||Chosen no: R-4777 a, from: 1911 Year.
|Change lang |
Too Much Money--Further Offerings Refused
FROM THE FAR PAST ON GIVING FOR RELIGIOUS
PURPOSES--TREASURERS WITHOUT BONDSMEN
"Then the people rejoiced for they
offered willingly."--1 Chron. 29:9.
SIXTEEN years passed after the incidents of our
previous study and found King Joash in his twenty-third year. Already he had
made suggestions to the priests respecting the repairs of the temple, which was
considerably dilapidated, because the people were still half-hearted in the
worship of Jehovah. The influence of the idolatry of surrounding nations was
still upon them. Some of them still burned incense upon the altars of Baal.
King Joash found that allowing the priests to
collect the money wherewith to repair the temple showed no results. Not every
good-hearted man has executive ability. The record does not tell that the
priests were dishonest in the use of the money collected for their affairs. Nor
does it say that they spent the money unwisely. Possibly the people did not
have confidence in the priests and did not give so freely on that account.
However, the King noted the fact that the temple continued to be dilapidated
and called for the priests and said to them, Why repair ye not the breaches of
the temple? The answer of the priests is not given, but the King's mandate was,
"Now, therefore, take no more money from your acquaintances." The
King passed over the matter as lightly and courteously as possible, without
charging the priests with embezzlement or neglect.
A new procedure was to have a specially prepared
money-chest inside the temple court, convenient to the worshipers who passed in
and out, and under the care of the priest, who served as doorkeeper. This
method proved successful. The money speedily accumulated. Ere long there was a
sufficiency to make the repairs and more. Further donations for this purpose
were refused. The temple was put into good order and a general blessing
followed the experience.
There is a lesson in this matter for us. The
people like to see results. (1) They want to know that monies that are donated for
benevolent purposes are not all absorbed for office expenses. (2) Voluntary
offerings have the approval of both God and men, rather than offerings that are
importuned, coaxed, begged, wheedled from saints and sinners. Everybody who
gives to the Lord's cause is advantaged thereby; he not only forwards a
benevolent cause, but cultivates generosity in his own heart. Our Lord said,
"It is more blessed to give than to receive"--where the giving is
willing and voluntary.
Church begging is undoubtedly doing great harm.
The remark has been made that the chief item of religion in some churches is
begging for money--private solicitation, and also public solicitation, by the
passing around of the collection box. Church fairs, church suppers, grab-bags,
etc., are still more reprehensible than the collection box and private
solicitation. Some one has called such efforts the "milking of the
goats." The Lord's people are supposed to be sheep; the world's
The proper thought seems to be what the
Scriptures inculcate, namely, that each Christian should give according to his
ability and interest in the work and that non-worshipers should not be expected
to give nor requested so to do. But who does not know that a large proportion
of the money collected for church purposes is unwillingly given by people who
not only are not directly interested [R4778 :
page 75] in the projects, but sometimes even opposed thereto! Thus
Protestant business men often give to Catholic charities, rather than offend
good customers. Likewise Catholic business men donate to Protestant enterprises
with which they have no sympathy.
It is a good time to return to the Gospel
admonition, Let each one of you lay by in reserve on the first day of the week
according as God has prospered you--for religious and charitable objects. Only
such voluntary giving has any merit whatever in the sight of God or in the
sight of good men. Only such will receive the Divine blessing upon it, whether
it be the widow's mite or the rich man's munificence. [R4778
: page 76]
BREAKS IN THE TEMPLE WALL
Viewing the spiritual temple we perceive that,
outwardly, as represented by the magnificent churches of metropolitan cities,
nothing more could be desired than what is now enjoyed. Describing the church
conditions of our day, the Scriptures portray our condition under the figure of
the Laodicean Church, thus: "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold
nor hot; I would thou wert hot or cold. So, then, because thou art lukewarm,
and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth. Because thou
sayest, I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and
knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and
naked, I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be
rich, and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy
nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest
It is from the spiritual standpoint, therefore,
that the temple of today needs to have repairs. Outwardly, the church is rich;
spiritually, she is poor. The majority of her educated, including ministers,
have abandoned all faith in the Bible as the Word of God. Yet they are not
known as infidels, but by the less harsh term, "Higher Critics,"
"Evolutionists." With many the faith in a personal God even, is
shaking and they incline to wonder if, somehow or other, we have not an
unintelligent God-- nature--and mankind and all other intelligencies merely
evolutionary products. The cause and foundation of this disastrous condition is
not far off.
The absurdities of the creeds formulated during
the "Dark Ages" are so great that intelligent people can no longer
accept them. We have made the mistake of supposing that these absurdities are
based upon the Scriptures and well supported thereby. The Truth is that our
creeds of the past not only contradict each other, but also contradict the
Bible. To learn this, to believe it, signifies a return to Bible study with the
colored spectacles of our fathers removed and with our hearts uplifted to God
that he may give us the light promised to his faithful people in the end of
this Age, of which we read that we should "give heed to the sure word of
prophecy as to a light shining in a dark place until the day dawn and the day
star arise."--2 Pet. 1:19.
THE DUTY OF
Noting the spiritual impairment of the House of
God, the Church, all who love the Lord and who worship him should do their
part, make their contribution, toward the improvement of these spiritual
conditions. It is not to be left wholly in the hands of the clerical or
priestly class. The people in general are to appreciate the situation and each
delight to do his part in the rebuilding of the spiritual walls of Zion. Those
spiritual walls consist of "the faith once delivered to the saints."
Each Christian should ask himself, What am I
doing toward these repairs? How am I manifesting to the Lord my zeal for Truth
and righteousness and my hatred of sin and untruth? And as an answer to this
question each should redouble his efforts to understand the Truth and to help
others to an understanding of it, whatever may be the cost to the creeds and
systems of the "Dark Ages."
W.T. R-4777a : page 75 - 1911r