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    V.

    The question sometimes arises, “Who should pay tithes and make offerings?” As to the first part, the answer is simple: Every one should pay tithe who has any tithe to pay. If a person’s income is small, of course his tithe will be correspondingly small; and should there be a person with absolutely no income, dependent entirely upon charity for subsistence, of course he would have no tithe to pay. But that would not be the case with any one having a reasonable degree of health. We are not speaking now of professed Christians merely; every man is under obligation to pay tithe, whether he makes a profession of religion or not. “The tithe is the Lord’s,” and should invariably be returned to him, no matter in whose hands it may be found. This distinction may be made, however: Worldlings have never confessed that their obligations to God, nor agreed to honor him in the matter of tithes, or otherwise; but Christians profess to honor God, which includes the payment of tithes, and therefore while worldlings are guilty of robbery (Malachi 3:8), Christians who fail to meet their obligations, add to robbery the additional crime of falsehood.HDTG 37.1

    The matter of offerings is of course left largely to the individual. For some, an offering of a few cents would involve more sacrifice than the gift of a thousand dollars would for another. Should the man with ample wealth give a hundred dollars without having to make any sacrifice, it would not be so acceptable in the sight of Heaven as would a few dimes from one who had to deprive himself of some necessity in consequence of his gift. “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” 2 Corinthians 8:12.HDTG 37.2

    But while each individual must be his own judgment as to how much he will give, the obligation to make offerings rests upon all; for the Lord, through the prophet Malachi, accuses his people of robbing him in the matter of offerings; but the withholding of offerings could not be called robbery if the Lord had no claim on us beyond our tithe. There can be no exceptions to the general rule that all should make offerings, for it would seem to be impossible to find a person in more reduced circumstances than was the poor widow mentioned in Mark 12:42. She had only two mites (less than half a cent) in the world, yet she gave, not one-tenth merely, but the whole of it; and we do not read that the Lord condemned her in the least for this act.HDTG 38.1

    A common idea is that if a man gives freely he will impoverish himself. The trouble is that men leave God out of their calculations. Dr. Clarke, in his comment on Acts 15:10, includes the payment of tithes, etc., in the ceremonial law—the “yoke of bondage”—and artlessly says: “Had not God, by an especial providence, rendered both their fields and their flocks very fruitful, they could not have borne so painfully a ritual.” Well, that is just what the Lord promises to do for those who render to him his due. “Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first-fruits of all thine increase; so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.” Proverbs 3:9, 10. Again he says:—HDTG 38.2

    “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. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.” Malachi 3:10, 11. It is “the Lord of hosts” that makes this promise; certainly he has the power to fulfill it; and who dare say that he will not keep his word?HDTG 39.1

    The wise man said, “There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.” Proverbs 11:24. There can be no doubt but that many who bewail their (in most cases imaginary) inability to assist in the cause of God, owe their pecuniary embarrassment to the fact that they are not willing to make this sacrifice and help with what they have. A notable instance of this is described in the Bible.HDTG 39.2

    We learn from the book of Ezra that the people who at the command of Cyrus, went up from Babylon to Jerusalem to build the temple, became discouraged on account of the opposition brought to bear against them, and abandoned the work for several years. Added to this opposition was a severe drought, which cut off their crops, depriving them of even the necessaries of life. Of course under the circumstances they could not be expected to give time and means for the building of the temple, and they very naturally concluded that the time had not come for the Lord’s house to be built. Haggai 1:2; “for,” they doubtless reasoned, “if the Lord wanted his house built now, he would give us the means with which to do it.”HDTG 39.3

    “Then came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet, saying, Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste? Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.” Haggai 1:3-6.HDTG 40.1

    Then the Lord gives the cause of this terrible want: “Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the Lord of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house. Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit. And I called for a drought upon the land,” &c. Verses 9-11. Read also chapter 2:11-19.HDTG 40.2

    In this instance the people thought that the hard times was a sufficient reason for not building the temple, when the hard times came solely because they had not gone ahead with the work of building. The Lord now promised them that from this time he would bless them, if they would take hold of the work; and to assure them of his ability to give and to withhold prosperity, and also of his right to receive homage, he said, “The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts.”HDTG 41.1

    The apostle Paul said in regard to the subject of giving, “But this I say, He that soweth sparingly shall reap all so sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall read also bountifully.” 2 Corinthians 9:6. There are many who have proved the truth of this, and who know that it pays to take God into all their calculations, and in all their ways to acknowledge him; for, as Paul continues, “God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.”HDTG 41.2

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