Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9 (1894)


Ms 68, 1894

We Shall Reap As We Sow



Formerly Undated Ms 55. This manuscript is published in entirety in RH 08/21/1894.

In company with my son, W. C. White, I rode in our carriage to Sydney, a distance of twelve miles. We could have taken the cars at the station in Granville, but by riding in our carriage, we escaped the confusion that is ever to be found at railway stations; we also had the advantage of riding straight to the meetinghouse without the inconvenience of changing from the cars to the tram, to be left at some distance from the place of meeting. We had a very peaceful ride, and a very favorable opportunity of conversing together. This is a rare treat, for both of us are so occupied that we have but little opportunity for social interchange of thought. We found a good representation of our people at the hall, and I felt constrained by the Spirit of God to speak very plainly to the church. 9LtMs, Ms 68, 1894, par. 1

I spoke from the words, “He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” The manner in which the sowing was to be done, is presented in the following words: “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver.” [2 Corinthians 9:6, 7.] No selfish man is a Christian. Jesus says, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” [Matthew 16:24.] Genuine self-denial will be practiced by all who follow Christ. 9LtMs, Ms 68, 1894, par. 2

Judas undertook to follow Christ, and at the same time to carry out his selfish, covetous plans. He had the same privileges as had the other disciples. He had the same blessing of hearing the lessons of Christ, which plainly presented practical godliness, but he was not always pleased with the plain truth. It cut him; and instead of taking up personal labor with Judas Iscariot, he found fault with the words and works of Christ, and criticised His plain teachings. Instead of being transformed in character, he was cultivating self-love, self-esteem, and the love of money, and was becoming more and more greedy for gain. His love for Christ was not increasing, for he had not that faith which works by love and purifies the soul. Pure religion and undefiled is a religion that is of an experimental character, and brings forth practical results. 9LtMs, Ms 68, 1894, par. 3

Every member of the church of Christ will be tested and proved. To each one is committed sacred responsibilities, for each one is to be connected with Christ, and to labor earnestly and cheerfully as a free moral agent, becoming more and more intelligent in working at the trade of being a laborer together with God. By practice he must learn how to pray, putting his whole soul into his petitions. Through self-denial he must learn how to present gifts and offerings willingly unto God. He must not consume in selfish indulgence everything which he gains, and have nothing to present to God to demonstrate the fact that he is constantly the recipient of heaven’s gifts. The Christian will be constantly imparting that which is bestowed upon him. True religion is imitation of Christ. 9LtMs, Ms 68, 1894, par. 4

Not one of Christ’s true followers will practice selfish indulgence in any way when the cause of God in many places is languishing because of the poverty of the people. God means that someone shall supply that which is wanting for the needs of the poorer brethren, and for the necessities of His cause. The kingdom of heaven must be the first consideration. To follow Christ means to continually study His life of self-denial, and from high motives to practice His good works. Following means to render obedience. We are under service to God, and we must obey His commands. No soldier is counted a follower of his commander unless he obeys his general’s orders. The Master says, “Learn of me.” [Matthew 11:29.] Keep your eye on the Model, for Christ gave His life that He might become the Teacher of men. Keep yourselves from idols. He desires that every one who believes in Him should learn how to live His life, and practice His virtues. 9LtMs, Ms 68, 1894, par. 5

Jesus loved righteousness and hated iniquity. What is righteousness? It is the satisfaction that Christ gave the divine law in our behalf. He bore the test on every point on which the sinner must bear it. He was tempted in all points as we are tempted, and though all temptations that it was possible for the synagogue of Satan to bring upon Him were brought upon Him, yet He did not yield in the least degree to the power of the enemy. Righteousness means being good and doing good. He was just and right. As children of God are we developing a character that is Christlike? Are we individually working daily at the trade of being a Christian, and through the rich impartation of the gift of the Spirit of God, are we making straight paths for our feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way? The lame are those who are not firmly established in the truth, who are spiritually halting, having defects of character, and needing a correct example given them. If we make crooked paths, they make our errors an excuse for deviating from the path of righteousness. It is not enough to believe sound doctrine; we must put it into practice. 9LtMs, Ms 68, 1894, par. 6

A religion built on selfishness is worthless. It is a deplorable, sleazy fabric. The apostle plainly declares what is the duty of the individual members of the church. He says, “Let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” [2 Corinthians 9:7.] The promise of God is that “he which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” [Verse 6.] The Lord will not forget your labors of love. In this country times are very hard and money is very scarce. Some will learn lessons of economy at this time who never knew what economy was before. Yet we should not forget that we are in the service of God, and that He owns us, and He owns the world. 9LtMs, Ms 68, 1894, par. 7

Though we are all poor and unable to do large things, yet the Lord calls upon every soul to practice self-denial in this time of scarcity, and be able to give, not grudgingly nor of necessity, but with cheerful gratitude for God’s unspeakable gift. We are to engage in this work seriously, remembering that now is the time to lay up treasures in heaven, and to send it on beforehand. We shall have to do this through strict self-denial, but every man, woman and youth who claims to be the property of Christ has a work to do in building up the kingdom of God. Now is the sowing time; the reaping time is in the future. “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you.” [Verse 8.] If you do your best, if you impart to others that which you have, God will see your labor of love, and will know the measure of every act of self-denial for His name’s sake. 9LtMs, Ms 68, 1894, par. 8

You will be tested and proved that it may be made manifest how much is your genuine love for Christ and for your neighbor, and these tests will come closer and closer upon us. Churches must be erected. Wherever there is a little flock, they must be fed with meat in due season. The last message of mercy is to be given to the world, even to the uttermost part of the earth. Those who have physical strength are to employ that strength in the service of God. They are to labor with their hands, and earn means to use in the cause of God. Those who can obtain work are to work faithfully, and to improve the opportunities they see to help those who cannot obtain labor. 9LtMs, Ms 68, 1894, par. 9

God is able to make His grace abound toward you, giving you a heart of tenderness and love for the souls of those for whom Christ has paid the ransom of His own life, “That ye, always having all-sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (as it is written, He hath dispersed abroad, he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth forever. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.” [Verses 8-11.] 9LtMs, Ms 68, 1894, par. 10

Let every believer in the truth for this time awake to duty. Instead of studying how to gratify yourselves and follow your inclination, study how you shall imitate Christ in self-denial, and thus be able to help and to save the purchase of His blood. Relieve the wants of the needy, and work to help the weak and the poor sister churches. The Lord has made us His almoners. He places in our hands His gifts in order that we shall divide with those who are needy, and it is this practical giving that will be to us a sure panacea for all selfishness. By thus expressing love to those who need help, you will cause the hearts of the needy to give thanksgiving unto God because He has bestowed the grace of benevolence upon the brethren, and has caused them to relieve the necessities of the needy. It is through the exercise of this practical love that the churches draw nearer together in Christian unity. 9LtMs, Ms 68, 1894, par. 11

Through the love of the brethren, love to God is increased, because he has not forgotten those who were in distress, and thus thank offerings ascend to God for His care. “For the ministration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God.” [Verse 12.] The faith of the brethren is increased in God, and they are led to commit their souls and bodies unto God as a faithful Creator. “Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men.” [Verse 13.] 9LtMs, Ms 68, 1894, par. 12

Giving for the necessity of the saints, and for the advancement of the kingdom of God, is preaching practical sermons which testify that those who give have not received the grace of God in vain. A living example of an unselfish character which is after the example of Christ has great power upon men. Those who do not live for self will not use up every dollar in meeting their supposed wants and supplying their conveniences, but will bear in mind that they are Christ’s followers, and that there are others who are in need of food and clothing. Those who live to gratify appetite and selfish desire will lose the favor of God, and will lose the heavenly reward. They testify to the world that they have not genuine faith, and when they seek to impart to others a knowledge of present truth, the world will regard their words as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. Let every one show his faith by his works. “Faith without works is dead, being alone.” [See James 2:17, 26.] “Wherefore show ye to them and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting in your behalf.” [2 Corinthians 8:24.] 9LtMs, Ms 68, 1894, par. 13

I have given you a brief sketch of my discourse to the Sydney church. After the sermon we had a most precious social meeting. W. C. White spoke, presenting some precious thoughts, and many melting testimonies were borne. The meeting was blessed of God, and we knew that Jesus was in the midst and by His Holy Spirit was moving upon hearts. We were soon in our carriage again returning to Granville. We ate our lunch as we rode slowly homeward. 9LtMs, Ms 68, 1894, par. 14

How is it with my brethren and sisters in America? How much do you practice self-denial in order that you may show liberality to the needy cause of God at this time? We are doing our work here under great pressure for the want of the very money that many of the members of our churches are expending upon their own fancies, in pleasing and gratifying themselves. If they had accepted the testimonies I have borne to them concerning the great want in these “regions beyond” [2 Corinthians 10:16], they would not be found expending one dollar in following the example of those who are multiplying pictures of themselves and their families. You would not be multiplying bicycles, which you could do without, but would be receiving the blessing of God in exercising your physical powers in a less expensive way. 9LtMs, Ms 68, 1894, par. 15

Instead of investing one hundred dollars in a bicycle, you would consider the matter well, lest it might be at the price of souls for whom Christ died, and for whom He has made you responsible. Please read the 58th of Isaiah and see what is a sure remedy for poor health. Satan will contrive to bring about many devices to absorb the means which should be devoted to the cause of God at this time. We cannot open new fields in regions beyond for the want of the very means that is used up in various ways, which might be given to destitute missions. God would have you invest in a fund to erect humble houses of worship for those who have newly come to the faith, who cannot possibly command means to do this, on account of their great poverty. Their souls are just as precious as your soul; and could you pass through the experience through which we have passed since coming to this country, you would bind about your supposed wants, and would be ready to help to build humble houses of worship in regions beyond. You would have the satisfaction of denying inclination in thus investing means in the cause of God. 9LtMs, Ms 68, 1894, par. 16

Night after night, we have studied the perplexing problem of how we should obtain the means to advance the work of God. It rests with you in America to solve this puzzling question. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh; (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” [2 Corinthians 10:3-5.] 9LtMs, Ms 68, 1894, par. 17