TITHING AS STEWARDSHIP – Part II
What does God do with my Tithe?
By Donald McIntyre
The question in the sub-title contributes a false understanding of tithing because no Tithe returned to the Lord is deemed as “my” tithe or “your” tithe. As stated in a previous article last in November, “And all the tithes of the land ……. Is the Lord’s: it is holy unto the Lord.” Leviticus 27:30 The tithe belongs to the Lord, none of it is ours. In fact, we do not “pay” our tithe, we “return” our tithe. When one has something in one’s possession that belongs to someone else, he “returns” it to that person. If he keeps it, he is keeping that which is not his. Thus the dialogue with God in Malachi 3:8, when the question is asked “Will a man rob God?” God answers: “Yes you have robbed me ….. In tithes and offerings.”
We can read the rest of the passage to understand what God says regarding tithes and offerings. Why does God ask for a tithe? If we have been keeping close to God through His Word, we would begin to understand the character of God. God made man to have an interaction with Him and others. From the foundation of the world, man was intended to be a part of the running of this operation called Planet Earth. When the plan of Salvation was established, God gave hints of man’s involvement by asking him to take from his flock the best to be an offering to him. That was also of course a symbol of His eventual sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary.
In Genesis 14:20, God-inspired Abraham to give tithes to Melchizedek the priest-king of Salem (often referred to as a “type” of Christ), and Jacob while he was running away from home, vowed a tithe on all that God would bless him within his future (Genesis 28:22).
The system of tithing was used in the worship structure of the Israelites in the wilderness when God instructed Moses to have the entire nation of Israel give of their increase, a tenth to the tribe of Levi whose services were dedicated to the sanctuary service and worship (Numbers 18:21-28). In other words, because the Levites’ sole duty was dedicated to the worship services of the whole nation, they had to live by that while the rest of the population supported them and their families. This system carried through to the time when they entered Canaan and each tribe was given its inheritance. All but the Levites. They were still being supported by the tithes from the other tribes. They did not farm, they did not do business, all they did was take care of the temple services of the Lord.
The same thing happens today. The tithe is used for the promotion of the gospel of Christ. Our church does not use the local tithe and offering and turn it over to the minister of the church as some churches do. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is organized like this: The tithe is collected from the local congregation along with offerings. The entire tithe is sent to the conference, a tenth of that is sent to the Union (SDACC), the Union sends a tenth of that portion to the Division, and the Division sends a tenth of what they get to the General Conference. At each level, the money is used to support the pastors and for evangelism. Regarding the offerings, the ones designated for the conference go to the conference for expenses outside of ministry (e.g. Ontario Advance helps with office staff expenses, transportation, schools, etc). Offerings designated for the local church remain with the local church to be used for miscellaneous expenses as spelt out by our treasurer at board meetings and at members’ meetings.
Thus in a very organized way, the funds collected by the church, both tithes and offerings, are carefully used by those in authority (our leaders) for the service of God’s work. A careful account is given for every cent collected from the members of the church with the recognition that it is the Lord’s money for the purpose of advancing His work.
As we approach the beginning of a new year when most people are tuned into the festivities as well as utilizing their resources, why not give God a try regarding His promises in Malachi 3:10:
“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 the windows of heaven, and pour you
out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”
May God bless you.