A Hierarchy in Giving
Some time ago, we received a gift in addition to our regular income. In response, we decided to return an additional tithe. I usually use the giving app for tithe and offerings, but this time—even though it had been many years—I chose to use the tithe envelope. After Sabbath School, I took an envelope from the holder in the pew, and I had a shock. The line for tithe was not where I was looking for it—at the top of the list of giving destinations. I had to scroll down to find tithe, somewhere in the middle of the page.
Was this change only cosmetic? Did the designer just want to be creative and original? Or could it be that the variance in format is pointing to a more profound shift in mindset concerning tithe and other types of giving? I don’t know the answer yet, but we need to recognize that forms and formats are more than neutral containers; they convey a message in themselves.
The ordering of the items on the tithe envelope is at least making an implicit statement—and there are reasons to be alarmed. God has established an order, a specific hierarchy, in giving: “After the tithe is set apart, let gifts and offerings be apportioned, ‘as God hath prospered you.’”
This issue of the Dynamic Steward revisits some reasons behind the practice of tithing. The set of articles combines Scriptural studies and life experiences to recommend tithing as a spiritual discipline for God’s church in this generation. We acknowledge, however, that the topic is vast, and many questions could not be answered in this single edition.
May these words guide our steps as we instruct God’s people pertaining to this subject: “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Pet. 3:15, NIV).
1 Rosenwasser, D.; & Stephen, J. (2012), Writing Analytically, 6th ed. (Boston, MA: Wadsworth), p. 317.
2 Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, May 9, 1893.