A Story of the Tenth
Written By: Bishop G.T. Haywood
Published By: Voice In the Wilderness (February-1924)
It was against my grain. For more than two years I had labored among a small band of people, taking such as they gave. The work grew slowly. I prided myself in the fact that our little mission had never lifted a collection, or asked anyone for one copper cent. Throughout the entire time we were able to meet every indebtedness that came against us. I could not ask, or speak about money, lest haply some one would think that I was in the ministry for what financial gain I could get out of it.
My clothes were second-hand and occasionally patched at the elbows and the knees. Often times my shoes were “half-soled” from within with folded newspapers, to keep my feet from off the ground. My wife was contented and bore everything with patience. A faithful wife is a treasure. What little money that was deposited in the “Free-will-offering” box on the post near the mission entrance was used to pay the mission rent, fuel and light bills, and the balance went to the “support of the pastor”. Thus we lived, but God only knows how.
It was on Sunday morning at the “five o’clock prayer meeting” that the word of the Lord came to me saying, “You must speak on tithes and offering this morning”. As I remained on my knees with about twelve of our little band of thirty saints, I plead with god to relieve me of the matter. To speak about money, I felt would be my ruin. I had preached for nearly three years without mentioning it. How can I do it now. The only text that I knew on the subject was “Will a Man Rob God?” I wept before God as I continued pleading to be relieved. Finally he showed me that I was keeping the people from a blessing.
At the close of the meeting I returned home, and afterwards began preparing for the eleven o’clock morning service. The time speedily arrived. I entered the mission again and immediately went to prayer. The saints gathered in, it seemed, one by one. Still I pleaded. I got no answer. What must I do? Suddenly, as if a voice spoke from heaven, there came these words into my heart, “Preach about Jacob’s ladder”. Thank God! My prayer was heard! I felt sure that God had relieved me of the responsibility.
I arose from prayer and after singing several hymns, I at once found the place (after some searching) and proceeded to expound the chapter, verse by verse. As we spoke upon the word the Spirit of God filled the room. All the saints were rejoicing in the truths that were being unfolded. As I came to the last verse, expecting to close my discourse, I was astonished to find in the last of this chapter these words, “I will surely give ONE TENTH unto thee.” Genesis 28th chapter. It was like a thunderbolt from the sky. I thought I had escaped preaching tithes. Here it was right before my eyes, unexpectedly. There was nothing to do but obey.
From that last verse I set before the people God’s financial plan. All eyes were riveted upon me. When I concluded one of our elderly saints arose. I began to fear lest she was rising to reprove me for speaking on money. I waited my reproof. To my surprise she said, “We have all been wondering why you have not taught us tithes and offerings before.” From that day forward the saints began paying tithes, and from a little band of about thirty saints we have increased to over 1,000 at this writing.
Some have raised objections to tithing, saying that it was under the Law, but we must remember that tithes were first paid by Abraham 430 years before the Law. Genesis 14:18-20. Jacob followed in his father’s steps. Genesis 28:20-22. Malachi was a Prophet and not under the Law. Malachi 3:8-12. If we are the children of Abraham we must do the works of Abraham. John 8:39. Melchizedec who received tithes, continues to receive them through Christ, the Church, which is the continuation of the Melchizedec priesthood. Hebrews 7th chapter.
Our entire financial system is carried on by the tithe and offering plan. It is through this means that both the pastor and the Assembly are supported. When the children of God will follow God’s plan in this matter, He will surely “open the windows of heaven” and pour them out a blessing which they will not find room to receive it.
We are exhorted to “bring all the tithes into the STORE House” that there may be meat (spiritual food), in God’s house. Malachi 3:10. He does not say “distribute it wherever you please,” but rather bring it to the “store house.” God’s store house is the Assembly from which one is fed. Surely God has filled His store house in our midst with “meat” in due season.
If all assemblies would obey God’s word in this matter, what a blessing would be upon them. God would “feed them with the finest of the wheat, and with honey out of the rock” would He satisfy them. To withhold the tithe of your income is equal to robbery. That part is God’s dividend. He says “bring” it into the store house. But can God use money, or tithes of all our increases? What use would it be to him?
God is a Spirit, but the Church is His body through which He receives His tithe. Why should His church go begging when He has a plan whereby it might be enriched in all wisdom and utterance as well as from a monetary point of view?
There are those who teach that all the tithes should go to the pastor’s support, but we have never seen in the word of God that such was the plan in the beginning. The minister should be supported out of the tithes and offerings. All the scripture says on that line is “Muzzle not the ox that treadeth out the corn.” I Corinthians 9:7-12. It is a settled fact that the laborer is worthy to have bestowed upon him their carnal, or temporal things.
To my mind no minister should put in a claim for all the tithes to go to himself and the Assembly be supported from the “offerings.” It causes strife and suspicion. There is always someone thinking that the pastor is getting more than he really is. Neither should he be “greedy after filthy lucre.” If he is faithful, and patient, God will surely not see him forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”
Today there are many business houses that prosper in their line because they pay their tithes into the house of God. Sinners who have no experimental knowledge of God, pay tithes and are blessed. If it can be so with people of the world, why not the saints of God strive for the same divine blessing. Whoever opposes the paying of tithes opposes not man, but God who has commanded that such should be done. One cent out of every ten; one dime out of every dollar; one dollar out of every ten dollars; ten dollars out of every hundred, belongs to the Lord. If we withhold it, it will consume the other nine-tenths so that it will be of little value to one who withholds it.
Elder G.T. Haywood