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The definition of a steward is:
To be sure we are all these things and infinitely more, and that is why the Savior refers to his followers as 'stewards' when he says:
|Luke 12:42||"Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his Lord shall make ruler over his household to give them their portion of meat in due season?
Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath."
1. The Present Scene
Consider for a moment how the various Church groups and Charitable organizations raise money to finance their work. The methods used include:
The list is long to say the least and no doubt one could add to it without any trouble; and tell of how sincere believers all over the world strive to raise funds for the charity of their choice.
Please do not think that we are decrying their efforts or doubting their motives - because we are not. But here are some solemn questions for consideration. Are you sure that the Almighty wants the Everlasting Gospel financed by these methods? Do you honestly think that He who designed the great Plan of Salvation and paid for man's redemption with His own life blood had such methods in mind when He founded His Church and through His Son gave this staggering commission:
|Matthew 28:18-20||"YAHUSHUA drew near to them and said to them: to Me has been given all power in heaven and Earth. Go and (teach) them to carry out all the things which I have commanded you forever. "|
For our part we must confess that praise-worthy though a few of those money-raising methods are, and most of us have taken part in them - not one of them bears the stamp of divine authority. Yes it is an unequivocal fact, that nowhere in the Holy Scriptures will you find Elohim instructing His people to raise money for the Gospel Work by any of the above mentioned methods. They may be perfectly suitable for other causes; they may be the main channels of revenue for scores of charities in America and abroad; they may be fine as far as worthwhile secular projects go; but in the final analysis we must admit - they are not the divinely authorized method for financing the Everlasting Gospel!
Could it be that herein lies the cause of the Church's financial problems; that somehow - perhaps even inadvertently - the church has allowed itself to become commercialized and wandered away from the truth? And could it be that by ignoring the Almighty's appointed way and resorting to human alternatives to raise funds, many groups have paved the way to economic ruin and in some cases are almost bankrupt?
We think that this may well be the case; that in this very important matter of 'church finance', many sincere groups have not understood the divine plan and have failed to tell individual believers of their responsibilities in the work of the Most High. For, make no mistake about it, YaHuWaH has a plan for financing His work, a plan which includes every member of His Church - no matter how insignificant or poor they may reckon themselves to be.
Without much ado, let us open to you the financial secrets of a vibrant Gospel work. Let us show you YaHuWaH 's plan for taking the Truth to the whole world; and, more importantly, where you as a steward in the Royal Household fit into the picture. Here is the divine method encapsulated in a single command.
"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith YaHuWaH Tz'va'ot, 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."
Deuteronomy 14:22 Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.
23 And thou shalt eat before YaHuWaH thy Elohim, in the place which He shall choose to place His Name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear YaHuWaH thy Elohim always.
24 And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which YaHuWaH thy Elohim shall choose to set His Name there, when YaHuWaH thy Elohim hath blessed thee:
25 Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which YaHuWaH thy Elohim shall choose:
26 And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before YaHuWaH thy Elohim, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,
27 And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee.
28 At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates:
29 And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger (the homeless traveler), and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that YaHuWaH thy Elohim may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.
Yes, believe it or not, the paying of 'tithes' is the Almighty's appointed way for meeting the financial needs of His people and the poor and needy; for providing spiritual and physical food for the starving masses of humanity.
(Deuteronomy 14:22-29, Nehemiah 10:35-39, 2 Chronicles 31:5-6, Numbers 18:23-32)
On the agricultural level the tithe is one tenth of the literal harvest, a tenth of the crop, a tenth of the oxen and sheep born each year in the fold and a tenth of the wine and oil harvest. On the industrial level the tithe consists of a tenth of one's earnings. For example if a man earns $500.00 a week, the tithe on that amount would be $50.00. And if he earned $1000.00 per week the tithe would be $100.00. Every believer in the Almighty is commanded to bring in the tithe just as they did in ancient days.
The tithe is YaHuWaH 's, it belongs to Him. When we return the tithe to YaHuWaH , we are not really 'paying' Him anything; because, strictly speaking, the tithe is His in the first place. We are simply returning to the Almighty His share of the harvest.
We use the word share because when a person becomes a true believer in the Almighty he/she immediately becomes a co-worker and shareholder with YaHuWaH in the Vineyard of Salvation. And every 'shareholder' in this divine company has, amongst other things, this solemn responsibility:
To return to the Almighty His share of the harvest - the tithe!
For His part YaHuWaH provides us with life, health, inherent ability, opportunities, the earth with its abundant supply of raw materials and, last but not least, the immeasurable blessings afforded by His very presence.
For our part we provide the willingness, perseverance and the physical or mental effort required to produce meaningful results. At harvest time, nine tenths of the harvest is our share and one tenth - the tithe - goes to the Almighty. That is the divinely appointed share-out.
Pause awhile and consider this generous arrangement? Have you ever come across a better employer? Do you personally know of any business, any enterprise, any company, any organization where that kind of a deal is given to the workers? We are absolutely certain that you have not, because there just isn't another. Oh how generous is the Almighty, how benevolent His dealings, how far-reaching His plans.
When a believer returns to YaHuWaH His tithe, do you suppose that He keeps it for Himself? Do you think He desperately needs our money in the first place? You may be sure that He doesn't. YaHuWaH the Almighty Elohim of Israel is a Being of limitless resources and He doesn't need our money or our food to keep Him going. Indeed the cattle on a thousand hills and all the gold in the world's banks belong to Him anyway. (Psalm 50:10-13, Haggai 2:8)
"Then why," you may well ask, "does He command us to give Him a tenth of our meager earnings?"
The answer is: because we believers are stewards in the Royal Household of Faith and each of us has a responsibility towards our fellow human beings. We all have a position to fill, a commission to carry out and a job to do in the Royal Household; and we will never spiritually mature until we shoulder those responsibilities and meet our obligations. And so to each one of us Elohim says this:
Yes, the Most High has commanded every believer to set aside the divine portion - His Tithe - for the proclamation of His Truth and the sustenance of fellow believers. And that is where all true believers come into the picture, for we are all stewards in the Royal Household of Faith.
And concerning the giving of tithes to the poor and needy:
Matthew 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.
The Most High could, of course, easily bypass the above method of tithing and provide spiritual and physical food for humanity some other way. But He has chosen not to do so. If He had, we believers would never really appreciate the valuable lessons of stewardship, responsibility and a job well done. If YaHuWaH had excluded His servants from all responsibility and bore the cost of every enterprise alone, we would be no better than cattle in a stall - totally oblivious of the meaning of duty and eternally unaware of how we could have in a small way - sacrificed for the benefit of others. Instead, the Most High has lifted us high above the level of brute beasts and allowed us the privilege, through sacrifice, of becoming responsible co-workers with Him in the Vineyard of Salvation. And when we shoulder our responsibilities and return to YaHuWaH His tithe we become 'active shareholders' in the divine company, 'co-laborers' with Him in the greatest project this universe has ever witnessed.
Consider for a moment this amazing challenge:
|Malachi 3:10-12||"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in Mine house, and prove Me saith YaHuWaH Tz'va'ot, 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.
And I shall 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 YaHuWaH Tz'va'ot. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith YaHuWaH Tz'va'ot."
"Prove me" (put me to the test, give me a try) says the Creator to you! Oh what astonishing humility is here displayed, that YaHuWaH the Almighty Elohim of Israel must needs speak to His people in this way in order that we will bring His share (the tithe) to Him. Listen to His solitary reason for requesting it:
"That there may be food in Mine house"
Yes that is why the Almighty is asking for His share of the harvest, "that there may be food in His house:" food for His servants, His flock to eat and be satisfied. Pause awhile dear reader and try to appreciate the astonishing worth of that single reason. Is it not proof of YaHuWaH 's amazing love for His creatures, for the poor, the hungry and the lost? It is the same love that prompted His Son to say to the Apostle Peter: "feed My lambs" and "feed My sheep." (John 21:15-17)
You may be sure that if every believer brought in the tithe, which is an unmistakable sign of where the heart is (Luke 12:34) there would be absolutely no shortages of any kind in the world today. The Most High would, as promised, "open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing on His people and the world, the like of which the sons and daughters of men would hardly contain. Yes, it is virtually impossible to imagine the effect on this world if we all carried out that single command.
We take no pleasure in publishing this fact, but the answer is yes. The commandment to tithe is still on the statute books of heaven and it is a sin to ignore it. In fact it is theft from the Almighty YaHuWaH and is followed by a curse:
|Malachi 3:8-9||"Will a man rob Elohim? Yet ye have robbed Me.
But ye say, Wherein have we robbed Thee?
In tithes and offerings.
Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed Me,
Even this whole nation."
There are, of course, other spiritual issues far more important than paying tithes; issues like justice, mercy and faith.
The Savior referred to these 'weightier matters of the Torah' when He said in Matthew 23:23:
" Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone."
Notice how the Messiah instructed us to practice the weightier matters of the Torah, but not to neglect the matter of tithing.
In ancient days the tithe was collected by the Aaronic priesthood which was the physical counterpart of the Melchizedek Priesthood. The Melchizedek Priesthood is the highest Order of Priests in the universe and it is still in existence. All true believers in YaHuWaH the Elohim of Israel are subject to its jurisdiction. Some are even priests in that eternal Priesthood.
|1 Peter 2:9||"But you are a chosen race, a Royal Priesthood, a dedicated nation, and a people claimed by YaHuWaH for His own, to proclaim the triumphs of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light."|
YAHUSHUA The Messiah is the High Priest of the Melchizedek Priesthood. (Psalm 110:1-4) Therefore, to be in line with the Almighty's instructions the tithe should go to Messiah, the High Priest of that Royal Order.
How, then, do we give YAHUSHUA the Messiah the tithe? Obviously we cannot send it to heaven where he is. So what do we do with it; which group should we send it to? Where are the other priests of the Melchizedek Priesthood? Our advice to you is as follows:
And when you have thoroughly examined each one of these points, then send YaHuWaH 's tithe to the work you think comes closest to those standards: one that feeds the flock of YaHuWaH rather than spends its resources on well-meaning but spiritually barren projects. Remember that you have a responsibility to ensure that YaHuWaH 's tithe is not wasted.
Never imagine that the service of the Almighty is all sacrifice and no gain. YaHuWaH and His Son, as we have already pointed out, are Beings of unimaginable love and generosity. And they have scheduled themselves to repay a hundredfold every sacrifice believers may make in the cause of duty. Consider this beautiful promise:
|Matthew 10:42, 19:29||"Whosoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is My disciple, surely I declare to you, he shall not lose his reward."|
Peter said, 'Lord, do you intend this parable specially for us or is it for everyone?'
|Luke 12:42||"Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his Lord shall make ruler over His household to give their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his Lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath."|
And there you have it, perhaps one of the greatest challenges you have ever come across, to be a faithful and wise Steward in the Household of the King of Kings. It is a highly responsible post we will admit, and one that will call for sacrifice; but the rewards are great - greater by far than anything you can imagine.