Tithe and the Storehouse
“Let Us Reason Together”
Whose tithe is it any way? “In the beginning God created ….” (Gen. 1:1, NKJV*). “All things were made by him….” (Jn. 1:3). As Creator, God Owns Everything!
"In the modern setting His ‘church’ is considered to be the ‘storehouse.’ For distribution purposes, the Adventist church has designated the local conference as the ‘storehouse.’"
God’s Word informs us that six generations before there was a law, Abram “gave…tithes of all” to Melchizedek (Gen. 14:20); Jacob voluntarily pledged “of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee,” at Bethel (Gen. 28:22); and God instructed the Israelites, “bring forth all the tithe of thine increase.” (Deut. 14:22).
God prescribed the ‘storehouse’ for the tithe (Deut. 12). Initially this was the temporary sanctuary; later the temple replaced the sanctuary (Neh. 10:37). Malachi 3:10 instructs, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse.” In the modern setting His ‘church’ is considered to be the ‘storehouse.’ For distribution purposes, the Adventist church has designated the local conference as the ‘storehouse.’
God directed that the tithe was intended for the Levites for “the service of the tabernacle” and in lieu of an inheritance for them in the Promised Land (Num.18:21, 24).
The Church's Tithe?
The Seventh-day Adventist Church follows God’s instruction for the use of the tithe. General Conference Working Policy V 05 05 reads, “The tithe is to be held sacred for:
The work of the ministry Bible teaching. This includes conference, mission, field administration in the care of churches Field outreach operations Every Sabbath faithful church members turn in tithe at their local church and the church treasurer remits it to the local conference in total. The local conference treasurer pays the authorized salaries and expenses of the pastors serving the local churches, and contributes predetermined percentages to the employees’ Retirement Fund. Local churches receive further support from the conference through assistance from administrators and departments, in public evangelism, health ministry, church schools, and more.
"As Creator, God owns everything and gives power to get wealth."
The ‘church’ is a temporary repository, a channel, for the disbursement of tithe.
As Creator, God owns everything and gives power to get wealth. Our heavenly Father blesses us with material goods, talents, opportunities, and privileges (Js. 1:17). “…the LORD thy God…it is He that giveth thee power to get wealth …” (Deut. 8:18).
Periodically, a church member may conclude that something in ‘the church’ is not what it ought to be, or a leader is considered to be guilty of some improbity, and the member may be inclined to ‘withhold my tithe, until …!’ Concern about God’s church is commendable, but (1) it is not ‘my’ tithe to withhold, and (2) procedures are available to resolve such issues.
Returning tithe is an imperative; it is only conditional on having ‘an increase.’ Tithing is not a lateral or horizontal transaction; it is, demonstrably, evidence of a relationship with our Creator.
"Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little;…and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes"
God’s requirement is clear: “Bring forth all the tithe of thine increase…[it] is the LORD'S: it is holy unto the LORD.” He is blatantly straightforward in His inquiry through Malachi 3:8: “Will a man rob God?.…But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.”
God has ordained a divine-human partnership to finance His Kingdom; He owns everything (Ps. 50:10; Hag. 2:8), but has made mankind custodian and caretaker or steward of His creation.
God speaks to us: “Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little;…and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes” (Hag. 1:6, 8); “Come now, and let us reason together: If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land” (Isa. 1:18, 19).
* All Bible texts in this article are from the New King James Version.