Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2


Chapter 32—Danger of Riches

I was shown that some are deceived in regard to themselves. They look to those who have much property, and feel that these are the only ones who have a love of the world, and who are in any special danger of covetousness. But this is not the case. Those who have means are constantly in danger, and are accountable for all the talents of means which the Master has entrusted to their care. But those who have little of this world are frequently self-caring, and do not do that which is in their power to do, and which God requires them to do. They frequently have opportunities to do good, but they have so long cared for self, and studied self-interest, that they think there is no other way for them to do. 2T 229.2

I was shown that Brother and Sister E are in danger of having their thoughts centered too much upon themselves; especially is Sister E at fault here. She has almost supreme love for herself. You, my sister, are poorly prepared to stand amid the perils of the day of God. You do not imitate the true Pattern, Jesus. There was not one selfish act in His whole life. You have a work to do for yourself which no one can do for you. Divest yourself of selfishness, and learn the mind and will of God. Study to show yourself approved unto God. You are impulsive, and are naturally irritable and peevish. You work far beyond your strength. There is no virtue in this, for God does not require it. A selfish disposition is at the bottom of this. Your motives are not praiseworthy. You shun responsibility and caretaking, and have felt that you should be favored. It is to be regretted that from your childhood you have been petted and favored, and your will left unsubdued. Now, at a more advanced age, you have the work to do which should have been done in your childhood. Your husband has yielded to your wishes and indulged your whims, to your injury. 2T 230.1

Selfishness, which manifests itself in a variety of ways according to circumstances and the peculiar organization of individuals, must die. If you had children, and your mind were compelled to be called away from yourself to care for them, to instruct them, and be an example to them, it would be an advantage to you. You have called forth in your home the attention and forbearance which are required to be exercised toward children. This attention you require and will have. But you have not thought it any part of your duty to care for, or seek to advantage, others. You are willful and very set to carry out your own plans. When everything is smooth in your pathway, you manifest the fruits we expect to see borne by a Christian; but when your path is crossed, the result is the opposite. Like a spoiled child which deserves chastisement, you have a spell of perverse willfulness. When two compose a family, as in your case, and there are no children to call into exercise patience, forbearance, and true love, there is need of constant watchfulness lest selfishness obtain the supremacy, lest you yourselves become the center, and you require attention, care, and interest, which you feel under no obligation to bestow upon others. The care of children in a family makes it necessary that a large portion of the time be spent at home, giving opportunity for the culture of mind and heart in connection with the ordinary cares of domestic life. 2T 230.2

You neglect to keep your heart, and neglect to do good with the means which God has given you. Your influence could benefit did you feel that anything was required of you toward those who need help, who need encouraging and strengthening. But you have so long studied your pleasure that you are disqualified to benefit those around you. You need to discipline yourself in order that your affections and thoughts may be brought into subjection. Take time for self-examination, that you may bring all your powers in subjection to the mind and will of God. You are shut up to self. It is the privilege of every true Christian to exert an influence for good over everyone with whom he associates. 2T 231.1

You, my sister, will be rewarded according as your works have been. Closely investigate your motives, and candidly decide whether you are rich in good works. I was pointed back to last spring, when the Lord was doing a good work in ----- and vicinity. Angels of mercy were hovering over His people, and hearts which knew not God and the truth were deeply stirred. The Lord would have carried forward the work He so graciously commenced, had the brethren been in working order. You had so long consulted your own wishes, and caused everything to bend to your convenience, that the possibility that you might be inconvenienced led you to close the door which you might have opened to advance the cause. 2T 231.2

You acted your part, and some others felt to draw back, fearing the expense and calculating that they would lose time in attending meetings if the effort should be made. Christian zeal was lacking. A world was before us lying in wickedness, exposed to the wrath of God, and poor souls were held by the prince of darkness; and yet those who ought to be awake and engaged in the noblest of all enterprises, the salvation of perishing souls, had not interest enough to call into action every means they could employ to hedge up the path to destruction and to turn the footsteps of the faltering ones into the path of life. Eternal life should engage the deepest interest of every Christian. To be a co-worker with Christ and the heavenly angels in the great plan of salvation! What work can bear any comparison with this! From every soul saved there comes to God a revenue of glory to be reflected upon the one saved and also upon the one instrumental in his salvation. 2T 232.1