Lesson References Index

Lesson 4: January 21 – 27

Offerings for Jesus

(All Bible texts are in the NKJV Bible unless otherwise indicated)

Sabbath Afternoon

Memory Text: Psalm 116:12–14

12 What shall I render to the Lord
For all His benefits toward me?
13 I will take up the cup of salvation,
And call upon the name of the Lord.
14 I will pay my vows to the Lord
Now in the presence of all His people.

1 John 4:19

19 We love Him because He first loved us.

Sunday - Motivation for Giving

Ellen G. White, Counsels on Stewardship, p. 18.

As we are continually receiving the blessings of God, so are we to be continually giving. When the heavenly Benefactor ceases to give to us, then we may be excused; for we shall have nothing to bestow. God has never left us without evidence of His love, in that He did us good....

We are sustained every moment by God's care, and upheld by His power. He spreads our tables with food. He gives us peaceful and refreshing sleep. Weekly He brings to us the Sabbath, that we may rest from our temporal labors, and worship Him in His own house. He has given us His word to be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. In its sacred pages we find the counsels of wisdom; and as oft as we lift our hearts to Him in penitence and faith, He grants us the blessings of His grace. Above all else is the infinite gift of God's dear Son, through whom flow all other blessings for this life and for the life to come. 

Surely goodness and mercy attend us at every step. Not till we wish the infinite Father to cease bestowing His gifts on us, should we impatiently exclaim, Is there no end of giving? Not only should we faithfully render to God our tithes, which He claims as His own, but we should bring a tribute to His treasury as an offering of gratitude. Let us with joyful hearts bring to our Creator the first fruits of all His bounties,—our choicest possessions, our best and holiest service.

The Lord does not need our offerings. We cannot enrich Him by our gifts. Says the psalmist: “All things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee.” Yet God permits us to show our appreciation of His mercies by self-sacrificing efforts to extend the same to others. This is the only way in which it is possible for us to manifest our gratitude and love to God. He has provided no other.

Matthew 6:31–34

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Deuteronomy 28:1–14
Blessings on Obedience

28 “Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God:

“Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.

“Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks.

“Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.

“Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.

“The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.

“The Lord will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.

“The Lord will establish you as a holy people to Himself, just as He has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in His ways. 10 Then all peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you. 11 And the Lord will grant you plenty of goods, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your ground, in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give you. 12 The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. 13 And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them. 14 So you shall not turn aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right or the left, to go after other gods to serve them.

2 Corinthians 9:6,7
The Cheerful Giver

But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

Monday - What Portion for Offerings?

Deuteronomy 16:17

17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you.

Luke 12:48

48 But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.

Psalm 116:12–14

12 What shall I render to the Lord
For all His benefits toward me?
13 I will take up the cup of salvation,
And call upon the name of the Lord.
14 I will pay my vows to the Lord
Now in the presence of all His people.

Matthew 10:8

Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.

John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Tuesday - Offerings and Worship

Deuteronomy 16:16

16 “Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles; and they shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed.

1 Chronicles 16:29

29 Give to the Lord the glory due His name;
Bring an offering, and come before Him.
Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!

Psalm 96:8, 9

Give to the Lord the glory due His name;
Bring an offering, and come into His courts.

Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!
Tremble before Him, all the earth.

Psalm 116:16–18

16 Lord, truly I am Your servant;
am Your servant, the son of Your maidservant;
You have loosed my bonds.
17 I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving,
And will call upon the name of the Lord.

18 I will pay my vows to the Lord
Now in the presence of all His people,

Wednesday - God Takes Note of Our Offerings

Mark 12:41–44
The Widow’s Two Mites

41 Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. 42 Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. 43 So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”

Ellen G. White, Counsels on Stewardship, p. 175

Jesus was in the court where were the treasure chests, and He watched those who came to deposit their gifts. Many of the rich brought large sums, which they presented with great ostentation. Jesus looked upon them sadly, but made no comment on their liberal offerings. Presently His countenance lighted as He saw a poor widow approach hesitatingly, as though fearful of being observed. As the rich and haughty swept by, to deposit their offerings, she shrank back as if hardly daring to venture farther. And yet she longed to do something, little though it might be, for the cause she loved. She looked at the gift in her hand. It was very small in comparison with the gifts of those around her, yet it was her all. Watching her opportunity, she hurriedly threw in her two mites, and turned to hasten away. But in doing this she caught the eye of Jesus, which was fastened earnestly upon her.

The Saviour called His disciples to Him, and bade them mark the widow's poverty. Then His words of commendation fell upon her ear: “Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all.” Tears of joy filled her eyes as she felt that her act was understood and appreciated. Many would have advised her to keep her pittance for her own use; given into the hands of the well-fed priests, it would be lost sight of among the many costly gifts brought to the treasury. But Jesus understood her motive. She believed the service of the temple to be of God's appointment, and she was anxious to do her utmost to sustain it. She did what she could, and her act was to be a monument to her memory through all time, and her joy in eternity. Her heart went with her gift; its value was estimated, not by the worth of the coin, but by the love to God and the interest in His work that had prompted the deed.

Jesus said of the poor widow, She “hath cast in more than they all.” The rich had bestowed from their abundance, many of them to be seen and honored by men. Their large donations had deprived them of no comfort, or even luxury; they had required no sacrifice, and could not be compared in value with the widow's mite. 

The Motive Above the Amount

It is the motive that gives character to our acts, stamping them with ignominy or with high moral worth. Not the great things which every eye sees and every tongue praises does God account most precious. The little duties cheerfully done, the little gifts which make no show, and which to human eyes may appear worthless, often stand highest in His sight. A heart of faith and love is dearer to God than the most costly gift.

The poor widow gave her living to do the little that she did. She deprived herself of food in order to give those two mites to the cause she loved. And she did it in faith, believing that her heavenly Father would not overlook her great need. It was this unselfish spirit and childlike faith that won the Saviour's commendation.

Among the poor there are many who long to show their gratitude to God for His grace and truth. They greatly desire to share with their more prosperous brethren in sustaining His service. These souls should not be repulsed. Let them lay up their mites in the bank of heaven. If given from a heart filled with love for God, these seeming trifles become consecrated gifts, priceless offerings, which God smiles upon and blesses.

Acts 10:1–4
Cornelius Sends a Delegation

10 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!”

And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, “What is it, lord?”

So he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God.

Matthew 6:21

21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Luke 10:27

27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

Thursday - Special Projects: “Big Jar” Giving

Mark 14:3–9
The Anointing at Bethany

And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they criticized her sharply.

But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”

John 12:2–8

There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.

But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.

But Jesus said, “Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always.”

Matthew 26:15

15 and said, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?” And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver.

Acts 4:36, 37

36 And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus,37 having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

Matthew 6:21

21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Friday - Further Thought

Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p. 518.

I was shown that some who have been engaged in our office of publication, in our Health Institute, and in the ministry have labored simply for wages. There are exceptions; not all are guilty in this respect, but few have seemed to realize that they must give an account of their stewardship. Means that had been consecrated to God to advance His cause has been squandered. Families in poverty, who had experienced the sanctifying influences of the truth and who therefore prized it and felt grateful to God for it, have thought that they could and should deprive themselves of even the necessaries of life in order to bring in their offerings to the treasury of the Lord. Some have deprived themselves of articles of clothing which they really needed to make them comfortable. Others have sold their only cow and have dedicated to God the means thus received. In the sincerity of their souls, with many tears of gratitude because it was their privilege to do this for the cause of God, they have bowed before the Lord with their offering and have invoked His blessing upon it as they sent it forth, praying that it might be the means of bringing the knowledge of the truth to souls in darkness. The means thus dedicated has not always been appropriated as the self-sacrificing donors designed. Covetous, selfish men, having no spirit of self-denial or self-sacrifice themselves, have handled unfaithfully means thus brought into the treasury; and they have robbed the treasury of God by receiving means which they had not justly earned. Their unconsecrated, reckless management has squandered and scattered means that had been consecrated to God with prayers and tears.

I was shown that the recording angel makes a faithful record of every offering dedicated to God and put into the treasury, and also of the final result of the means thus bestowed. The eye of God takes cognizance of every farthing devoted to His cause, and of the willingness or reluctance of the giver. The motive in giving is also chronicled. Those self-sacrificing, consecrated ones who render back to God the things that are His, as He requires of them, will be rewarded according to their works. Even though the means thus consecrated be misapplied, so that it does not accomplish the object which the donor had in view,—the glory of God and the salvation of souls,—those who made the sacrifice in sincerity of soul, with an eye single to the glory of God, will not lose their reward. 

Those who have made a wrong use of means dedicated to God will be required to give an account of their stewardship. Some have selfishly grasped means because of their love of gain. Others have not a tender conscience; it has become seared through long-cherished selfishness. They view sacred and eternal things from a low standpoint. Through their long continuance in a wrong course their moral sensibilities seem paralyzed. It seems impossible to elevate their views and feelings to the exalted standard clearly brought to view in the word of God. Unless there is a thorough transformation by the renewing of the mind, this class will find no place in heaven. Those who have pursued a course of selfishness and wrong, not regarding even the treasury of God as sacred, could not appreciate the purity and holiness of the sanctified in the kingdom of heaven, or the value of the rich glory, the eternal reward, reserved for the faithful overcomers. Their minds have so long run in a low, selfish channel that they cannot appreciate eternal things. They do not value salvation. It seems impossible to elevate their minds to rightly estimate the plan of salvation or the value of the atonement. Selfish interests have engrossed the entire being; like a loadstone they hold the mind and affections, binding them down to a low level. Some of these persons will never attain to perfection of Christian character because they do not see the value and necessity of such a character. Their minds cannot be elevated so that they will be charmed with holiness. Self-love and selfish interests have so warped the character that they cannot be made to distinguish the sacred and eternal from the common. God's cause and His treasury are no more sacred to them than common business or means devoted to worldly purposes.

Ellen G. White, Atlantic Union Gleaner, June 17, 1903

Our heavenly Father has mysteriously linked the members of his family together. While every man has his own burdens to bear, he is not to forget that by helping others, he helps himself. The opening words of Christ's sermon on the mount are an illustration of the principles laid down in his teaching. “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” he said; “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” He came to our world to bless men and women by pointing out the path of self-denial. In his life he showed the power of self-sacrifice. In his work he has given us an example of what our work should be. 

Whenever the Lord brings destitute fields to our notice, and gives us opportunity to help, we are never to neglect the opportunity. To respond to the frequent appeals for money, may necessitate much self-sacrifice on our part; but by practicing Christlike self-denial in order to help our fellow men, we give evidence to the world of the power of the truth to transform and sanctify the character and to cleanse the heart from selfishness. 

A call now comes to us from Australasia. I am familiar with the needs of the work there. I am closely joined to that field by the most tender associations. By our experience while there, we know what it means to have a great work before us, and to be bound about for lack of means, while at the same time the word of the Lord is coming to us, saying, “Annex new territory; lift up my standard of truth in new fields.” In Australia we had not the facilities that we should have had to carry forward the work that the Lord directed us to do. Although some help came to us from America, an abundance of means was expended in the home field, while we were striving, studying, and praying, but bound about, unable to advance for lack of the money which we might have had, but which, instead of being sent to us, was used in America. 

In their efforts to carry forward the work on solid lines and to enter new territory, our brethren and sisters in Australasia have made gifts and loans to the utmost of their ability. In times of great stress, the Lord has moved upon men and women both in Australasia and in America to acknowledge their stewardship by advancing means to help in establishing the institutions being built there. Those who have come to the help of the Lord in this way, have been laying up treasure beside the throne of God. 

Notwithstanding the dearth of means, much has been accomplished by the laborers in Australasia. Stern battles have been fought. Nothing but the miracle-working power of God has accomplished the work that has been done. We saw his power as we advanced from point to point; and we praise him with heart and soul and voice. O how we appreciated the lovingkindness of our God as he led us on step by step! 

Christ and his angels went before us. From the light given me by God, I know that he is still going before the workers in all parts of the field. He has been with those who have, with great self-sacrifice, built the Wahroonga Sanitarium, and opened up the health work in Sidney [Sydney]. He will reward those who have given freely of their means to establish memorials for him in that field. As I think of the poverty of the people there, and of the missionary work they have tried to do in addition to establishing the publishing house, the school, and the sanitarium, I look upon the whole experience as something remarkable. The work accomplished in Australasia is an object-lesson for all who enter new fields. Let all say, “See what the Lord hath wrought!” 

The fact that something has already been done in Australasia, does not excuse us in America from extending a helping hand to that needy field at the present time. In every city and every suburb there remains a work to be done,—the work of presenting the last message of mercy to the many thousands still in ignorance of God's truth for this time. 

Australasia is a divinely appointed center, from which the light of present truth is to radiate to many lands. There comes to us from far-off lands, the cry, “Come over and help us.” Some of these unentered, unenlightened fields are not too easily reached, and perhaps not so ready to receive the light, as the fields within our sight; but they must not be neglected. We are to push the triumphs of the cross. Our watchword is to be, Onward, ever onward. Our burden for the “regions beyond” can never be laid down until the whole earth shall be lightened with the glory of the Lord. 

How can this great work be accomplished without men and means? We may pray that the Lord of the harvest shall send laborers into the field; we may sit down, and plan to proclaim the third angel's message to every nation, kindred, and tongue; but where are the faithful missionaries who will carry the glad tidings to the people? and how shall these missionaries be sustained? 

God desires people to pray and to plan for the advancement of his work. But, like Cornelius, we are to unite praying with giving. Our prayers and our alms are to come up before God as a memorial. Faith without works is dead; and without a living faith it is impossible to please God. While we pray, we are to give all we possibly can, both of our labor and our means, for the fulfillment of our prayers. If we act out our faith, we shall not be forgotten by God. He marks every deed of love and self-denial. He will open ways whereby we may show our faith by our works.

The Lord desires us to be living channels of light. He has made it our privilege to cooperate with him as partners in his great firm, to act our part in promoting the prosperity of his cause. Let us work determinedly, with heart-willingness, with gladness of soul, in the spirit of humble obedience rendering back to God his own. We can pray with faith for God's power to be united with our efforts when we can come before him saying, “Of thine own we freely give thee.”

Our brethren and sisters may say: “We are being drawn upon continually for means. Will there be no end to these calls?” We hope not, so long as there are in our world souls perishing for the bread of life. Until you have done all that you can to save the lost, we ask you not to become weary of the Lord's repeated calls for means. Many have not yet done that which they might do, that which God will enable them to do if they will consecrate themselves unreservedly to him. 

Brethren and sisters, the work in Australasia demands your help. Will you not give it? To those who have means that they are not putting to use for God, we appeal in Christ's name. May the Lord move upon your hearts by his Holy Spirit, giving you a desire to be his helping hand in returning to him his own. Arouse, and heed the call for help that comes from Australasia. Give all that you can, and the Lord will bless you in giving. 

Matthew 13:22

22 Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.