WHAT IS THE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CONCEPT FOR STEWARDSHIP?
We are God's stewards, entrusted by Him with time and opportunities, abilities and possessions, and the blessings of the earth and its resources. We are responsible to Him for their proper use. We acknowledge God's ownership by faithful service to Him and our fellow men, and by returning tithes and giving offerings for the proclamation of His gospel and the support and growth of His church. Stewardship is a privilege given to us by God for nurture in love and the victory over selfishness and covetousness. The steward rejoices in the blessings that come to others as a result of his faithfulness. (Gen. 1:26-28; 2:15; 1 Chron. 29:14; Haggai 1:3-11; Mal. 3:8-12; 1 Cor. 9:9-14; Matt. 23:23; 2 Cor. 8:1-15; Rom. 15:26, 27.)
BECAUSE OUR PASTOR DIVIDES HIS TIME BETWEEN VARIOUS CHURCHES IN HIS DISTRICT, HE SPENDS VERY LITTLE TIME AT THE LOCAL CHURCH. SINCE SOME OF HIS WORK IS PERFORMED BY LOCAL MEMBERS, SHOULD HE RECEIVE SALARY FROM THE TITHE?
The Levites and even the priests from Aaron’s family dedicated much less time to the Tabernacle or Temple than a pastor dedicates to the church today, and that did not take away their right to the tithe. If it’s based on the time dedicated to the service of the church, the pastor’s dedication is much greater than that of the Levites. On the other hand, the pastor ministers to several churches and does not get a salary from each one of them; he receives one salary to take care of all. As for the working time of the Levites, even when they were still a small tribe, they totaled thousands of members (Num. 4:47-49; 1 Chron. 23:1-4), who lived in their “cities of refuge” (Num. 35) and only went to work in the service of the temple following a schedule system that did not include working every day or every week. Not all had priestly duties. Thousands served as judges, administrators, and other officials. Some would serve throughout their entire life as gatekeepers, wood providers, musicians, keepers of parts of the sanctuary, etc. (See 1 Chron. 23:4 and read to chapter 25.) They worked for 25 years but received wages from the tithe all their life—before and after they reached 50 years of age, when they would become counselors of the younger generation (Num. 8:24, 25). In fact, they were paid based not on what they did in the temple but on their total and exclusive dedication as ministers for life. They would teach, administer, and represent their God before the people—they were doctrine-keepers. This is the type of ministry God expects as described in the Bible and in the Spirit of Prophecy. Despite its imperfections, that is how the Adventist ministry is. It cannot be measured using the same criteria for other common duties.
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