Human beings were created loving and trustworthy, but sin has made us self-centered, greedy, and dishonest. Therefore, out of love, God has created ways to help us develop love and trust again so that we can be comfortable in heaven, and in harmony with its unselfish spirit. Today we will study this part of God's plan of redemption.
- Who is the owner of the earth and everything in it?
Ps. 50:10-14 [The Further-study verse is Deut. 10:14.]
- Money can be a great blessing, but what happens when we covet it and love it instead of the Giver?
1 Tim. 6:6-10 [Matt. 19:23, 24]
- Who gives us the skill and strength to acquire money?
Deut. 8:18 [Acts 17:28; Eccl. 5:19]
- In one sense, we own nothing; everything we have is only loaned to us. When must we give an account of the goods entrusted to us?
Luke 12:16-21 [Ps. 49:10, 16, 17]
- Since everything comes from God, and He has promised to provide for us, what attitude should we have about our daily needs?
Matt. 6:25, 26 [Isa. 33:16]
- Because God has promised to provide for us and we are not to worry, should we then be lazy and expect Him to make up for our lack of industry, planning, and frugality?
2 Thess. 3:7-10 [Gen. 3:19; 1 Thess. 4:11, 12; 1 Tim. 5:8]
- What portion of our wealth does God claim for Himself?
Lev. 27:30 [Note: Tithe is from a Hebrew word which means 'tenth'. While all we have comes from the Lord; He permits us to use 9/l0ths and asks us to return 1/10 to test our faithfulness. "All the tithe . . . IS the Lord's." When we pay our tithe, we are but returning to God what is already His. Gen. 14:18-20; Gen. 28:18-22]
- What was the tithe used for in Israel?
Heb. 7:5 [Note: The Levites were the tribe especially set apart for ministry to the Lord. Today the tithe is to be used for the support of God's ministry throughout the world. 1 Cor. 9:13, 14; Matt. 10:9, 10; Heb. 7:6, 9; Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, pp. 245-251]
- Did Jesus recognize the principle of tithing?
Luke 11:42 [Note: Tithe does little good for the giver when given for show or to earn favor with God. Jesus said the Pharisees did right in giving their tithe, but they did it from a wrong motive, and were neglecting essential virtues, such as love, mercy, and faith. They needed a change of heart. Matt. 23:23]
- Beside the tithe, what else did the children of Israel give to further the work of the Lord?
Ex. 35:4, 5; 36:3-5 [Note: The tithe is not an offering. We cannot offer God something He already owns! If we want to give something to the Lord, we must go beyond the tithe as did the children of Israel. In the Adventist Church, while the tithe supports the ministry, offerings support church schools, welfare work, various mission projects around the world, and local church programs. 1 Cor. 16:2]
- What does God call those who withhold their tithes and offerings, and what does He promise those who are faithful with their tithes?
Mal. 3:8-10 [Note: If robbing man is bad, how much more serious it is to rob God! Luke 6:38; Prov. 11:24, 25]
- What factors besides the amount of money are important when we give to God?
Luke 21:1-4 [Ps. 50:5; 2 Cor. 8:12]
- In what spirit should we give our offerings?
2 Cor. 9:7 [2 Cor. 8:9; Rom. 12:8; Matt. 6:1-4]
- Besides giving tithes and offerings to support God's work and workers, in what other kinds of giving should we become involved?
Matt. 25:34-40 [Ps. 41:1-3]
- Where only is our money secure?
Matt. 6:19, 20 [Luke 12:33, 34]
- In what way are we affected by our giving habits?
Matt. 6:21 [Matt. 19:21]
In the Adventist Church, ordained ministers, within a given country, receive the same basic salary regardless of the size of the church. The money given by church members does not go to them directly, but is sent to a central office for budgeting and distribution. The pastors encourage and lead the members into selfsacrifice and giving--not for themselves, but to help each one develop character and get ready for heaven. God does not need our money-He could rain down gold from heaven--but He is helping us to learn to trust Him, and to become loving and selfsacrificing, as Jesus was. Jesus gave His life; what can we give in comparison with that?