Q: I don’t like the agenda of pushing women’s ordination in my division. Is there anywhere else I can send my tithe? — Helen, from the United States
A: Helen, you are not the first to ask this question, nor are you alone in being hesitant to return tithe when you see something with which you don’t agree or get frustrated about something.
We need to remember, however, that the tithe belongs to God — it is His — not yours, nor mine. That’s why we say that we “return” tithe, because we are returning it to God within a church-organized and heavenly-blessed tithing system that blesses the evangelistic outreach of local conferences, unions, divisions, and the world church.
In Malachi 3:10, we read “‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.’”
In January 1907, Ellen White addressed this topic while speaking to the delegates at the California Conference meeting being held in San Jose, California.
“The tithe is sacred, reserved by God for Himself,” she said. “It is to be brought into His treasury to be used to sustain the gospel laborers in their work. …
“Some have been dissatisfied, and have said, ‘I will no longer pay my tithe; for I have no confidence in the way things are managed at the heart of the work.’ But will you rob God because you think the management of the work is not right?
“Make your complaint, plainly and openly, in the right spirit, to the proper ones. Send in your petitions for things to be adjusted and set in order; but do not withdraw from the work of God, and prove unfaithful, because others are not doing right” (“Testimonies for the Church,” Vol. 9, p. 249).
I believe that this is still good counsel for us today. Worldwide, we encourage people to return their tithe through their local church.