Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1


Chapter 45—A Dishonest Steward

I was shown that the Spirit of God has had less and less influence upon F, until he has no strength from God to overcome. Self and self-interest have been prominent with him for some length of time. Pride of heart, a set, unsubdued will, and an unwillingness to confess and yield his wrongs, have brought him to the dreadful position he is in. Long has the cause been injured by his injudicious course. 1T 227.1

He has been exacting, which has encouraged a spirit of faultfinding in the church. He has been severe where it was uncalled for, and has lorded it over those upon whom he dared to exercise authority. His prayers and exhortations have led the brethren to think that he was a devoted Christian, which has prepared them to be affected by his wrong course. He has been notional, and his oddities have had a bad influence upon the minds of many. Some have been so weak as to imitate his example. I saw that he had done far greater injury than good to the cause. 1T 227.2

Had he received the instruction given of God, and been corrected, he would have obtained the victory over these strong habits and besetments. But I saw that he had so long let these habits control him that the strong foe has bound him. His deal has not been correct. Dishonesty has been gaining upon him, and he has taken from the treasury means that he had no right to, and has used it to his own advantage. He has considered that he had better judgment in disposing of means than his brethren. When means was placed in his hands to be applied, and the giver named the individuals who were to receive it, he has acted from impulse, taken the liberty to apply it to suit himself, instead of carrying out the wishes of the giver, and has used what portion of it he saw fit for his own benefit. God has frowned upon these things. A dishonest course has been gaining upon him. He has considered that he was the Lord's steward, and could apply the means, even of another, as he saw fit. Every man is to be his own steward. 1T 227.3

He has rejected the counsel and advice of his brethren, gone on in his own strength, followed his own will, and has rejected every means whereby he could be corrected. When he has been reproved, the manner or the person has not suited him, and the way for reform has been closed up. The Lord has not accepted his labors for some length of time. He has labored much more for his own interest than for the interest of the cause. 1T 228.1

When he first goes to a place, his prayers and exhortations have effect, and brethren receive the idea that he is a perfect Christian. He is favored because he is considered a minister. But as they become acquainted, how they are disappointed to witness his selfishness, fretfulness, harshness, and oddities. Almost every day some peculiar notion is seen. His mind is almost constantly occupied in fixing up something for his own advantage. Then he will dispose of it to someone to good advantage to himself, and fix again. His fixing and planning have had a withering, blighting influence upon the cause of God. His course is calculated to tear to pieces, and it has wounded almost everywhere. What an example to the flock! He has been very selfish in his deal, and has taken advantage of those with whom he has dealt. God's frown is upon him. A good tree is known by its fruits. 1T 228.2