Chapter 22—

Education by Ministers and Church Officers[1]

Those who go forth as ministers have a solemn responsibility

devolving upon them which is strangely neglected. 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. Our ministers

would feel sadly aggrieved if they were not promptly paid for their

labor; but will they consider that there must be meat in the treasure

house of God wherewith to sustain the laborers? If they fail to do

their whole duty in educating the people to be faithful in paying to

God His own, there will be a shortage of means in the treasury to

carry forward the Lord’s work.

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. The

mighty God declares, “Ye are cursed with a curse.” Malachi 3:9.

When the one who ministers in word and doctrine sees the people

pursuing a course that will bring this curse upon them, how can

he neglect his duty to give them instruction and warning? Every

church member should be taught to be faithful in paying an honest


Instructing New Converts

A laborer should never leave some portion of the work undone

because it is not agreeable to perform, thinking that the minister

coming next will do it for him. When this is the case, if a second

minister follows the first, and presents the claims that God has upon

His people, some draw back, saying, “The minister who brought us

the truth did not mention these things.” And they become offended

because of the word. Some refuse to accept the tithing system; they

turn away, and no longer walk with those who believe and love the

truth. When other lines are opened before them, they answer, “It

was not so taught us,” and they hesitate to move forward. How much

better it would have been if the first messenger of truth had faithfully

and thoroughly educated these converts in regard to all essential

matters, even if fewer had been added to the church under his labors.

God would be better pleased to have six thoroughly converted to

the truth than to have sixty make a profession and yet not be truly


It is part of the minister’s work to teach those who accept the

truth through his efforts, to bring the tithe to the storehouse, as an

acknowledgment of their dependence upon God. The new converts

should be fully enlightened as to their duty to return to the Lord His

own. The command to pay tithe is so plain that there is no semblance

of excuse for disregarding it. He who neglects to give instruction on

this point leaves undone a most important part of his work.

Ministers must also impress upon the people the importance

of bearing other burdens in connection with the work of God. No

one is exempt from the work of benevolence. The people must

be taught that every department of the cause of God should enlist

their support and engage their interest. The great missionary field

is open before us, and this subject must be agitated, agitated, again

and again. The people must be made to understand that it is not

the hearers, but the doers of the word, who will gain eternal life.

And they are to be taught also that those who become partakers of

the grace of Christ are not only to communicate of their substance

for the advancement of the truth, but are to give themselves to God

without reserve.[3]

The Pastor’s Duty

Let the church appoint pastors or elders who are devoted to the

Lord Jesus, and let these men see that officers are chosen who will

attend faithfully to the work of gathering in the tithe. If the pastors

show that they are not fitted for their charge, if they fail to set before

the church the importance of returning to God His own, if they do

not see to it that the officers under them are faithful, and that the

tithe is brought in, they are in peril. They are neglecting a matter

which involves a blessing or a curse to the church. They should be

relieved of their responsibility, and other men should be tested and


The Lord’s messengers should see that His requirements are

faithfully discharged by the members of the churches. God says that

there should be meat in His house, and if the money in the treasury

is tampered with, if it is regarded as right for individuals to make

what use they please of the tithe, the Lord cannot bless. He cannot

sustain those who think that they can do as they please with that

which is His.[4]

The Responsibility of Church Officers

It is the duty of the elders and officers of the church to instruct

the people on this important matter, and to set things in order. As

laborers together with God, the officers of the church should be

sound upon this plainly revealed question. The ministers themselves

should be strict to carry out to the letter the injunctions of God’s

word. Those who hold positions of trust in the church should not

be negligent, but they should see that the members are faithful in

performing this duty.... Let the elders and officers of the church follow

the direction of the Sacred Word, and urge upon their members

the necessity of faithfulness in the payment of pledges, tithes, and


Teaching the Poor to Be Liberal

Frequently those who receive the truth are among the poor of

this world; but they should not make this an excuse for neglecting

those duties which devolve upon them in view of the precious light

they have received. They should not allow poverty to prevent them

from laying up a treasure in heaven. The blessings within reach

of the rich are also within their reach. If they are faithful in using

what little they do possess, their treasure in heaven will increase

according to their fidelity. It is the motive with which they work, not the amount they do, that makes their offering valuable in the sight

of Heaven.[6]

[1] Ellen G. White, Counsels on Stewardship (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1940), chap. 22.

[2] Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1948), vol. 9, pp. 250, 251,

[3] Ellen G. White, Gospel Workers (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1915), pp. 369-371,

[4] Ellen G. White, “Honesty Toward Men and Toward God,” Review and Herald Supplement, Dec. 1, 1896:

[5] Ellen G. White, “The Duty of Paying Tithes and Offerings,” Review and Herald, Dec.17, 1889:

[6] E. G. White, Gospel Workers, p. 222.

Pull Quotes

The new converts should be fully enlightened as to their duty to return to the Lord His own.

Let the elders and officers of the church follow the direction of the Sacred Word, and urge upon their members the necessity of faithfulness in the payment of pledges, tithes, and offerings.

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