Tithes and offerings for God are an acknowledgment of His claim on us by creation, and they are also an acknowledgment of His claim by redemption. Because all our power is derived from Christ, these offerings are to flow from us to God. They are to keep ever before us the claim of redemption, the greatest of all claims, and the one that involves every other. The realization of the sacrifice made in our behalf is ever to be fresh in our minds and is ever to exert an influence on our thoughts and plans. Christ is to be indeed as one crucified among us.
"Know ye not that . . . ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price." 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20. What a price has been paid for us! Behold the cross, and the Victim uplifted upon it. Look at those hands, pierced with the cruel nails. Look at His feet, fastened with spikes to the tree. Christ bore our sins in His own body. That suffering, that agony, is the price of your redemption. The word of command was given: "Deliver them from going down to perish eternally. I have found a ransom."
Know you not that He loved us, and gave Himself for us, that we in return should give ourselves to Him? Why should not love to Christ be expressed by all who receive Him by faith as verily as His love has been expressed to us for whom He died?
Christ is represented as hunting, searching, for the sheep that was lost. It is His love that encircles us, bringing us back to the fold. His love gives us the privilege of sitting together with Him in heavenly places. When the blessed light of the Sun of Righteousness shines into our hearts, and we rest in peace and joy in the Lord, then let us praise the Lord; praise Him who is the health of our countenance and our God. Let us praise Him, not in words only, but by the consecration to Him of all that we are and all that we have.
"How much owest thou unto my Lord?" Compute this you cannot. Since all that you have is His, will you with hold from Him that which He claims? When He calls for it, will you selfishly grasp it as your own? Will you keep it back and apply it to some other purpose than the salvation of souls? It is in this way that thousands of souls are lost. How can we better show our appreciation of God's sacrifice, His great donation to our world, than by sending forth gifts and offerings, with praise and thanksgiving from our lips, because of the great love wherewith He has loved us and drawn us to Himself?
Looking up to heaven in supplication, present yourselves to God as His servants, and all that you have as His, saying: "Lord, of Thine own we freely give Thee." Standing in view of the cross of Calvary and the Son of the infinite God crucified for you, realizing that matchless love, that wonderful display of grace, let your earnest inquiry be: "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" He has told you: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." Mark 16:15.
When you see souls in the kingdom of God saved through your gifts and your service, will not you rejoice that you had the privilege of doing this work?
Of the apostles of Christ it is written: "They went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following." Mark 16:20. Still the heavenly universe is waiting for channels through which the tide of mercy may flow throughout the world. The same power that the apostles had is now for those who will do God's service.
The enemy will invent every device in his power to prevent the light from shining in new places. He does not want the truth to go forth "as a lamp that burneth." Will our brethren consent that he shall succeed in his plans for hindering the work?
Time is rapidly passing into eternity. Will any now keep back from God that which is strictly His own? Will any refuse Him that which, though it may be given without merit, cannot be denied without ruin? The Lord has given to every man his work, and the holy angels want us to be doing that work. As you shall watch and pray and work, they stand ready to co-operate with you. When the understanding is worked upon by the Holy Spirit, then all the affections act harmoniously in compliance with the divine will. Then men will give to God His own, saying: "All things come of Thee, and of Thine own we freely give Thee." May God forgive His people that they have not done this.
Brethren and sisters, I have tried to set things before you as they are, but the attempt falls far short of the reality. Will you refuse my plea? It is not I who appeal to you; it is the Lord Jesus, who has given His life for the world. I have but obeyed the will, the requirement, of God. Will you improve the opportunity of showing honor to God's work and respect for the servants whom He has sent to do His will in guiding souls to heaven?
But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (as it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth forever. Now He that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) being enriched in everything to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men; and by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you. Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable Gift." 2 Corinthians 9:6-15.