Could you be missing out on one of God's Promises? Find out in this article!
WORLDWIDE, if a survey were to be taken right now, God's people would undoubtedly count themselves as THE most blessed people on the face of the earth! And rightly so! God has revealed to His people His laws concerning such things as child rearing, marriage, diet and finances. As a direct result of His people obeying these laws, God promises happiness and blessings in this life as well as a reward in the future wonderful world tomorrow. God's Law, which is spiritual in its understanding and application, brings with it tremendous physical blessings to all who understand and obey it. It is the only way real, lasting blessings can come, as many of you reading this right now would willingly testify. But is it possible that you may be missing out on an extra added blessing? Do you know that GOD PROMISES SPECIAL BLESSINGS WHICH ARE NOT AVAILABLE TO ALL His people ah! the time? Do you know that there is a group of people in God's Church right now who are experiencing blessings that the majority of us CANNOT have at this moment no matter how hard we may try? No, God is not a respecter of persons. The people receiving this extra special blessing consists of those in their third tithe year! This is the matchless privilege that comes only to God's people just once every three years, and only twice in a seven-year cycle! Those who keep this commandment faithfully are accorded a special blessing that those who are not keeping it at the same time CANNOT have!! That's right, only twice in seven years does this opportunity present itself! You need to understand more fully how to gain this extra blessing so that it doesn't pass you by unawares, or you miss out on it for lack of faith!
As the Bible abundantly testifies, God is gravely concerned with the circumstances of the helpless of this world. Not only those who are "poor in spirit," meaning humble and submissive, but also those who lack this world's goods due to circumstances beyond their control. Take a concordance and check out the number of times the words "poor," "needy" and "widow" appear. You may be surprised! The right regard for the poor and needy is a great part of a society governed by God's Law, and this is especially true concerning the welfare of a much-neglected group — the widow, the fatherless and the stranger. But like everything that GOD is deeply concerned about, man seems to have made a supreme hash of this problem. The way mankind has handled the problems of the widow and orphan throughout history is one of the reasons why God is so angry at this world! Notice what He says through the prophet Amos, and then apply what is written to today's society: "Forasmuch therefore as your treading is upon the poor, and ye take from him burdens of wheat: ye have built houses of hewn stone, but ye shall not dwell in them; ye have planted pleasant vineyards, but ye shall not drink wine of them. For I know your manifold transgressions, and your mighty sins: they afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right" (Amos 5:11-12). Doesn't this exactly fit today's society? Aren't the poor, especially the widows and fatherless, really neglected? Most of us have learned from bitter experience that it takes m o i q in this world to enjoy a decent, balanced diet. To live in a nice house. To enjoy the finer things of life. And yet the poor of the world, especially the elderly, the widowed or sick, cannot enjoy these things, and many are grudgingly given a miserable pittance from the government on which to eke out an existence when they have outlived their usefulness to society! Cast off like an old pair of shoes! Yes, God is very angry at a nation which has not learned to properly take care of this segment of its society. So very often the widow has to lead a life of fear and worry, frustration and anxiety, hopelessness and sorrow, all because of circumstances beyond her control. Does this sound like the way GOD WOULD HAVE IT? OF COURSE NOT!
A Better Way!
There is a better way! Like everything else pertaining to this life, God has provided for every contingency! He has provided a better way to live! God has His own "Social Security" for widows and orphans that is just and equitable. It allows for a person in these straitened circumstances to lead a life unencumbered with huge financial burdens and problems. A widow or orphan in grief and loneliness should not have to worry about such things! Let's read about God's Way in more detail in Deuteronomy 14, verse 28: "At the end of three pears thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year and shalt lay it up within thy gates: and the Levite (because he hath no part or inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and he satisfied; that the Lord thy GOD may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest." The Bible shows that the first tenth of your income is for the Levite TO DO THE WORK of carrying out the first commission in taking the Gospel to the world! (Numbers 18:20-21 and Matthew 28:19-20.) The second tithe is to be used by you in order to attend the Feast of Tabernacles each year (Deuteronomy 14:22-27), while the third additional tithe, payable only every third year, is for the support of the widowed, the stranger, the fatherless, and for the incidental needs of the Levite. The Levite, or present-day ministry, is supported almost entirely from your first tithes; but any additional help that is sometimes needed comes from third tithe in order to not burden the operation of the first commission. Some urea of ministerial support, however, come almost entirely from the third tithe fund! This is God's Way of providing for those in need. It is fair. It is equitable. It is not spent for anything except as defined by God's Word! This third tithe fund, as it is called, is maintained at God's Headquarters and is distributed on a regular monthly basis to all those in this category who are needy and have no other form of support. It is also used for emergency purposes, on a one-time assistance basis, by those who are qualified according to the Bible definition. Brethren, you will undoubtedly be surprised to learn that over one million dollars will be distributed during 1970 alone for the benefit of the fatherless, stranger and widow! Several thousand people, including many fatherless families, are supported out of this fund on a regular basis, just in the way that God ordained! It is truly a blessing to be able to contribute to the well-being of so many people and KNOW that it is doing the greatest possible good! There are no spongers or malingerers taking advantage of a huge expensive bureaucracy! All those who benefit are genuinely in need. At this point it might be as well to clear up a possible misconception about third tithe. Some few are of the impression that it is a SHAME to receive third tithe help, as if it were "welfare" or unemployment money. Nothing could be further from the truth! It is a part of GOD'S way of providing for those among His people who are widowed or deprived in some way and cannot support themselves. Third tithe help does not go to the lazy, idle, shiftless or able-bodied who are perfectly capable of working. Some few have refused help offered from third tithe because they "have never taken charity" or feel that they do not want to "burden the Church." The motive may be commendable, but please do not feel too proud to be helped! God in Heaven wants to help those who are genuinely in need and qualify. Your refusal may hurt others in your family, so please do not take it lightly. Incidentally, should you feel that you are in the category outlined in Deuteronomy 14:28-29 and are in need, please counsel with your local minister about it. It may be that you can be helped from third tithe, and receive a blessing from God.
Blessings Are Real!
Here in the Business Office in Pasadena, we receive many letters from widows and elderly people thanking God for His help, many of which are very moving in their thanks. Here is one, for example, from a lady in Sacramento:
"I have just received my first 3rd tithe assistance check. I'm overwhelmed with love and gratitude for God's right way. The Bible is filled with evidence of God's love and concern for widows. I'm so thankful that God saw fit to call me to know His wonderful truths. My life is filled with examples of the miracles He works in caring for widows. Now I can stay at home with my little girl and serve in the Church instead of having to be a 'working mother.' Thank you so much." Mary D., Sacramento, California
Many more are received exhibiting the same feelings. This kind of fruit alone shows that it is GOD'S way, and we really appreciate these acknowledgements of God's generosity. But a strange thing has happened! Believe it or not, letters outlining the blessings that come when paying third tithe outnumber those receiving it by ten or even twenty to one. God's Word is GOOD! He keeps His promise!! Remember what He said the purpose of these tithing laws is in Deuteronomy 14 at the end of verse 29? "...That the Lord GOD may bless thee in all the work of thy hand which thou doest." Look at the following remarkable letter from a member in Maryland;
May 4, 1969 H. W. Armstrong Box 111 Pasadena, California 91 109
Dear Mr. Armstrong, After the Feast of Tabernacles in 1967 we began our first 3rd tithe year. We had heard of the tremendous blessings of God to others who had given the third tithe, but like many other things in life the actual experience brings first-hand knowledge much more precious than word of mouth. We went into God's third tithe year expecting to be blessed — thoroughly convinced of God's perfect way. We decided in advance to record our blessings so that others might witness the absolute reliability of God. The attached sheet records the physical blessings bestowed upon us — recorded as they came. So bountiful is God's kindness so as to be almost unbelievable. He truly opened the windows of heaven.
(See PDF for List of Goods)
These physical things, good as they are, will perish with the using, but the faith, gratefulness — the spiritual imprint that God made in our characters during the 3rd tithe year are everlasting. We came out of that year physically and spiritually better off than ever before. Thank you and the Church of God for bringing God's precious truth to us. T.W.D., Jr.. Cockeysville, Md.
Now open your Bible and read God's promise in Malachi 3:10! An exact fulfillment of a promise to a faithful tithe-payer! This man's third-tithe year was more prosperous than he had ever dreamed! Here is another letter from another member (coincidentally!) in Maryland!
"During this third-tithe year I received salary increases in the amount of $1,397.00. In addition I was permitted to work overtime and earn an unexpected $500.00 more. As if this was not enough, I had no need for automobile or appliance repair services during the year because all the mechanical equipment God has entrusted to my care operated perfectly. To me, all of the above happenings are miracles. I say this because about thirteen months ago I added up my expected income for the year and compared this with expected expenses, and the comparison showed the income would not cover the expenses. Please accept my deep appreciation for your part in causing me to hear of God's good and uncomparable way of life." Arnold B., Catonsville, Maryland
Faith Is Necessary
Brethren, God's Blessings are real and tangible, and these letters are taken from many, many hundreds received here! Of course, these rewards are also spiritual because it takes FAITH to obey God, and it seems that obedience in financial matters is so much harder than almost anything else The reason? Because in money matters it is so easy to look at the physical. We know what the paycheck will be at the end of the week. We KNOW what debts have to be paid. We KNOW (absolutely!) that we won't have a raise for at least nine months. "And my wife is pregnant. .. and little Johnny needs new shoes... and the car is due for a transmission check... and my teeth need fixing... and I have only one good suit..." etc. This type of reasoning is easy enough to see and become desperately worried about, especially at the beginning of a third-tithe year. It's so easy to count money. It doesn't take faith to balance a checkbook. But tithing does take FAITH! A great deal of it! And it must be continual! The Bible says "without faith it is impossible to please Him" (Hebrews 11:6). If we want to please God, we should be exercising faith diligently, daily, continually. And keeping third tithe is certainly a very good exercise of faith.
"It's hard to believe, but even though this is our third tithe year, we are being so blessed by God that we actually have money left over that we never had before. It used to be that we were a few days behind on the rent each month if my check didn't fall on the first of the month. Now when the rent is paid I almost have enough to pay it again and this reserve is growing. Another thing is that I am now saving a Holy Day Offering a little per week as well as putting back entertainment and clothing money." John R. C., Rowland Heights, California
Now there's an exercise of living faith — and that person has money in the bank to prove it! To say nothing of the spiritual treasure being stored in heaven as a result of faithful obedience (Matthew 6:19-21). Being faithful with third tithe also has another benefit, aside from those mentioned above. Notice I John 3:17-18: "But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth." It gives us the opportunity of serving other brethren who are needy, teaching us compassion and love for those in God's Church. We are also instructed in Paul's letter to the Galatians: "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith" (Galatians 6:10). We now have this opportunity to serve those of our brethren who are in less fortunate circumstances than we are. Let's use and profit from every such opportunity!
Must Observe It Faithfully!
Unfortunately, brethren, the sad fact is that many are not giving to the third tithe fund as faithfully as they should be. Receipts for the year so far indicate that some may be delinquent in this duty before God. If we at Headquarters are to continue to maintain this fund in the way that God requires — and will bless — everyone now in their third tithe year should be observing it faithfully. The decreasing third tithe income indicates that some are not being as faithful as they should. In the event that some are not clear as to when the third tithe year begins, it may be just as well to outline some of the Biblical principles relating to this doctrine. The key scripture in Deuteronomy 14 makes it clear that the third tithe should be brought forth at the end of the third year. Since ancient Israel was basically an agricultural nation, the harvest at the end of the year (just at the Feast of Tabernacles) represented the whole year's increase. In today's economy each paycheck you receive is counted as increase. In other words, at the same time as you pay your first tithe amount in your third tithe year, you should also pay your third tithe amount. The two amounts should actually be the same! As mentioned earlier, this fund is maintained from Pasadena (or, in the case of overseas members, from the place to where you send your first tithe) and all donations should be clearly marked as to "first tithe," "third tithe," "offering," etc., with the amount for each. You may include your third tithe in with your first tithe and offering, but be sure to enclose a note breaking down the total amount. For some unaccountable reason third tithe income jumps tremendously in the month of December and drops alarmingly during January! In actual fact, the income should vary only slightly during the year, with a more noticeable change around the Feast of Tabernacles. This sudden jump may be because some are sending in their third tithe all on one check for the whole year. Please avoid doing this if possible since our planning is projected on a fairly steady income basis. Your third tithe year should begin two years after baptism at the Feast of Tabernacles closest to the date of your baptism. Using this method helps you to keep an accurate accounting of when to begin, and helps us in our financial planning to better serve those in need. If you have any questions as to when your third tithe year should begin, ask your local minister, or write your questions with your next letter to the Work if you do not have a minister available. Brethren, the need right now is great, and it does seem that some are not taking advantage of this priceless extra blessing. Be faithful with His third tithe!