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Chapter 64—Business Integrity

The Bible a Source Book of Business Principles—There is no branch of legitimate business for which the Bible does not afford an essential preparation. Its principles of diligence, honesty, thrift, temperance, and purity are the secret of true success. These principles, as set forth in the Book of Proverbs, constitute a treasury of practical wisdom. Where can the merchant, the artisan, the director of men in any department of business, find better maxims for himself or for his employees than are found in these words of the wise man: AH 391.1

“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.” AH 391.2

“In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury.” AH 391.3

“The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing.” AH 391.4

“The drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.” ... AH 391.5

How many a man might have escaped financial failure and ruin by heeding the warnings so often repeated and emphasized in the Scriptures: AH 391.6

“He that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.” AH 391.7

“Wealth gotten in haste shall be diminished; but he that gathereth by labor shall have increase.” AH 391.8

“The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death.” AH 391.9

“The borrower is servant to the lender.” AH 391.10

“He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it: and he that hateth suretiship is sure.”1 AH 391.11

The eighth commandment condemns ... theft and robbery. It demands strict integrity in the minutest details of the affairs of life. It forbids overreaching in trade and requires the payment of just debts or wages.”2 AH 392.1

Mind and Character Degraded by Dishonesty—He [one who utters falsehood or practices deception] loses his own self-respect. He may not be conscious that God sees him and is acquainted with every business transaction, that holy angels are weighing his motives and listening to his words, and that his reward will be according to his works; but if it were possible to conceal his wrongdoing from human and divine inspection, the fact that he himself knows it is degrading to his mind and character. One act does not determine the character, but it breaks down the barrier, and the next temptation is more readily entertained, until finally a habit of prevarication and dishonesty in business is formed, and the man cannot be trusted.3 AH 392.2

As we deal with our fellow men in petty dishonesty or in more daring fraud, so will we deal with God. Men who persist in a course of dishonesty will carry out their principles until they cheat their own souls and lose heaven and eternal life. They will sacrifice honor and religion for a small worldly advantage.4 AH 392.3

Shun Debt—Many poor families are poor because they spend their money as soon as they receive it.5 AH 392.4

You must see that one should not manage his affairs in a way that will incur debt.... When one becomes involved in debt, he is in one of Satan's nets, which he sets for souls.... AH 392.5

Abstracting and using money for any purpose, before it is earned, is a snare.6 AH 392.6

Words to One Who Lived Beyond His Income—You ought not to allow yourself to become financially embarrassed, for the fact that you are in debt weakens your faith and tends to discourage you; and even the thought of it makes you nearly wild. You need to cut down your expenses and strive to supply this deficiency in your character. You can and should make determined efforts to bring under control your disposition to spend means beyond your income.7 AH 393.1

The Cause of God May Be Reproached—The world has a right to expect strict integrity in those who profess to be Bible Christians. By one man's indifference in regard to paying his just dues all our people are in danger of being regarded as unreliable.8 AH 393.2

Those who make any pretensions to godliness should adorn the doctrine they profess, and not give occasion for the truth to be reviled through their inconsiderate course of action. “Owe no man any thing,” says the apostle.9 AH 393.3

Counsel to One in Debt—Be determined never to incur another debt. Deny yourself a thousand things rather than run in debt. This has been the curse of your life, getting into debt. Avoid it as you would the smallpox. AH 393.4

Make a solemn covenant with God that by His blessing you will pay your debts and then owe no man anything if you live on porridge and bread. It is so easy in preparing your table to throw out of your pocket twenty-five cents for extras. Take care of the pennies, and the dollars will take care of themselves. It is the mites here and the mites there that are spent for this, that, and the other that soon run up into dollars. Deny self at least while you are walled in with debts.... Do not falter, be discouraged, or turn back. Deny your taste, deny the indulgence of appetite, save your pence, and pay your debts. Work them off as fast as possible. When you can stand forth a free man again, owing no man anything, you will have achieved a great victory.10 AH 393.5

Show Consideration for Unfortunate Debtors—If some are found to be in debt and really unable to meet their obligations, they should not be pressed to do that which is beyond their power. They should be given a favorable chance to discharge their indebtedness, and not be placed in a position where they are utterly unable to free themselves from debt. Though such a course might be considered justice, it is not mercy and the love of God.11 AH 394.1

Danger in Extreme Positions—Some are not discreet and would incur debts that might be avoided. Others exercise a caution that savors of unbelief. By taking advantage of circumstances we may at times invest means to such advantage that the work of God will be strengthened and upbuilt, and yet keep strictly to right principles.12 AH 394.2