Finishing the year 2020 with integrity is a blessing. I find the following scripture to be a blessing:
Ps 24:1 “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.”
Col 1:15-16 “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.”
Matthew 25:15-30 Parable of the Talents - those that were given the 10 and the 5 talents doubled them and were praised by the master for their work and were promised more responsibility. The servant that was given 1 talent and hid it was reprimanded for not at least banking it so it would gain interest. The talent he had been given was taken from him and given to the one who had the 10 talents. God is asking us to be good stewards.
Malachi 3:8-10 “…tithes and offerings…Bring all the tithes into the storehouse…”
The Bible is clear that all things/resources belong to God and we are given the privilege of managing them. One aspect of managing our resources is responding to God’s directive to return tithe and give offerings.
There are some who are not clear on how the Laurel Heights Seventh-day Adventist Church tithes and offerings are managed. Here is a basic layout of the way tithes and offering are used.
Tithe: The Tithe is used to pay pastors, conference administrators, and teachers.
- God asks us to return one tenth (10%) of our increase for this purpose. The local church does not pay its pastors. Tithe is sent to the conference office. Pastors and church schoolteachers are in turn paid their salaries and benefits by the local conference in accordance with the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists policy.
- Pastors all receive the same pay regardless of at the size of or number of churches that they pastor. There is, however, a subsidy for travel that is increased by the number of churches they pastor, and a cost of living subsidy for pastors that serve and live in higher cost of living areas of the state of Texas.
Offerings: There are two types of offerings: Local Offerings, and Conference & World Offerings.
- Local Offerings: are used to operate the local church by paying for the utilities and local church ministries such as Pathfinders, Adventurers, Sabbath School expenses, VBS, literature, food give-a-ways to the needy, etc. If you want to give to a specific local ministry, you simply write the amount you want to give to that ministry on the Tithe Envelope. If that ministry is not listed on the envelope you simply write it in on one of the blank lines.
- Conference and World Offerings: are designated to support special conference wide evangelism, Adventist Christian Education (elementary schools, academies, universities, etc.), Media Ministries (It Is Written, Voice of Prophecy, etc.), Lake Whitney Ranch, Adventist Community Service, Adventist Disaster and Relief Agency, etc. If you want to give to a specific conference or world ministry, you simply write the amount you want to give to that ministry on the Tithe Envelope. If that ministry is not listed on the envelope you simply write it in on one of the blank lines.
All Tithes and offerings are used only as designated and designated offerings are never reappropriated for some other use. Some people, however, give offerings without designating it for a specific ministry. These monies are able to be used at the discretion of the Finance Committee.
The Laurel Heights Seventh-day Adventist Church family has been exceptionally committed to the giving of tithes and offerings so far this calendar year. At this point both Tithes and Offering contributions are equal or greater than this time last year. Thank you for your faithfulness. Times have been difficult for all of us, but God has continued to bless.
I know that God will bless us as we finish out this year with Stewardship Integrity. God bless you each, Pastor Bill Lindeman