By the time you are reading this, one fiscal year will have ended and another will have begun for the Church. In the Financial Services area, we are preparing for the annual audit of our financial statements and systems. The results of that audit will be published in United News in early 2018.
We continually express our gratitude to God for the financial and other blessings He provides, and we are grateful to the faithful members, coworkers and donors whose tithes and other contributions support the multifaceted work we are commissioned to do.
“All we have comes from God, so it is reasonable and proper to honor Him with the first tenth of all we earn.”
The Bible has a lot to say about money and finance. When we follow those principles faithfully, blessings inure to the giver and to God’s church and people.
While the Church is a spiritual Body, it relies on tithes and other contributions to fund its efforts. This is by God’s design.
For example, God instructs that we pay a tithe of our income to Him. All we have comes from God, so it is reasonable and proper to honor Him with the first tenth of all we earn.
“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse and try Me now in this . . . If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it,” God says in Malachi 3:10.
“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” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7).
Imagine that. God blesses us for giving! First tithes and general offerings are used to fund the operations, ministry, local churches and public proclamation efforts of the Church. Those types of offerings are labeled as “Contributions” on our audited financial statements.
Beyond the first tithe, God instructs us to also save a tithe so that we may keep His annual Feast days. In Deuteronomy 14:22-26, He says we should save that “second tithe” to “eat before Him in the place that He chooses” (emphasis added throughout). The Church spends considerable time and resources in planning for the various Feast sites we all attend each year. We appreciate those who send in a portion of their second tithe to help fund the cost of the Feast halls and activities that make the Feast of Tabernacles time special and meaningful for all of us. When you send in such an offering, please note it as “Festival Fund” or “second tithe.”
God is aware of all our needs, and He expects us to be aware of the needs—including financial needs—of others as well.
“At the end of every third year you shall bring out the tithe of your produce of that year and store it up in your gates. And the Levite . . . and the stranger, and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates may come and eat and be satisfied that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do” (Deuteronomy 14:29).
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have the opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:9-10).
We are our brother’s keeper, and God expects us to take care of the needs of each other. As His Church, we expend a considerable sum each year in financially assisting brethren with documented need. During the fiscal year 2016, just under $750,000 was provided in “assistance to the needy.” Through the first 11 months of fiscal 2017, about $800,000 in such assistance has been given.
But we did not receive nearly that much in for our assistance account in either year. In fiscal 2016, only $350,000 (less than half of the actual assistance needed) was received. In fiscal 2017, donations to the assistance fund were less than a third of the amount distributed.
When you participate in this effort and send in “third tithe” or an offering in addition to first tithe, that you want to be used for assistance for the needy, please note that on your check.
Thank you again to our faithful members, coworkers and donors whose heart is in the work of God. As God designed, the work of the Church depends on you and us and our commitment to the financial principles and requirements God establishes for us. May He guide us, direct us and help us to be wise stewards and to use His funds to do His will.