Sunday: A Matter of Simple Honesty

One thing most of us have in common is that we do not like dishonesty. We especially do not like it when we see it manifested in others. It’s not easy, though, to see it in ourselves, and when we do, we tend to rationalize our actions, to justify them, to downplay their significance: Oh, it’s not that bad; it’s only a small thing, not really important. We might fool ourselves even, most of the time; but we never fool God.

Simple Honesty

Image © Sally Weimer

“Dishonesty is practiced all through our ranks, and this is the cause of lukewarmness on the part of many who profess to believe the truth. They are not connected with Christ and are deceiving their own souls.” – Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 310.

Read Luke 16:10. What important principle does Jesus express here that should help us see how important it is to be honest, even in the “little things” (NLT)?

God, though, knows just how easily we can be dishonest, especially when it comes to the things that we possess. Hence, He has given us a powerful antidote to dishonesty and selfishness, at least when it comes to material possessions.

Read Leviticus 27:30 and Malachi 3:8. What do these texts teach and how can what they talk about help keep us honest?

“No appeal is made to gratitude or to generosity. This is a matter of simple honesty. The tithe is the Lord’s; and He bids us return to Him that which is His own. . . . If honesty is an essential principle of business life, must we not recognize our obligation to God – the obligation that underlies every other?” – Ellen G. White, Education, pp. 138, 139.

How can paying tithe help you remember who, ultimately, owns all that you have? Why is it important never to forget who owns all our possessions anyway?

16 comment(s) for this post:

  1. Melody Page:

    10 Feb 2018
    My fiance and I have been attending Tucson Sharon Seventh-day Adventist Church. We are seeking copies of our Sabbath School lessons they have run out of the quarterly Sabbath School lesson books. Can you email daily lessons starting with tomorrow's lesson 2/12/2018? Thank you so much!

    Your sister in Christ

  2. Maurice Ashton:

    10 Feb 2018
    Hi Melody,

    On the home page of SSNET there are two links on the left side or the page that may be useful to you:

    Weekly lesson: gives two versions for standard and a mobile devices of the weekly lesson. These are online versions but the will cache so that you can study them off line.

    Posts by Email: This gives you a choice of several emailed versions of both the lesson and the discussion. You can subscribe and unsubscribe as it suits you.

    I hope that helps.

  3. Florence Swaby-joseph:

    10 Feb 2018
    I think it's better return tithes and offerings it's already not ours.
  4. Maurice Ashton:

    10 Feb 2018
    That is true Florence, but God is more interested in us "returning" our hearts. When that happens, then the rest follows.

    When we have the relationship ...

  5. Jane French:

    10 Feb 2018
    I really need the study of tithing as I have a complicated financial situation. I wonder if someone can explain Leviticus 27:31 to me please?
    "If you want to buy back the Lord's tenth of the grain or fruit, you must pay its value, plus 20%"
  6. Ron Skinner:

    10 Feb 2018
    Is there a correlation between
    1. the number of giving units in our churches,
    2. age of those giving units, and
    3. our profession of having a relationship with Christ?
    If so, what observations can be made?
  7. Maurice Ashton:

    10 Feb 2018
    When I used to teach minister trainees about information management, one of them put forward the idea that they could manage the sort of information that you have mentioned in your comment. I raised the issue about what would be the purpose of collecting this data. This led to an interesting discussion on the ethics of data collection. We eventually concluded that for some things, there is no good purpose served by collecting and analysing data. Giving is one of those things that, for it to be effective, must come from the heart and how do you quantify that? It would be about as useful as rating the success of a marriage on the number of times the husband cooked meals!
  8. Ronald Ashley:

    11 Feb 2018
    Hey Melody Just follow the Sabbath School lesson at oa a daily basis Ron
  9. JC Zielak:

    11 Feb 2018
    As a matter of fact, God does not need our tithes! Or any of our possessions! On the contrary, we need them! So why would God ask us to count our material gains (most easily to measure in the form of money) on any given period of time?

    This was done for our own good!

    Here are a few personal examples,

    It makes me be financially organized! As I count my monthly gains I realize how God has blessed me, regardless if the entries are a lot or a little.

    It makes me happy, specially because I practice detachment from money!

    It makes me more dependent on God!

    Through all the strugles at these difficult times we are living, I can only say that God has been my provider! He has a plan not only for my financial but for my entire life! If I could have seen ahead the obstacles and challenges that were coming, I would probably have fainted! But God has kept me and my family UP! Yes, there are sufferings, but my ultimate goal is not here!

  10. Allett [Full name please]:

    11 Feb 2018
    I read the entire chapter am not sure yet but am concerned too for the text above it that speaks to a devote tithe that cannot be redeemed anyways i am definitely intrigued will read more :)
  11. Allett [Full name please]:

    11 Feb 2018
    If we are good stewards of our hearts we will not have a giving or returning issue. I have not always been a faithful follower but I believe in the faithfulness of God
  12. Joe Mashburn:

    11 Feb 2018
    I am no expert, but I will try and those who are more knowledgeable can correct my errors. Leviticus 27 is concerned with the redemption of things dedicated to God. If a person dedicated something to God such as a house, a field, some produce or livestock, (or even another person!) then later wanted to put that thing to other uses, God gave them the ability to redeem it or buy it back by giving in its place a certain amount of money. The amount of money was determined by the rules given in this chapter. The tithe, since it already belonged to God, was not to be dedicated, but it could be redeemed in this way. This made it possible for those who would suffer with the loss of, say, a sheep to replace that sheep with money if they so wished.
  13. Palmer E:

    11 Feb 2018
    As a small business owner, do we tithe on the net income or on the gross? Does one tithes before the the expenses to run the weekly business or after the expenses are subtracted ? Needing some clarity please.
  14. Maurice Ashton:

    11 Feb 2018
    The tithe is on the increase, not the turn over. For example if your business brings in $1 million but your expenses are $900,000, then your increase is $100,000.
  15. Pascal Polepole:

    11 Feb 2018
    Can someone kindly help me with evidence of payment of a "fixed tithe" in the early christian church? Some people believe that tithe payment was unto Levites who were tasked with exclusively working at the tent of meeting (holy sanctuary) and that since there is no more tent of meeting, no more priests then no more paying of a tithe which is prescribed as the priests' payment. They go further to state that the new testament church gave "collections according to what they had and according to prevailing needs" which could be more or less than a prescribed tenth. Discuss this aspect in the light of 1 corinthians 16:1-4 and 2 Corinthians 8:1-12. Shalom....
  16. Inge Anderson:

    11 Feb 2018
    Tithing is not specifically mentioned in the early church. Neither is Sabbath keeping. That doesn't prove that that early church members did not dedicate a tenth of their increase to the Lord, as they did previously, nor does it prove that the early church did not keep the seventh-day Sabbath instituted in Eden.

    The Seventh-day Adventist Church struggled for some time to encourage the practice of systematic benevolence until they re-discovered the biblical principle of tithing. Those of us who have made a practice of returning tithe in recognition that all we possess is the Lord's can testify that His blessing attends this practice. Our freewill offerings begin after we have returned the Lord's tithe, and we are blessed as we give.

    But as long as we regard tithe as a "payment," I fear we will altogether miss the blessing. We do not tithe in order to be blessed or as an obligation (as a payment) but because we are blessed and are grateful for the blessings God so freely bestows on us - beginning with the infinite gift of salvation.

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