Ways of Increasing the Tithe
The Spirit of prophecy makes very clear the minister's responsibility relative to increasing the tithe. Let us notice a statement found in the "Testimonies," Volume IX, pages 246, 247:
"The Lord has made the proclamation of the gospel dependent upon the labors and the voluntary gifts of all His people. The one who proclaims the message of mercy to fallen man has another work also—to set before the people the duty of sustaining the work of God with their means. He must teach them that a portion of their income belongs to God, and is to be sacredly devoted to His work. This lesson he should present, by both precept and example; he should beware that he does not by his own course lessen the force of his teaching. . . . The minister should, by precept and example, teach the people to regard the tithe as sacred."
Obviously , the tithe can be increased by bringing new members into the church. Such persons should be thoroughly indoctrinated and imbued with the teachings and spirit of our message, including the subject of tithing, before being baptized and received into the church. It is a disappointment to many people to be brought into the church and have a new doctrine thrust upon them which had not been brought to their attention before.
Keeping a card-index file is helpful in more ways than one. Use a card for each member of the church, showing certain items of information that will help in leading each one into a deeper Christian experience. Record on this card when the member was baptized, and note the circumstances under which he came into the church. Does he attend church regularly? Does he attend Sabbath school? Does he take the Review? And, more pertinent to the subject at hand, does he pay tithe? When we are in possession of such information, and find that a member is in need of help, we should do something about it.
Ways of Helping
A sermon dealing with the subject of tithing may be sufficient'. Or a series of sermons dealing with the principles of tithing may be necessary to clarify the matter. Under the convicting influence of the Holy Spirit in such meetings, the delinquent members who have been robbing God may be led to pay an honest tithe and overcome the sin of covetousness.
In some cases a personal visit with a person who is not paying tithe may be required. When visiting with some such members, frank discussion has brought desired results. In other cases, the matter had to be approached more carefully after much prayer and study of the circumstances. As to our duty in this respect, the Spirit of prophecy says:
"Some enjoy preaching, but they do not give personal labor to the churches. There is great need of instruction concerning the obligations and duties to God, especially in regard to paying an honest tithe. . . The overseer of the flock of God should faithfully discharge his duty. If he takes the position that because this is not pleasant to him, he will leave it for someone else to do, he is not a faithful worker. Let him read in Malachi the words of the Lord charging the people with robbery toward God in withholding the tithes. . . . Every church member should be taught to be faithful in paying an honest tithe."—Id., pp. 250, 251.
As the spirituality of the church membership is built up, the tithe will correspondingly increase. Build up our members in the faith, and help them to realize that the third angel's message means everything to us, constituting the true sign that distinguishes us from the people of the world. This will do much to increase the tithe.
Let us try to arouse our people from a sleepy, indifferent state of spiritual impoverishment, and help them to see the needs of the field. Impress upon them the fact that now is the time for them to stand by the truth and by the church. Encourage them to make their religion first in their lives, so that they and their children also may be saved while the door of mercy is still open. If the people respond, it will at the same time move them to faithfulness in tithing.
Impress upon fathers and mothers the fact that children recognize sincerity. When they do not pay an honest tithe, their children lose confidence in their religion. Sooner or later
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