Some of you have responded nobly, generously, with a willing heart, and to the limit of your ability, to my last letter and plea that the Church of God come to life, and YET save the Tabernacle, so that it may proceed immediately and be ready for this fall. God will richly bless you. I am personally grateful, from the heart!
But most or you have not responded at all! The whole result, brethren, makes me simply heartsick!
We are, of course, a "LITTLE FLOCK," as Jesus called His Church. We are as Jesus foretold of the "Philadelphia" era of His Church, not strong—having only a LITTLE strength. Yet there are now more than 5,000 of us who are adult members—and we are commissioned of Christ, thru HIS POWER, to do a truly MIGHTY WORK!
But out of more than 5,000 members, only 381 of us have responded with any pledge at all! Doesn't that make YOU heartsick, too? BRETHREN! Where are your HEARTS? Certainly, for many of you, NOT IN GOD'S WORK—NOT IN HELPING BUILD THIS HOUSE FOR GOD! Jesus said: Where your treasure is, THERE will your hearts be also. Only 381 of us seem to have our hearts in obeying God that we may have a PLACE to assemble for His Festivals!
Now I know that some few are not able to give anything at all toward this larger Tabernacle. Some few, on state or county-paid old age pensions are not legally allowed to contribute any of that meagre income to God's Church. There are enough others of us who can, and who already have more than made up for that, by making pledges of far larger than average amounts. The 381 of us who have responded with a willing heart have pledged a total of $6,053.78, or $16 per month per person, on the average. BUT THAT IS LESS THAN HALF THE AMOUNT NEEDED!
I know, too, that SOME of you have already been giving, for the regular Gospel work of the Church, right up to the last dime you are able to give, in addition to tithes. Some of you are not able to stretch it any further. Some few, too, are out of work. These things we know. But these are only a FEW of our more than 5,000 adult members—and THAT we know, too! If I were temporarily out of work, I would have faith that, with my own energized efforts and strong purpose, God would soon provide employment—and I would write in and explain and pledge a modest amount to begin IF, and WHEN I find that employment.
You've read of how God's Church in the wilderness under Moses needed a Tabernacle, and Moses sent out a proclamation for the people to GIVE of their means to build it. They had their HEARTS in it. They gave so generously Moses had to send out another proclamation asking them to STOP contributing—far MORE than enough had flowed in!
Later, King David saw the need of a House for GOD in Jerusalem. But because David had been a man of war and shed blood, God did not allow David to build it, but decreed it should be built by his son Solomon. Then David assembled all the princes of Israel and of the tribes, and the captains of the companies of hundreds, etc., in Jerusalem. Then David revealed the plans for the great Temple to all the people, and how God had decreed that Solomon was to build it. In the presence of this vast assembly, David gave Solomon the plans (like today's blue-prints) for the entire building, which had been designed by GOD, and given to David.
David told the people he had prepared for this great tabernacle or Temple with ALL HIS MIGHT (I Chron. 29:2-3)—just as I myself have for the Tabernacle God needs TODAY. "Moreover," continued David, "because I have set my affection to the House of my God, I have given of mine own proper good, of gold and silver which I have given to the House of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy House..." then enumerating the vast amount he, personally had given.
Then David asked of the PEOPLE of God's Church of that day: "WHO, then, is willing to consecrate HIS service this day unto the Eternal?" And the people proved that their HEARTS WERE IN IT—the amount they gave, measured in dollars, was equivalent to four hundred and fifteen and a half MILLIONS of dollars! (I Chron. 29:5- 8).
And then "THE PEOPLE REJOICED, for that they had offered WILLINGLY, because with perfect heart they offered WILLINGLY to the Eternal: and David the King also rejoiced with great joy" (Verse 9).
Brethren, WHY CAN'T WE, TODAY, BE AS WILLING OF HEART, AND REJOICE AS MUCH? We have God's HOLY SPIRIT to help and guide and lead us—they did not. We live in a far more prosperous time and country than they. But we have not been willing to GIVE to God, proportionately, as they!
Now consider the FACTS! There are some 5,000 of us who are adult members of God's Church today. And we have contributed, by pledge, only an average of $1.25 per month per member! Some of our ministers, in setting you an example, have contributed from $30 to $100 per month each—which is a pretty good portion of their salaries, especially after income taxes, tithes, and regular offerings for the GOSPEL WORK, which must come out first. A few others have pledged $50 to $200 per month each. Mrs. Armstrong and I, since writing you that letter, have found a way to cut other living expenses still more and increase still further our own pledge.
Do you see what this MEANS? lt means that LESS THAN ONE- THIRTEENTH OF OUR FIVE THOUSAND MEMBERS HAVE MADE ANY PLEDGE AT ALL! Twelve out of thirteen of you have made none whatsoever!
BRETHREN! When an average of $3 per adult member per month would build that Tabernacle, and we can only muster about one-third of that, CAN WE SAY OUR HEARTS ARE IN THE TRUE CHURCH OF GOD? I say SHAME ON US! I wonder what GOD thinks of us! What will be our excuse, when we face Christ in the JUDGMENT? Can God look down on us today, and say: "This is my beloved Church, in whom I am well pleased!"??? As one embittered and angry enemy of God's Church and His Law says of us—I wonder, are we in GRACE, or in DISgrace?
True, I know that some FEW of you could not possibly by sacrifice or stretching your offerings to the limit contribute even $3 per month additional for the Tabernacle. Some FEW, that is! But that is not true of 12 out of every 13 of us! That is not true of more than 1 out of each 13! And now, since only 381 of us have pledged $6,000 per month, SURELY eleven out of twelve of the rest of you could manage to tighten your belts a little more—just as 381 of us have done, and pledge AT LEAST $3 per month! And I am convinced that there are many more of you who ARE ABLE, if you'll permit God to make your hearts willing, to contribute amounts like the 381 already have pledged. Here's a sample of the way the amounts pledged run: From one, $5 per month; from the next pledge opened and counted, $10.83; then $10; $50; $20; $75; $2; $50; $5; $5; $15; $100; $10; $5; $10; $200; $10; $10; $6 per month, etc., etc. Those were taken in order, just as their letters were opened and counted. Not all averaged that large, however—there were some of $1. The average was $16 per month. But if 381 of us can do that much, I am convinced that MOST of the rest of us can do just as well, on the average—IF OUR HEARTS ARE WILLING!
Some of you sent in a special offering for the Tabernacle, but seemed to feel unwilling to make a PLEDGE. Brethren, do you realize that I, as your Pastor, and President of the corporation that is The Church of God, must sign a contract—which is the same as a pledge—to pay many THOUSANDS of dollars every month, before the construction company will even start to erect the Tabernacle? We have to do business with the world in the conduct of God's work, and that's the way business is done. Should YOU, then, not hold up my hands, and stand back of me in this, and make YOUR pledge, too, that the business office of the Church may be ABLE to make these monthly payments? I made it plain that any pledge you make is CONDITIONED ON YOUR CONTINUED ABILITY! If you are thrown out of work—if for any reason your income stops or is so reduced you are no longer ABLE to contribute the pledged amount, then YOUR OBLIGATION CEASES. Brethren, THERE IS NO RIGHT REASON IN GOD'S SIGHT WHY YOU SHOULD NOT BACK ME UP—there is no right reason to DELAY this Tabernacle!
So now I'm going to tell you what I have done. The decision had to be made last week. So I called the representative of the construction company we are dealing with on long distance telephone. I made, on sheer faith IN GOD to move on the hearts of the rest of you brethren, a new and altered proposal. Instead of binding us to monthly payments of $15,000 per month, I now proposed payments of $12,000 per month between now and the Festival next October, with a $65,000 payment now at the start, and $18,000 per month payments beginning with November, and with a $30,000 payment which we must raise during the Festival for the month of October. We have enough cash in the bank, set aside for this Tabernacle fund, to pay this initial $65,000 down payment, and leave us a $25,000 cash reserve, as a guarantee in case the full amount does not come in during any future months. And I might add, the architect's fees are all completely PAID IN FULL, already. The plans are completed. That part of the cost of the Tabernacle is already fully paid.
While this proposal must be finally approved by the president of the construction company in Nebraska, the representative who is handling this for us felt sure it would be acceptable; so, I gave them the "green light" to go ahead immediately, so that the new Tabernacle will be built, completed, and ready for us before this coming Feast of Tabernacles!
I have been encouraged to make this new proposal partly because actually more money is coming in from members for the Building Fund than is being pledged. But I KNOW it is GOD'S WILL to go ahead. God commands us to assemble at the place where HE has chosen to place His name, and KEEP the Feast of Tabernacles! We cannot do this without a place in which to assemble. The Bible shows it is always God's will to provide a BUILDING for such things, just as He did under Moses and under David and Solomon.
Solomon's Temple was the most extravagantly COSTLY building ever constructed on earth! It was decorated with solid gold, silver, precious stones, choicest marble, finest woods. And GOD HIMSELF planned it, designed it, and gave the plans to David! It was His will!
Today, we are constructing this Tabernacle of the LEAST costly method and material of construction known, planned to cut down every possible dollar of cost. It will not even be insulated on the inside—no inside finish at all—just the hollow shell of the aluminized steel walls and ceilings—even eliminating the cost of supporting structural beams, made possible by this new type of construction. And still, we who are SO MANY in number as to make necessary so large a building, have only been willing to pledge SO LITTLE as to make impossible its construction, UNLESS GOD NOW MAKES MORE HEARTS WILLING!
Time is short. We have not many years to use this Tabernacle. Perhaps 12 or 13 more. That's WHY we are building it at the very LEAST possible cost! THAT'S WHY we must not delay another year!
Brethren, LET'S NOW WAKE UP!—I mean all but the 381 who already have made pledges, and the few others UNABLE to make one. LET'S NOT LET THIS STIGMA REMAIN AGAINST GOD'S CHURCH ANOTHER WEEK! I'm praying and asking God to lay this burden so heavily on your hearts you'll now LEAP to action. Last Sabbath I spoke very strongly about this to our local Pasadena Church. The next two days local members DID spring to action and make, or increase pledges, in the amount of an additional thousand dollars a month. If our Pasadena brethren could do it—SO CAN THE REST OF YOU! PRAY ABOUT IT! LET GOD HAVE HIS WAY IN YOUR HEART!
I'm going to RELY on YOU rushing the largest pledge you are ABLE to make, entirely over and above your tithes and regular offerings, BY RETURN MAIL! WE DARE NOT FAIL! The few here in Pasadena whom I have told of the decision to go ahead with the Tabernacle, RIGHT NOW, have virtually shouted and jumped up and down for JOY! I hope you will, too—and that you will now RESPOND—up to your ability—and PRAY that God will increase our abilities, and PROSPER us, and make US ABLE! GOD BLESS YOU!