Expressing Our Love
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Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7

Image © Darrel Tank from GoodSalt.com

Soviet Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, the author of Tortured for Christ, suffered terribly for the Lord. Yet he said that even while in prison, he saw fellow Soviet believers practice generous giving. “When we were given one slice of bread a week and dirty soap every day, we decided we would faithfully ‘tithe’ even that. Every tenth week we took the slice of bread and gave it to the weaker brethren as our ‘tithe’ to the Master.”

I tend to think that God did not demand that these prisoners tithe their bread and soap. Yet they felt compelled to, in order to express their love for God.  After understanding the awesome sacrifice Christ had made in expressing His love for them on the cross, they wanted a way to express their love for Christ. They wanted to give all of themselves to Christ since He had given all of Himself for them.

It is the same case with the woman in John 12, who broke open a bottle of ointment costing a year’s wages, so she could anoint the feet of Jesus. She was simply giving all she had because Jesus was giving all He had for her. Like the Soviet prisoners she needed a way to express her love.

God did not give us the tithe and offering system because he needed our money, but because He knew we too would need a way to express our love. God nor the church needs our money. Both were getting along just fine before we came along and both will do just fine after we are gone.

I have a plaque with a picture of the cross and written on it are the words,

“ I asked Jesus how much do you love me?”

“This much” He said, ’Then He spread out His arms and died.”

God will finish the work with or without our money. Yet He has given us the tithe and offering system so that when He asks us, “How much do you love me?” We will have a way to answer.

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About William Earnhardt

William Earnhardt has been a Bible Worker, literature evangelist and lay pastor in Oklahoma and Texas, before coming to Tampa Florida, where he has been the Bible instructor and lay pastor for the past ten years for the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church. He has also held revivals and evangelism seminars, as well as soul winning workshops from Peru to Connecticut.

Comments

Expressing Our Love — 22 Comments

  1. William you wrote: God nor the Church needs our money. Both were doing just fine before we came along, and both will do just fine after we are gone.
    I believe otherwise. The statement is true with God, but not true with the church. God know the church needs our Tithes and offerings. Imagine every church members stop tithing and stop giving offerings. This is reality. We should not use these kind of statements when approaching these vital important subjects. What we should advocate is the fact that obedient to God's command on tithing will bring a bounty of blessings to the individual and the church as God is true to all His promises. There are people who give more than 10% because of their personal experience of how God responded to their faithful tithings.

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  2. Jay, you are right, the church does need money, but the fact is still true that while I have given my offerings at churches I attended in the past, after I moved to a new area and started giving my offerings in my new church, the old church, where I used to give my offerings kept going just fine without me. My point is simply that God will provide someone to give offerings. He is not dependant on my money.

    I am not disputing what you are saying. You are correct. I was once in a church where a leader who was wealthy wanted to run the church himself, instead of letting the board and church run itself. He told me one time that the church would not survive without him and his money. Well without going into too much detail, this man got so angry that he could not run the church himself, he took his money and went elsewhere. I moved to another church shortly after that too. It has now been many years (I'm not going to say exactly how many as I dont want anyone to do the math) since then and that little church is doing just fine, growing and even adding onto its building just fine without me or the wealthy man.

    We give because we love Jesus and the gospel, and not to control the church or even take credit for its existance. That was the only point behind my statement. At the same time you are correct. God needs people to give who do so willingly out of love and not the desire to buy power.

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    • Amen and amen! Well said"we give because we love Jesus and the gospel. Not to control the church or take credit for its existance".

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  3. pray for me, I want to have a spirit of giving... for the past months I have been unable to tithe as I was short on money and been paying bills with my credit cards. This month I decided to give my tithe as soon as I get paid and leave the rest to the Lord to take care of. Still, there is that nagging voice telling me I don't have money to add more. I always add a few dollars for offering but at church someone suggested to match tithe with offering... no way I can afford that. If I give 94 for my tithe I round it up to 100 giving 6 for my offering. I didn't realize the offering needed to be much more. I want to give with all my heart, some weeks I find it hard and I ask the Lord to help me.

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    • LJ,

      I can relate to what you are going through. When I was in my early 20s I ran into financial trouble. I stopped tithing so I could get caught up on my bills, fully intending to keep track of and pay all my tithe once I got my raise. Week after week went by and I had not received my raise and my tithe I owed was adding up. I felt so bad I told a friend what was going on. I assured them I would return my tithe once I got my raise. She told me I would not get my raise until I paid my tithe. Somehow I knew she was right. The next Sabbath I returned all my tithe. That Monday after Sabbath, I went into work and picked up my pay check. I opended it and there was my raise. I have never forgotten that.

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      • Praise the Lord! One of the local church treasurers that I most fondly remember commented that she had seen the evidence for similar experiences many times in the giving patterns of those she served. God is good to us!!

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  4. Our Lord has means and ways to accomplish his task and missions that we know not of. We give because we want to give out of our love for Jesus, not because we have to. There are members who tithe faithfully and are still struggling financially. To tithe just to get ahead financially, or for the reason you will have some sort of a tangible material blessing is a wrong motive.

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    • I'm sure that sometimes we need the spiritual boost of seeing God's response to our faithfulness. His blessing may sometimes be financial, sometimes otherwise, but always best.
      While motive certainly is important, so is faithfulness. I'm sure God wants us to serve Him from the highest motives, but He works with us where we are. I pray that He will help us to encourage all our brothers and sisters to rise to the highest faithfulness from the highest motivation.

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  5. This is message everyone has to read, because like William stated, there are some individuals who have been blessed and they think with that they can control everything and everyone in the church, especially if they are not elected as elders, and also if their friends don't get the positions they wanted them to get in the church. I always look forward for your comments and articles, continue to use the wisdom God has given you to bless and enlighten others as you always do.

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  6. Amen, thank you for the article. Always great to read and always points to the love God has for us. Your writing is also thought provoking.
    Maybe you should mention something about Christmas in the article to get more attention and comments. No, no. Only joking.
    God bless

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  7. True, God does not need our tithe, but we do. We are easily forgetful and this helps overcome that forgetfulness of where every blessing comes from. It may be that God knows this act will help to jump-start a more liberal spirit in our hearts. Tithe allows us to have a part with God in saving others and gives us opportunity to prove His promise of faithfulness.

    Our tithe and offerings are not necessarily a demonstration of love in the way that Mary demonstrated with her ointment. As William stated, Jesus did not demonstrate His love for us with just one tenth of His capacity. We could include the widow with her two mites as well. None of these examples are defined by our tithe as I understand it.

    Tithe is required, and demonstrates to those prone to forget that God owns all and from Him all blessings flow. It also shows that He gives us the 90%! Not even our finite government does that. The demonstration of love that we see with Mary, the poor widow, many others and above all, Jesus, is the total giving of self for others. Tithe is acknowledgment of God's sovereignty, and hopefully given with sincere gratitude and love. A legalist pays tithe, even of the smallest increase in their herb garden. I'm sure that all those who complained of Mary's waste of money paid their tithe faithfully. Even those who crucified Jesus paid tithe, gave offerings and kept the Sabbath. Perhaps what is done with the 90% demonstrates whether our tithe is given from love or simply a legal matter we must fulfill.

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    • The tithe and offering system helps us to systematically overcome selfishness with our possessions, just like the Sabbath systematically helps us overcome selfishness with our time.

      When we give to the church to gain power and control, or give just to get a greater blessing in return, we are not really giving. Giving to gain something back is called investing, not giving. God loves a giving heart, not an investing heart.

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      • Thanks William for your discussion. I always appreciate your insights. Most times your topics are just what I am interested in or just what I need to hear. And I needed to hear your comments on this topic.

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        • God owns all our money, time and everything. So a 10% tithe, and some percentage of offering, is a small token of what He gives us.

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  8. I have come to the realization that we must make a difference between the Seventh-day Adventist Church Organization and the Seventh-day Adventist Message. The Church without the Message will fail. The final message to a dying world will reach its fulfillment before Jesus comes again. The Message that God wants the world to hear before Christ comes again will never fail. If we fail to give it the very rocks will cry out. If the church preaches and lives the the love of God in the Three Angels' Message and truly understands that the Sabbath is the seal of justification by faith - the righteousness of Christ verily credited to us - she will in loving response readily do what Mary did to give her best for the Master.

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  9. God doesn't need our money. The church doesn't need our money. But God did create the system to bring tithes and offerings to the storehouse; If we look carefully at Scripture tithing was and is done in love for Him. When His people gave whether money, animals or whatever, where did the tithes/offerings go!
    How many pastors are hungry and broke because the people think he should work outside the ministry. I don't recall where his people in Scripture balked about giving.
    Today the church depends on the tithing to further the message of hope and salvation. Yes there are some that really think their money will manipulate to their "rights" or causes. Hopefully there are stewards within the church that pray to keep that out and pastors to remain strong in the Lord and the church will not allow this kind of behavior but as we all know is does exist. Am I being obedient yes but I don't think about the obedience, I think about how much I love Him and how He has blessed me; why wouldn't I give. It is a HEART thing I am very thankful to Him. Really don't we give gifts of appreciation to someone that has blessed us? It is an awesome thing to sit in prison and tithe on what they did. What an act of unselfishness! We sit in big houses and sometimes don't think that!

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  10. Thank you for expressing in words what I have felt in my heart about this subject. It was short, sweet, simple and brought tears to my eyes - happy tears!

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  11. The system of tithe and offering was intended to teach men with a great truth that God is the great source of every blessing to his creatures. Like the Sabbath this system is a constant reminder that God is our creator and that to Him man's gratitude is due for the good gifts of His providence.

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  12. Thanks for remembering me to remit my Tithe. How I have failed in this regards gives me great concern. Who says there's no BLESSING in faithful remittance of Tithe? There is! In good health, aboundant physical finance, favour, obedient and prosperous children etc comes from faithful paying of Tithe. But at the moment, I am owing God about 4 months Tithes and Faithful living. Please, I need prayers. Happy Sabbath and God bless all.

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