Dear brethren in our churches around the world,
“Likewise greet the church that is in their house,” (, first part).
We very lovingly address each member and friend to talk a little about this solemn period in which we are living.
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come,” ().
We are truly living in difficult times. Today we are unable to meet as a church in just about every country around the world, with no definite knowledge of how long this situation will last. Many of our brethren have lost their jobs or had their income reduced due to the pandemic that is plaguing the globe and which also affects our church. There are many rumors and concerns about the future. However, the Bible says that we should focus on "today". Now is our opportunity. We need to cultivate faith and love for God in this solemn hour for these are the essential riches that will help us to endure the struggles of the present and the future, and, most beautiful of all, nothing or no one can take them away from us, except ourselves.
Care must be taken regarding our immunity. More than ever, it is time to live the Health Reform. We must feed our bodies as healthfully as possible and not neglect exercise.
We must seize every opportunity to consecrate ourselves and our families, seeking the Lord's blessing and protection for our home, believing that “He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence,” ().
In addition, we must use every minute of the quarantine period (and our time after) wisely, being careful not to spend excessive time on social networks, movies, or anything that prevents us from growing physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Finally, we must also, with great faith, renew our purpose of faithfulness to God in relation to the stewardship of our means. While the Lord does not need our money, He expects our faithfulness; and the blessing of protection is promised to the faithful who prove God.
It is true that, as has been the case with many companies and organizations, the organization of God’s work has also been affected by the drop in incoming funds. Though we have been preparing for this for some time, we have taken necessary measures, such as reducing the salary of all GC Officials for as long as necessary, and have been praying that God may help us through this exceedingly difficult time and that the work of preaching the Gospel can continue with all the required strength. But we are also concerned with something more important, which cannot be measured by numbers, but by fidelity: the return to the Lord of our tithes, first fruits, and offerings.
Please, brother or sister reading this letter: be faithful. Do not use what belongs to God (tithes, first fruits, and offerings) for personal use. Give back to the Lord what is due to Him, the way you have always done so: through your local church, Field, Mission or whichever medium you use to collaborate with the cause of God. But remember: if your income has decreased, your tithes and first fruits will also decrease proportionately. This is normal and mathematical. But even when small, these funds belong to God and must be returned to Him. The problem is not in diminishing our returns, but in neglect, in retaining what belongs to the Lord. Under no circumstances can we touch what is His. Remember the fixed expenses of your local church (water, electricity, taxes, etc.), and understand that the privilege of giving to the Lord cannot be hindered by social isolation. The offering is a means of worship, and by separating it and sending it to the local church treasury, you are also worshiping God.
Why talk about money in such a difficult time? Because “money answereth all things,” (), and in “the love of money is the root of all evil” ( ). Furthermore, “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” ( ). Those who will finally be saved are those who seek "first the kingdom of God and his righteousness" because they believe that "all [other] things shall be added to you" ( ).
After Jesus' ascension, the disciples kept the torch of truth lit with faith, acts, and resources. Now, before Jesus returns, it is our turn to do the same. The responsibility is ours! We are the disciples of the last days. What a privilege!
“If all the professed people of God, both old and young, would do their duty, there would be no dearth in the treasury. If all would pay a faithful tithe and devote to the Lord the first fruits of their increase, there would be a full supply of funds for His work. But the law of God is not respected or obeyed, and this has brought a pressure of want.” – .
If we fulfill our role, giving back to the Lord what is His with joy and faithfulness, the more (both for His work and in our own lives) He will do.
“If the law required tithes and offerings thousands of years ago, how much more essential are they now! If the rich and poor were to give a sum proportionate to their property in the Jewish economy, it is doubly essential now.” – .
May God open our hearts so that we can dedicate our life to Him, and so we will not fear the crisis, the pandemic or whatever may come, because in these moments of pain the Lord will be “our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” ().
“When Jesus is our abiding trust, our offering to God will be ourselves. Our dependence will be on the righteousness and intercession of Christ Jesus as our only hope.” - Ye Shall Receive Power, p. 11.
On behalf of the General Conference, your servant,
André Marcelo Devai
Stewardship and Welfare Department Director
• As a church, we have organized our Welfare Department in the different Units, and within the best we can do, we have helped those who cannot support themselves in this difficult time.
• In recent weeks, through the Welfare Department Fund, which is funded by offerings for global tragedies and other donations received, we have been able to help brethren in 19 countries, serving well over 2,500 people or 700 families, who are suffering from the consequences of quarantine.
• In addition, in the last few days we have also served the brethren in the Solomon Islands and in Vanuatu, which were hit on three different islands by Cyclone Harold.