South Pacific Division’s Views of Giving to the Seventh-day Adventist Church
In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus presents a parable about the wise use of money. He tells of a man who goes on a journey, dividing his fortune between three servants. Two of the men wisely invested their master’s money, doubling his investment. However, the third servant buried his money in a field.
When the man returned, he was thrilled to see that the first two servants had increased his investment two-fold. To these conscientious workers, the man said, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” However, when he came to the third steward, the man was furious that he had not at least invested the money in the bank. This servant was called “worthless” and was cast into the darkness.
What lesson does this parable hold for us today? While many of us say the words, “What I have is not my own; it is God’s,” many of us live as though each penny we have saved, each possession we own, even people we cherish, belong to us. When we forget that God gave everything we have to us, it drastically alters how we approach giving back to Him – specifically through our tithes and offerings.
Recently (2013), a global study was conducted of the nine divisions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Research in the South Pacific Division was conducted by Dr. Barry Gane, under the direction of the Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research. This study was designed to assess the views of church members regarding different aspects of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and church life.
As part of this study, church members were asked to report on their financial support of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. There were a number of important findings but we have chosen, in this blog, to focus on just one. The results showed strong evidence of faithful stewardship among these members. Over half of the respondents indicated that they “always” or “often” returned funds entrusted to them through:
- Giving tithe (72%);
- Supporting the local church budget (63%) and church building fund (59%);
- Supplying funds for the mission (57%) and evangelistic (53%) programs of their church; and
Less frequent support occurred by giving to the local church school with nearly one-third reporting that they “seldom” or “never” do so. Similarly, nearly half (48%) “seldom” or “never” supported the Church through providing funds for wills or trusts.
Now consider your own church, or even more personally, your own giving. If asked to respond to these same questions, how would you do so? If Jesus – our Master – came back today and watched how we had invested what He has given us, would you be rewarded with the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”
Focusing on the abundance and generosity of the Father towards us, it becomes easy to be faithful steward of His gifts. Freely we have received; therefore, freely give.
For more information, check out Church Member Research: South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Created in collaboration with the Institute of Church Ministry.