1. ANSWERING THE MACEDONIAN CRY
a. Although literature is a powerful missionary tool, what steps must follow in order to complete the gospel commission? Matthew 28:18–20. How can this need for diligent gospel workers be fulfilled? Isaiah 52:7, 8.
“This work of faithfully bringing in all the tithes, that there may be meat in the house of God, would supply laborers for both home and foreign fields. Although books and publications upon present truth are pouring out their treasures of knowledge to all parts of the world, yet missionary posts must be established at different points. The living preacher must proclaim the words of life and salvation. There are open fields inviting workers to enter. The harvest is ripe, and the earnest Macedonian cry for laborers is heard from every part of the world.”—Counsels on Stewardship, p. 39.
b. What urgent work needs to be done? Mark 16:15.
“The magnitude of our work calls for willing liberality on the part of the people of God. In Africa, in China, in India, there are thousands, yes, millions, who have not heard the message of the truth for this time. They must be warned. The islands of the sea are waiting for a knowledge of God.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 51.
2. THE IMPORTANCE OF GOD’S TITHE
a. How does Inspiration emphasize the personal, human element in soul-saving? Romans 10:13–15. How can we all be involved? Revelation 22:17.
“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 entrusted 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.”—The Home Missionary, April 1, 1895.
b. What does God require if we neglect to return His tithe on time? Leviticus 27:31. What experience of a local church in the year 1889 can encourage all today?
“The last Sabbath of the old year, we invited those who felt that they must make confession, to go into one of the vestries, and here a special opportunity was given them. I had spoken upon the last chapter of Malachi: ‘Will a man rob God?’ ‘Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.’ Many confessions were made upon this point. . . .
“Some of those who had not been dealing justly with God, and consequently had been separating themselves from Him, began to restore that which they had withheld. One brother had not paid tithes for two years. He gave his note to the secretary of the conference for the tithe he had withheld and the interest on it, amounting to $571.50. I thank the Lord that he had the courage to do this. Another gave his note for $300. Another man who had backslidden from God so far that but little hope was cherished that he would ever turn his feet into the path of righteousness again, gave his note for $1,000. It was proposed that these long-withheld tithes and offerings be devoted to the Central European Mission; so with these and the Christmas donations, nearly $6,000 has come into the treasury from this church to be applied to the missionary cause.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 643, 644.
3. LEARNING FAITHFUL FORESIGHT
a. What objection was made against Mary’s generosity towards Jesus? John 12:3–6. How did Christ commend Mary, and how are we warned against making similar objections today? Mark 14:7–9.
“We make progressive movements; but at every step prejudice and false ideas must be removed. This has been the case with every reformatory movement the world has ever seen. To some of small faith and selfish, money-loving disposition, each advance move has portended general disaster and an extravagant outlay of means. They have felt as did that poor man Judas when the ointment was poured upon the head of Jesus. Why this great waste? said he; this ought to have been sold, and the money given to the poor. Again and again, when some advance step has been taken, the selfish, cautious ones have thought that everything was going to ruin; but when the battle has been fought against all odds, they have hailed the victory as a token that God was in the movement. When it has been so fully demonstrated that the work was of God that unbelief has had to yield, the men who led out, whose foresight was greater than that of others, who worked against all opposition, are hailed as men raised up for the time, and led by the Spirit of God. Do those men who blocked the way realize the work they have done? Do they see that the addition of their money, their strength, their faith, and courage, might have made the work stronger and more influential, and that their neglect to do what they could is sin? . . .
“Would that we lived so near the cross that we could see as God sees, and work as He would have us work.”—The Review and Herald, February 5, 1884.
b. To what realities should we now awaken? John 4:35, 36.
“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.”—The Home Missionary, April 1, 1895.
4. SAVORY SALT
a. What exhortations come to all who seek to honor Christ? Matthew 5:13.
“How much more eager will every faithful steward be to enlarge the proportion of gifts to be placed in the Lord’s treasure house, than to decrease his offering one jot or tittle. Whom is he serving? For whom is he preparing an offering?—For the One upon whom he is dependent for every good thing which he enjoys. Then let not one of us who is receiving the grace of Christ give occasion for the angels to be ashamed of us, and for Jesus to be ashamed to call us brethren. . . .
“Those who are recipients of His grace, who contemplate the cross of Calvary, will not question concerning the proportion to be given, but will feel that the richest offering is all too meager, all disproportionate to the great gift of the only-begotten Son of the infinite God. Through self-denial, the poorest will find ways of obtaining something to give back to God.”—Counsels on Stewardship, p. 200.
b. How is the present truth to be spread throughout the earth? Ecclesiastes 11:1, 6.
“The waste places of the earth are to be cultivated. In humble dependence upon God, families are to go forth and settle in the unworked places of His vineyard. As the reward of their self-sacrifice in order to sow the seeds of truth, they will reap a rich harvest.”—The Review and Herald, August 26, 1902.
c. What is the most urgent call of today, and why? Matthew 9:36–38.
“Who is to blame for the loss of the souls who know not God, and who have had no opportunity for hearing the reasons of our faith? What obligation rests upon the church in reference to a world that is perishing without the gospel? Unless there is more decided self-denial on the part of those who claim to believe the truth, unless there is more decided faithfulness in bringing all the tithes and offerings into the treasury, unless broader plans are laid than have yet been carried into execution, we shall not fulfill the gospel commission to go into all the world and preach Christ to every creature.”—The Home Missionary, April 1, 1895.
5. ENLIGHTENING EVERY CORNER
a. What will be the glorious result of the gospel commission, and how can we be blessed by taking part in it? Revelation 18:1.
“All heaven is looking with intense interest upon the church, to see what her individual members are doing to enlighten those who are in darkness. The field is the world, and the openings are so many, the work has so enlarged, that it is beyond the proportion of the means on hand to supply the necessary demands. For years the Lord has been warning His people to bind about their wants, to incur no needless outlay of means. But notwithstanding the counsel of Him who knows the end from the beginning, how needlessly has money been expended. The cautions given have been lightly esteemed, and the minds of men have misinterpreted, turned aside, or wrested the counsel of God, in order that they might follow their own ambitious projects, although by so doing, the very means by which God might have been glorified and honored in extending His truth, is lost to the cause. The Lord has graciously honored man, employing him as the human agent to cooperate with heavenly intelligences, that the light of truth may shine in all parts of the earth. The Lord has His agents who will act a part in the mightiest conflict which the world has ever seen. If the workers remain humble, learning daily, in the school of Christ, meekness and lowliness of heart, the Lord Jesus will work with them. He who is a coworker with Christ will realize that in conferring heavenly benefits on others, he himself will be benefited. He will know that ‘he that watereth shall be watered also himself’ [Proverbs 11:25].”—The Review and Herald, February 27, 1894.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. In what sense is literature limited in its soul-saving ability?
2. What reveals the importance of punctuality in tithing?
3. How may we be in danger of repeating the sin of Judas?
4. What should we consider when deciding how much to give for Christ?
5. How will the world be enlightened—with us or without us?