Robert Lemon, Treasurer, General Conference

Summary: Because of Christ and His sacrifice for us, we have been made His stewards and partners. Read Elder Lemon’s interesting illustrations regarding returning tithe and our attitude toward this important act of worship.

On my way home one day, I tuned in the radio program, ?Turning Point.? ?The best way to get rid of debt,? said Dr. David Jeremiah ?is to make God first in your life. Ninety percent with God’s blessings pays off debt faster than one-hundred percent.?

?There are three kinds of people in the world,? he continued, ?the haves, the have nots, and the have not paid for what they have.? Unfortunately, too many of us fall into the latter group. We need plastic surgery—we need to cut up our plastic credit cards.

These words got me thinking. We are all debtors; we always will be. The question is, ?to whom are we indebted?? And the answer? We are indebted to Christ for His precious sacrifice for us! We are stewards of all He has entrusted to us. But there is a special part that He asks us to ?return? to Him.

In the book Acts of the Apostles, Ellen White writes: ?Of the means entrusted to man, God claims a certain portion—the tenth. He leaves all free to say whether or not they will give more than this? (p. 74). There is a clear difference between what we decide to give and what we are to return to our Lord.

Over the years I’ve met some who feel its up to them to decide how the tithe should be used—for example, for the benefit of a particular project. One day while returning home with one such friend, I listened as he expressed this sentiment. After-wards he stopped to pick up a few groceries. I needed some items as well, but didn’t have any cash on me—the only legal tender used at that time. I asked my friend if I might borrow $20, promising to repay it in the morning. He gladly lent me the money.

The next day, I returned the cash with a note that said, ?Use this to purchase seat covers for your new car.? (He already had new seat covers!) Later, he refuted, ?You’re kidding me. You’re returning my money and telling me what to do with it??

I replied, ?Sure. I thought that was what you said yesterday about returning tithe and letting God know how He should use it.? He laughed. ?You’ve made your point.? We do give offerings for special projects and ought to be concerned that tithe is used appropriately. But let’s remember, the tithe belongs to God.

The Lord’s math is very different from math taught in most schools. With Him, ninety percent is more than one-hundred percent. When we worship Him by returning our tithe, we are blessed beyond measure.

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October–December, 2003

Stewardship