Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7


Chapter 56—A Wise Distribution of Means

The perplexing question of means has troubled many. Again and again, by his deceitful, alluring projects, Satan has blocked the way against advance. The church has not stood in dependence upon God, but, yielding to the temptations of the enemy, has tried to carry out plans that called for means far exceeding her revenue. Much money has been invested in a few places. This has deprived missionary fields of the help they should have received. In building up the work in their part of the field, men have followed selfish plans and have drawn means from the Lord's treasury, forgetting that all the revenue is the Lord's and that other parts of His vineyard must be supplied. For reasons that they will not be pleased to meet in the judgment, they closed their eyes to the needs of their fellow workers. Thus destitute fields have been left unworked. By rushing on to erect large buildings, without counting the cost, without taking into consideration how much would be needed to build the tower, men have brought debt, discouragement, and confusion upon the cause. The way of progress in new fields has been hedged up. 7T 283.1

A kind of frenzy has taken hold of the minds of some, leading them to do that which would absorb means without any prospect of afterward producing means. Had this money been used in the way the Lord signified it should be, workers would have been raised up and prepared to do the work that must be done before the coming of the Lord. The misappropriation of means shows the need of the Lord's warning that His work must not be bound about by human projects, that it must be done in a way that will strengthen His cause. 7T 283.2

By working on wrong plans, men have brought debts upon the cause. Let not this be repeated. Let those at the head of the work move cautiously, refusing to bury the cause of God in debt. Let no one move recklessly, heedlessly, thinking, without knowing, that all will be well. 7T 284.1

Undue excitement and interest in the work in one place contribute nothing to the advancement of the work as a whole. When plans are laid to erect a building in one place, give careful consideration to other places that are in just as great need of money for the erection of needful buildings. Time is short, and while buildings must be erected, let this be done with due consideration for all parts of the Lord's vineyard. Let the one who has charge of the building be a man of sound, sanctified mind, not one who, in his anxiety to erect a fine piece of architecture, will bring perplexity upon the work by expensive investment. 7T 284.2

God is not the author of confusion, but of order and progress. Let those who desire to advance His kingdom make haste slowly and build intelligently. Let no one rush on with a stumbling supposition that means must be invested to make a display. Thus saith the Lord: “Means must not be so expended, for it is at the expense of souls.” 7T 284.3

The result of selfish management stands before us today as a representation of the wisdom of men whose minds and hearts needed the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Lord has many ways of trying and proving those who claim to be Christians. With unmistakable accuracy He has traced the results of human wisdom, showing those who have thought they were doing great things that they need to review the past; that they need to see that they were not actuated by the Holy Spirit, but that in many things they refused the counsel of the Lord. Had they taken up this self-examination at the beginning of their work, as the Lord directed them to do, years of God-dishonoring service would have been changed into a service of love. Every heart in every household needs to take up the work of self-examination, else some will find, as did Saul, that they are appointed to destruction. Especially is this applicable to men in positions of responsibility. Saith the Lord: “I will not serve with any selfish devising.” Everyone needs now to seek the Lord. God's people will not endure the test unless there is a revival and a reformation. The Lord will not admit into the mansions He is preparing for the righteous, one soul who is self-sufficient. 7T 284.4


Under no circumstances should our people in any land put all their means into one great, expensive medical institution. To bring together a large number of people in one place is not favorable to the securing of the best results in physical or in spiritual restoration. And besides this, to establish such an institution would be to rob other places where health institutions should be established. Wherever we work, some will desire to secure as much means as possible, in order to erect a large building; but this is not the wisest plan. When planning for an institution in one place, we should keep in mind the needs of other places. Let economy be practiced so that it will be possible to give the people in other sections of the country similar advantages. 7T 285.1