1. SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
a. What is God’s method of perfecting and uniting His scattered sheep? Ephesians 4:11–16.
“In sending forth His ministers our Saviour gave gifts unto men, for through them He communicates to the world the words of eternal life. This is the means which God has ordained for the perfecting of the saints in knowledge and true holiness.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 237.
b. How does this involve a duty and a privilege for every believer? 1 Corinthians 3:7, 8.
“The Lord has made the proclamation of the gospel dependent on the consecrated ability and the voluntary gifts and offerings of His people. While He has called men to preach the Word, He has made it the privilege of the whole church to share in the work by contributing of their means to its support.”—In Heavenly Places, p. 303.
2. WARNING AND ENCOURAGEMENT
a. How do many today repeat the sin of Nadab and Abihu? Leviticus 10:1, 2.
“Where, in God’s directions for the support of His work, do we find any mention of bazaars, concerts, fancy fairs, and similar entertainments? Must the Lord’s cause be dependent upon the very things He has forbidden in His word—upon those things that turn the mind away from God, from sobriety, from piety and holiness?
“And what impression is made upon the minds of unbelievers? The holy standard of the word of God is lowered into the dust. Contempt is cast upon God and upon the Christian name. The most corrupt principles are strengthened by this un-Scriptural way of raising means. And this is as Satan would have it. Men are repeating the sin of Nadab and Abihu. They are using common instead of sacred fire in the service of God. The Lord accepts no such offerings.”—Counsels on Stewardship, pp. 204, 205.
b. What can we learn from the way Moses raised funds—and from the Israelites’ response? Exodus 35:4, 5, 21, 29; 36:3–7.
“The plan of Moses to raise means for the building of the tabernacle was highly successful. No urging was necessary. Nor did he employ any of the devices to which churches in our day so often resort. He made no grand feast. He did not invite the people to scenes of gaiety, dancing, and general amusement; neither did he institute lotteries, nor anything of this profane order, to obtain means to erect the tabernacle for God. The Lord directed Moses to invite the children of Israel to bring their offerings. He was to accept gifts from everyone that gave willingly, from his heart. And the offerings came in so great abundance that Moses bade the people cease bringing, for they had supplied more than could be used.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 529.
“Have you brought to God your gifts and offerings out of the abundance He has bestowed upon you? Have you given Him that which He claims as His own? If not, it is not yet too late for you to make the wrong right. The Spirit of Jesus can melt the icy selfishness that pervades the soul.”—The Review and Herald, October 13, 1896.
3. PRACTICAL COUNSEL
a. How may we risk receiving the curse placed on Meroz? Judges 5:23.
“[Judges 5:23 quoted.] What had Meroz done? Nothing. This was their sin. The curse of God came upon them for what they had not done.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p. 284.
“The fruits of selfishness always reveal themselves in a neglect of duty, and in a failure to use God’s entrusted gifts for the advancement of His work.”—Counsels on Stewardship, p. 26.
“Only a small amount of means flows into the Lord’s treasury to be appropriated to the saving of souls, and it is with hard labor that even this is obtained. If the eyes of all could be opened to see how prevailing covetousness has hindered the advancement of the work of God, and how much more might have been done had all acted up to God’s plan in tithes and offerings, there would be a decided reform on the part of many; for they would not dare to hinder the work of advancing the cause of God as they have done.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 483.
b. What does Scripture teach about personal economy? Proverbs 21:20; John 6:12.
c. In what way do the Macedonian cries of today require something from each of us, and how are we blessed in heeding them? Acts 16:9, 10.
“Each one should strive to do for Jesus all that it is possible for him to do, by personal effort, by gifts, by sacrifices. There should be meat in the house of the Lord, and that means a full treasury, that responses may be made to Macedonian cries coming from every land. How pitiful it is that we are obliged to say to these who cry for help, ‘We cannot send you men or money. We have an empty treasury.’ ” —Counsels on Stewardship, p. 298.
“We are to place in the Lord’s treasury all the means that we can spare. For this means, needy, unworked fields are calling. From many lands is sounding the cry, ‘Come over, . . . and help us’ [Acts 16:9]. Our church members should feel a deep interest in home and foreign missions. Great blessings will come to them as they make self-sacrificing efforts to plant the standard of truth in new territory. The money invested in this work will bring rich returns.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 49.
4. OUR PART IN GOD’S PLAN
a. How do our tithes and offerings relate to the opening of new fields? 1 Timothy 5:17, 18.
“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. The opening of new fields requires more ministerial efficiency than we now have, and there must be means in the treasury.”—Gospel Workers, pp. 227, 228.
“The preaching of the gospel is God’s appointed way for converting the souls of men. Men must hear in order to be saved. They cannot hear without a preacher, and the preacher must be sent. This makes it necessary to have funds in the treasury in order to provide means whereby the missionary may reach destitute fields. In the light of this fact, how can those who profess to follow Christ, rob God of His own intrusted talents in tithes and offerings? Is it not refusing bread to starving souls? To withhold the means which God has claimed as His own, whereby He has made provision that souls shall be saved, will surely bring a curse upon those who thus rob God. Souls for whom Christ has died, are denied the privilege of hearing the truth, because men refuse to carry out the measures which God has provided for the enlightenment of the lost.
“Money is not to be furnished for the carrying out of the work of the gospel in some mysterious way, and through unseen, mysterious agencies. God will not shower money from the windows of heaven to do His appointed work, to spread the truth in our world, and to save souls unto eternal life. He has made His people stewards of His means to be used for His glory in blessing humanity. . . . God will not pour out gold and silver from the windows of heaven, but that which is of infinitely greater value. He says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon you.’ ”—The Home Missionary, April 1, 1895.
b. How does David encourage us to be liberal givers? 1 Chronicles 29:10–14.
“Should means flow into the treasury in accordance with this divinely appointed plan—a tenth of all the increase, and liberal offerings—there would be an abundance for the advancement of the Lord’s work.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 75.
5. A RESPONSIBILITY AND A PRIVILEGE
a. How do God’s people hasten or delay Christ’s return in the clouds of glory? 2 Peter 3:11, 12.
“Had the church of Christ done her appointed work as the Lord ordained, the whole world would before this have been warned, and the Lord Jesus would have come to our earth in power and great glory.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 633, 634.
“The work of God, which should be going forward with tenfold its present strength and efficiency, is kept back, like a spring season held by the chilling blast of winter, because some of God’s professed people are appropriating to themselves the means that should be dedicated to His service. Because Christ’s self-sacrificing love is not interwoven in the life practices, the church is weak where it should be strong. By its own course it has put out its light and robbed millions of the gospel of Christ.”—Counsels on Stewardship, p. 54.
b. What privilege is extended to every believer? 1 Corinthians 3:9.
“God has made men His almoners, copartners with Himself in the great work of advancing His kingdom on the earth; but they may pursue the course pursued by the unfaithful servant, and by so doing lose the most precious privileges ever granted to men. For thousands of years God has worked through human agencies, but at His will He can drop out the selfish, the money-loving, and the covetous. He is not dependent upon our means, and He will not be restricted by the human agent. He can carry on His own work though we act no part in it. But who among us would be pleased to have the Lord do this?”—Ibid., pp. 198, 199.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What is one way we can help to perfect and unite God’s people?
2. How do wrong methods of raising funds contrast with God’s way?
3. How can little personal expenditures hinder God’s work?
4. What would happen if all cultivated the magnanimity of David?
5. How may we be hastening or delaying our Lord’s return?