted to any other purpose than that which He has specified. Let none feel at liberty to retain their tithe, to use according to their own judgment. They are not to use it for themselves in an emergency, nor to apply it as they see fit, even in what they may regard as the Lord's work." 9T 246-47.
The tithe is only to be used, not according to the judgment of the one paying the tithe, but according to the judgment and direction of God. Tithes are to be used only in supporting God's ministers and their ministry, but offerings can be used to purchase and spread the printed truth.
So, those who have not been giving God's sacred tithe according to the Lord's directions, whether through ignorance or not, but who have been withholding it and placing it into other areas, are registered as unfaithful stewards. They are also guilty of robbery by defrauding God and misusing, misappropriating, and diverting this sacred fund for their own usage--and every dollar will be charged against them in the books of heaven (see CS 86)!
As these people are made aware of their guilt before God of the crime of robbery, and that every dollar of His tithe which they have diverted is charged against them in the books of heaven, what are they to do?
"If you have robbed the Lord, make restitution. As far as possible, make the past right, and then ask the Saviour to pardon you." CS 98.
"The tithe is the Lord's, and those who meddle with it will be punished with the loss of their heavenly treasure unless they repent. Let the work no longer be hedged up because the tithe has been diverted into various channels other than the one to which the Lord has said it should go." 9T 249-50.
To refuse to do this work--refusing to make restitution, as far as possible, of any withheld or misused tithe; refusing to repent for misapplying it; and then refusing to comply fully with God's directions in whom we are to pay His tithe money to, may be the secret of not having our prayers answered! (see COL 144-45).
As this is true--that tithe is solely to be devoted to the support of the ministers and their ministry for God, and that offerings and gifts are to be used for the other necessary areas of the Lord's work--some will complain that they only have enough money for tithe and no extra money for offerings and gifts to God. Hence they reason that they need to use the tithe for these other things, such as books, tracts, meeting house expenses, etc, and if they cannot do so then others will suffer for want of the truth. Or others believe that they do not need to give offerings and gifts to God in addition to their tithe. Are these true positions to take? Does necessity override following the express and clearly revealed will of God? No!
"The reproof and warning and promise of the Lord are given in definite language in Malachi 3:8: `Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed Me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed Thee?' The Lord answers, `In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed Me...'...
"This message has lost none of its force. It is 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 this message, given through God's holy prophet. We are not left to stumble along in darkness and disobedience. The truth is plainly stated, and it can be clearly understood by all who wish to be honest in the sight of God. A tithe of all our income is the Lord's. He lays His hand upon that portion which He has specified that we shall return to Him, and says, I allow you to use My bounties after you have laid aside the tenth, and have come before Me with gifts and offerings.
"The Lord calls for His tithe...Besides this, He calls for your gifts and offerings. No one is compelled to present his tithe or his gifts and offerings to the Lord. But just as surely as God's word is given to us, just as surely will He require His own with usury at the hand of every human being. If men are unfaithful in rendering to God His own, if they disregard God's charge to His stewards, they will not long have the blessing of that which the Lord has entrusted to them....
"If they choose, men may refuse to connect themselves with their Maker; they may refuse to give themselves to His service, and trade upon His entrusted goods; they may fail to exercise frugality and self-denial, and may forget that the Lord requires a return of what He has given them. All such are unfaithful stewards.
"A faithful steward will do all he possibly can in the service of God; the one object before him will be the great need of the world. He will realize that the message of truth is to be given, not only in his own neighborhood, but in the regions beyond. When men cherish this spirit, the love of the truth and the sanctification they will receive through the truth, will banish avarice, overreaching, and every species of dishonesty." CS 82-83.
Yes, it will require self-denial in order to use the tithe only for what God has specified it to be used for. It will also require self-denial and sacrifice in order to give offerings and gifts to God in addition to the tithe. But what a blessing will be realized by our unselfish giving. In addition to this, we will also be able to see the truth spreading faster and wider, and know that we have a part in furthering God's work in the earth.
Anciently, God's people devoted 1/4 (PP 527) to 1/3 (3T 395, 4T 467-68) of all their income to support God's ministers and His cause, and they were greatly blessed by doing so. God's people today would also experience a greater love for, rejoicing in, and sanctification through the truth if they would also do the same--placing God's will and His cause first above their own will and cause.
Since God's people want to do all that they can to further God's cause with the money that He has lent them for this very purpose, and since we are held individually responsible for whom we give God's money to, how can we clearly know whom we can safely support?
Our first work, as God's faithful and wise stewards, is to test (by Isaiah 8:20) all the messages and stated positions of the different "so-called" Independent Ministries and ministers and institutions of God, to see if they are really standing for and preaching the complete present truth for today, or just partial truth, or truth mixed with error. This means that we individually must study for ourselves so that we can know with certainty if a particular Ministry or minister or institution is really standing for and teaching truth or error, instead of having to rely upon the testimony of someone else. We ourselves must know the truth before we can intelligently support those who are preaching the truth!
After this homework is done, and we believe that we have found a particular Ministry, minister, or institution that can be safely supported, are we to then go ahead and give them God's money? NO! Before we give anyone God's money, we must first seek God in prayer, asking Him to show us if we have chosen correctly. God knows better than ourselves who really needs His money at any given time. Also, just because we have supported someone in the past, does not mean that we can continue to support them in the future without first asking God for His approval.
Many times those who were once standing faithful and preaching the truth have, seemingly overnight, changed their positions into that of standing for truth mixed with error, or even living in sin. We would probably have continued supporting them for several more months, not realizing that they had changed leaders. But God would have known the instant they changed; and if we had looked to Him first, we would have been impressed to no longer support them. The whole key is to always seek God first for His wisdom and guidance, before we take any action--especially in regards to the giving of His money to others. If we always seek God's guidance before we move, we shall never be ashamed or disappointed with whom we gave His money to, because we would not be following our own wisdom, but the wisdom and guidance of One who never errs (see GW 455)!
Now, whom does God consider to be His true ministers or messengers of today whom we can safely support, and what message will they be heard giving? The following list will help identify God's true Ministries and ministers from the false:
M God's ministers will have a distinct message (see EW 50).
M God's ministers will be preaching present truth (see EW 62-63; TM 107).
M God's ministers will not have a past experience in Spiritualism or false sanctification (see EW 101-102).
M God's ministers will be able to meet opposition and objections with calmness, meekness, and truth (see EW 102).
M God's ministers will be willing to be servants of all, and readily confess any error (see EW 102-103).
M God's ministers will speak all the words of the Lord without worrying about their pocketbook (see PK 141- 42).
M God's ministers will use simple, not elaborate, ways and means to spread God's truths (see TM 300).
M God's ministers will give the trumpet a certain and distinct sound (see Series B#2, p 51).
M God's ministers will give a startling testing message (see 9T 137-38).
M God's ministers will give the last note of warning (LDE 80; 9T 170).
M God's ministers will be qualified by God's Spirit instead of being trained in literary institutions (see 4SP 424).
M God's ministers will lay open the sins of all churches of Babylon and call all to come out of them (see 4SP 422-25).
M God's ministers will clearly declare the church to be Babylon fallen because she rejected the truth sent to her from heaven (see 4SP 424-25).
Satan does not want God's people to clearly understand these things. He desires God's money to be retained in his own ranks and used by his Ministries and ministers who are not preaching the whole present truth (see 4SP 339). Thus the truth can not go forth with power and finish the work as quickly as God desires. As a result, many precious souls remain in captivity to apostasy, corruption, and sin instead of being freed from Satan's bondage and enfolded in the loving arms of our Saviour.
But praise God that He has given His people plain light and clear directions in answering our questions regarding tithes, offerings, and gifts. Also praise Him for showing us our own individual responsibility to invest this means ourselves, in order that we can advance God's work and cause immediately as the need arises.
No longer must God's people remain under the yoke and bondage of man or to man's commandments! They can exert their individual freedom in Christ Jesus, following only His directions regarding tithes and offerings, thereby completely bypassing the apostate and corrupt church and false and erroneous Ministries and ministers, and be totally oblivious to any and all objections raised by these classes! Their only desire is to do all they can to supply God's true ministers and cause with all the finances necessary to quickly finish His work in the earth.
All that we have--houses, property, money in the banks, etc., are now to be placed upon God's altar, so that it can be used immediately when God has need for it in spreading His truth. Our possessions will be of no use to God or any of His messengers when the time of trouble soon begins. But would be a great cause of sorrow and remorse to us when we would try to use these to further God's cause, only to find our possessions worthless because we waited too long! (see EW 56-57).
May God help each one of us to become faithful and wise unselfish and self-sacrificing stewards, so that His cause in the earth can rapidly grow and increase with consecrated workers and agencies. If we follow the directions of the Lord and not man, soon all the earth will be warned with the last saving message of truth, the great controversy can close, and those faithful to the very end can go home to be ever with our blessed Lord God.
"The message of present truth must be carried to those who have never heard it. We pray that the Lord will give you wisdom to place your means where it will build up the cause of God in the earth." MR #454, p 29.