Some of God's people are not us yielded as they should be. Some want to hold back from a total commitment. Are you in this category? Read this article and find out!
EVERYONE in God's Church who has repented, been baptized and has God's Holy Spirit is required to tithe as a point of obedience. God demands this of His children. From every pay check you receive, one tenth of the gross is deducted and sent to God's Work as your part in fulfilling this great commission. Another tenth is put away as second tithe for use at the Feast of Tabernacles. Also, seven times during the year, on the Holy Days, God's people are required to make further financial offerings. Again, this is dutifully done — usually quite generously. God's people are, in the main, generous and liberal with their tithes and offerings. Apart from these regular tithes and Holy Day offerings, God also requires us to give regular love offerings over and above those specifically commanded. This help us to use wisdom in budgeting our money, allows us to have a greater part in the Work and to receive a blessing. Then, of course, there is the Property Fund (or Building Fund) which helps to build better facilities on the three college campuses in training young men and women for God's Work. Many take great joy in helping in this way. Also, apart from all these, there is usually a local emergency fund which is used to help those who suddenly find themselves in a financial reversal. Again, many support this generously, in a spirit of love and service. Finally, every third and sixth year in a seven-year cycle comes the third tithe year! One more tenth to be given to God's Church for the benefit of the needy, the widow, the orphan and the Levite.
The Natural Tendency
Once all these obligations are fulfilled, the natural tendency is to sit back and say, "Well, now I'm really doing my part in God's Work!" Then one morning you receive a letter from Mr. Armstrong. He is asking for more help — over and above everything else you may have given — because overall income is down and the Work needs more money for the spreading of the Gospel! Sometimes, brethren, and unfortunately, this is the turning point for many of God's people! Some complain, others totally ignore the pressing need claiming they are doing enough already, and yet others rebel and begin to criticize the organization behind God's Church! But wait a minute!! Supposing that that letter from Mr. Armstrong, God's Apostle and physical head of His Church, asked you to give your whole month's income to the Work? Supposing it asked you to sell your automobile, your house and some of your treasured personal possessions, and send the money to him, how would you feel then? What if God, through Mr. Armstrong, demanded that you GIVE EVERYTHING YOU OWN to His Work? Would you? Would you do it cheerfully and unreservedly? Would you have the attitude of one who realizes that God has a PERFECT RIGHT to demand everything from us? Would Haggai 2:8 in which God says: "All the gold and all the silver is mine..." flash to your mind? Would you recall Christ's words in Matthew 19:29 when He said that everyone who forsook someone or something for His sake would be rewarded one hundredfold and should inherit eternal life?
Many Holding Back
Yet it is a fact, brethren, that many of God's people are holding back! Too many are receiving these requests in a wrong attitude! Far too many are not yielding completely! This lack of yieldedness doesn't apply just to financial matters but also to many other aspects of Christian living. In child rearing, family relations, diet, personal growth, overcoming, and in many, many other areas, some are just holding back and not giving one hundred percent of their time and effort to improvement and change! We know it is wrong, for example, to eat pork, so we abstain from it; but instead, some load up on white bread, mashed potatoes and greasy gravy! "After all, these things aren't directly forbidden by the Bible like pork is," it is rationalized, forgetting the Godly principles underlying a good healthy diet. In the area of child rearing it is easy to neglect positive child training because your child doesn't get on your nerves and seems to be fairly well behaved at Sabbath Services! So the child then suffers from the lack of proper love and guidance and the parents ultimately will suffer from having produced a juvenile delinquent! If you have given yourself completely and totally to God in every way, then that yielded attitude will show itself in every facet of your life. When correction is given it will be taken one hundred percent. When friendship and love are offered, they will be accepted wholeheartedly! What God wants to be done, will be done — all the way, with no half-way measures! It means total obedience to your Creator!
Notice the attitude of Jesus Christ as Paul was inspired to write: "Let this mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Phil. 2:5-8). Notice also this unchanging attitude manifested just before His crucifixion. "Jesus knowing that the Father had given ALL things into His hands, and that He was come from God and went to God: He rose from supper, and laid aside His garments: and took a towel and girded Himself... and began to wash the disciples feet" (John 13:3-5). In spite of the fact that He knew He was to inherit ALL THINGS, Christ was still humble and yielded to the will of His Father in Heaven! He was never "too big" to go "all the way"! Could anyone say that Christ never gave Himself? He held nothing back! He yielded Himself totally and God says we should walk in His footsteps! (I Peter 2:21.) Jesus Christ put Himself in the right perspective in relationship to God the Father and His overall Plan. He didn't try to hang on to any worldly physical attractions or allow Himself to be sidetracked by them. He knew He was temporarily an instrument in fulfilling a certain phase of God's Plan and acted accordingly. "The Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the Works," (John 14.10). He was completely in subjection to God's will, to the extent that it cost Him His life in an agonizing, lingering, pain-wracked death on the stake.
The apostle Paul, also, is an example of a person who gave his all for the privilege of serving God "I know both how to be abased and how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry..." (Phil. 4:12). Paul, before his conversion, was a man of great worldly stature and prestige, but he finished his life owning nothing and giving his whole self unreservedly to God! He came into the world naked and left it naked! Read the harrowing account of his experiences as a servant of God in II Corinthians 11, verses 21-33. Paul was totally committed, he held nothing back, and as a result, he is to receive "a crown of righteousness" which Christ will give him at His return (II Tim. 4:8). In the light of this, don't some of our own personal gripes and complaints suddenly shrivel up and blow away? All at once our personal wants and desires are reduced to their proper size, when compared to the experiences of these dedicated individuals.
Mr. Armstrong's Experiences
Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong has described in his autobiography how that everything he owned was stripped from him. That he had to tramp the dusty roads of Oregon in a threadbare suit and with holes in his shoes, to preach the gospel. He was once a man, who, like Paul had prestige and status in the eyes of the world. He was on the way up to the highest rungs on the ladder of success. But God reduced Mr. Armstrong (and his wife and family) to absolute poverty for 28 years in preparing him for this Work. As he has described them, they were long, lean years, but today, this message is the biggest thing in radio on the face of the earth, because of Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong's yielded attitude. They allowed God to work through them! They gave everything they possessed — and more! — in order to serve their Creator! Brethren, we have no time left to sit around rationalizing and justifying ourselves! If we want God to work through us NOW so that we can be used in His Kingdom in the World Tomorrow, then we must YIELD and NOT hold back from absolute obedience to Him and His government! We must ACT and act NOW!
Examples of the Early Church
Do you recall the attitude of the first members of God's Church on and around the Day of Pentecost, 31 A.D.? They believed Christ was coming back! They saw great signs of the giving of God's Holy Spirit! They witnessed the climactic changes in Christ's Apostles. They heard the powerful, inspired preaching of Peter, James and the others! They were filled with the expectant urgency of the setting up of God's Kingdom! And they wanted to do their part! Notice the historical account in Acts. "Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of land or houses SOLD THEM, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made to every man according as he had need" (Acts 4:34-35). This wasn't communism as some misguided people have accusingly claimed! This was a wonderful example of a group of yielded people — Gods people — who had given up EVERYTHING they owned to help others benefit from the glorious gospel they heartily believed and had faith in. We today are called upon to help and serve in a much mightier and greater WORLDWIDE work, reaching untold millions! The end of an age is fast approaching! There are still many millions yet unreached! We MUST develop that same attitude if we are to do an effective worthwhile job before Christ returns!
Bearing in mind the urgency of the times in which we live, here are three simple, practical points to follow in developing a more yielded attitude of mind towards God, His Work, and His servants. Use them in examining your attitude! And apply them to work a change in your life! First of all, BE RESPONSIVE TO GOD'S GOVERNMENT and learn to take advice SERIOUSLY! When you hear a point in a sermon, or read something in the Bible or an article, which applies to you, take it to heart! Take it personally and adopt it into your life — make it part and parcel of your thinking and doing! If somebody has taken the time to think about you and your problems enough to write them down or at least state them, then it must mean the problem is a real one! Of course, you must make sure that the person giving the advice or correction is properly qualified to do so! God is qualified and so are His ministers and those He uses as His direct instruments! Don't fall into the common trap of thinking YOU know better or of taking the attitude that "He doesn't understand my particular problem." The chances are he does, and probably better than you do! "My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of His correction" (Prov. 3:11). "Don't take it lightly," said Solomon, "learn to appreciate God's correction and apply it!" And later on in Proverbs he wrote, "Give instruction to a wise man and he will be yet wiser..." (Prov. 9:9). Taking advice and instruction from God is the very essence of wisdom! Many other Proverbs attest to the same teaching. Learn to be responsive to advice and instruction and the less you will need to be hit across the head with the "two-by-four" of strong, painful, and ear-tingling correction!
Don't Compare Yourself!
The second point in this three-point plan is: Never adopt the attitude that "He is just as weak and human as I am!" It may be true, and the carnal mind will use this as an excuse if it is! Avoid diligently any self-comparison! Don't look to the person who gives the advice, counsel or correction; he is only a weak, human being. LOOK TO CHRIST, as the living, active, dynamic Head of His Church! "Set your affection [margin: mind] on things above, and not on things on the earth" (Col. 3:2). Realize that Christ WANTS you in His Kingdom — and so do His servants — but personal correction is a necessary and vital part towards entering that Kingdom! It is so easy to downgrade a person, especially when he is younger, less experienced in the world, newly married, or has what you may consider to be a glaring array of faults! But brethren we are not to be bondslaves to a person! We should be committed to Christ! Our lives and allegiance belong to Him! He is the Head of this Church! (Col. 1:18.) Human beings can neither prevent nor get you into God's Kingdom! That is your choice and responsibility! God's ministers are simply teachers proclaiming the Word of God. Whether you OBEY or not is entirely up to you; but your decision does make a difference in your obtaining that "crown of righteousness" we are all fervently seeking.
Not a Personal Insult!
Unhappily, so many take advice or correction as an insult or a personal affront and don't receive it in the spirit in which it is given! Some feel that the minister "has it in" for them — whatever that means. One young man claimed that God's ministers were "picking on him," and left the Church, bitter and resentful. That attitude is carnal and shows a lack of spiritual understanding. God's ministers DARE NOT express personal feelings this way! It is literally more than their life is worth! Learn to yield to the correction or advice given as though it were given personally by Jesus Christ and not by a human being! Don't seek hidden or "political" intrigue, and, above all, don't compare yourself with the person giving advice. The Bible says that people who do such things are not wise! (II Cor. 10:12.)
The final point to remember is to strike while the iron is hot! Learn to ACT straight away on advice! Don't wait around until you find all sorts of reasons for self-justification! Don't indulge in the carnal luxury of self-pity or rationalization! If you don't see it right away go ahead on faith in Christ's counsel! When you do that, the responsibility becomes His and He will see no harm comes to you! "No chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous [it hurts!]: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruits of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby" (Heb. 12:11). Instead of allowing the pain of correction to drive you to the depths of self-pity, which is negative, let it spur you to CHANGE for the better, which is positive! Only the people who act on counsel, correction or advice can expect to benefit from it! Of course it hurts — it should — but it will stop just as soon as you YIELD to it! Be pliable, be malleable! Be easy to correct, don't fight it the whole time! We have a Father in Heaven who loves us and only gives correction when absolutely necessary! Let's not make it so necessary! Once you have taken the lesson to heart and acted on it, you will really experience a feeling of joy and relief, knowing that God loves you and cares for you! You really will manifest "the peaceable fruits of righteousness."
Make the Decision Now!
Now, with these three points in mind, let's ask the original question again. Are you truly yielded to God? Are you totally committed to Him? Would you really lay down your life for Him and His Work? The way you yield in your own life now will give you the answer! The attitude you had when you received the last Member letter will give you a clue! Time is extremely short, brethren. Many will have to make peat personal sacrifices before Christ returns That decision to do so if called upon MUST be made now, not when you find yourself in trouble! Don't hold back! Be prepared, just as Christ was, to give your all!