Under “Voices in the Church”, a sort of open forum, in The Banner of Jan. 31, 1941, a certain “M.J.” serves a certain Mr. Groeneveld, who has a rather sickly view of “tithing”, with an answer that is so thoroughly sound and Reformed from beginning to end, that we cannot refrain from quoting it here in its entirety, rejoicing as we do in the fact that even among the readers of The Banner there are men that see the truth so clearly as does Mr. “M. J.”
RESPONSE TO “TITHER”
“Dear Mr. Groeneveld:
Having read your article, “Another Tither Testifies”, in the Banner of January 3 several times, I decided to write to you and make a few remarks on your article.
Let me begin by saying that I am not only in favor of tithing, tut of doing more than that, according as the Lord has prospered us.
You will undoubtedly agree with me that when a family has an income, for instance, of $20 a week, and gives tithes, he gives more than he whose income is $40 a week, and who also gives tithes. Therefore, with a large income, I think we should give much more than a tenth.
I would like in particular to draw your attention to the fifth paragraph of your article and also to the seventh. You wrote that for five or six years you’ve had no doctor in the house. You ask, “Is not this a great blessing?” Yes, it is, for if we are children of God, we know that His blessing is upon us. But I would like to ask, “How about the child of God who must call in the doctor constantly?” Who barely skip a month without a doctor. Is not that blessing? Indeed it is, for we know that sickness and health and all things come to God’s people by His loving Father hand.
You further write that one of your children was nigh unto death and God restored him. Isn’t that a great blessing also? It is, and our thanksgiving and praise rise to God for restoration from sickness. But what would you say about the tither whose child also was sick in the hospital, and whom it pleased the Lord to take from them? Isn’t that a great blessing also? Yes, it is, for we have the assurance that God’s blessing is upon His people, and that all things work together for good to them that love God. Whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth, Ps. 73 (Holland): “Hoedonker ooit Gods weg moog wezen, Hij ziet in gunst op die Hem vreezen.”
You were able to keep your home during the depression, you write. Isn’t that a great blessing, you ask. I would like to ask you, Supposing God would have directed your way so that you would have lost your home, as many other tithers had to, would not that have been a blessing? It would. Blessed indeed is he that can say, “Though I must lose every earthly possession, I know that there Is nothing that can separate me from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, my Lord, and I know that God’s blessing cannot be measured by earthly possessions, but by His grace and favor toward me.” And isn’t it true that the darker our earthly way is, the richer we experience God’s grace? And isn’t it exactly in times of distress, loss, and persecution that we live near to God, and that we can say from our inmost heart, “Having Thee, no want I know”? Therefore the question is, Have I derived spiritual benefit from my experience, and not what earthly goods have I left. The Psalmist tells us “it is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn Thy statutes.”
On the other hand how about the man who does not give tithes, who gives little or nothing for God’s kingdom,—though he is well able to do so, if he has no doctor in the house for a dozen years, and he does not have to see his child taken away by death nor lose his property, would you say it’s a blessing? We know better. If he does not manifest himself to be a child of God, we know that he is not blessed, even though he should gain the whole world.
You also wrote, “Then His kingdom would come more rapidly.” We agree that God uses us as a means for the furtherance of His kingdom, but never so, as if God were dependent upon us. From eternity that day and hour of Christ’s coming having been determined, and though we pray that He may come quickly, and though we work for the establishment of that kingdom, we know that we can do nothing for Him, compared to whom the nations of the earth are as a drop in the bucket and the small dust of the balance.
Let us also remember when we give tithes, that we don’t really give to God, for it is all God’s. What have we that we have inot received? The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof. May we never imagine that God owes us anything. We are worthy only of eternal desolation. Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.
May you receive these remarks in the spirit of love in which also they were written.
Congratulations, Mr. “M. J.”
You have a clear eye, a steady hand, and you hit the nail squarely on the head!
Whoever you are (and I would like to know), you certainly do not belong in the Christian Reformed Churches.
You are Protestant Reformed!
And let The Banner beware. Stuff like that, just because it is the simple truth, is appealing!