Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 10

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Lt 37, 1895

Johnson, Lewis

Norfolk Villa, Prospect St., Granville, New South Wales, Australia

June 13, 1895

Portions of this letter are published in 3MR 352-353.

Dear Brother Lewis Johnson:

Some weeks ago, in compliance with your request, I wrote to Sister Ekman. I have had it in the hands of a copyist for some time, but other matters of necessity have crowded in so, that it has been delayed. I am sorry for this. 10LtMs, Lt 37, 1895, par. 1

It is, I know, a most difficult matter for a mother to feel compelled to displease her children by walking in the path of obedience. Still God’s requirements cannot be set aside and Satan allowed to have his way. The Lord will help our dear sister consider that all she has is the Lord’s, and she must not, in trying to please her children, dishonor God. She must work intelligently, in faith, keeping the glory of God ever in view. God has committed to the charge of everyone talents to be used for His glory. Talents comprehend much for they represent every God given endowment. The various graces and gifts, opportunities, and privileges are given us of God for wise use. The physical, mental, and moral powers consecrated to God will do honor to Him. 10LtMs, Lt 37, 1895, par. 2

The money trust is plainly represented in Malachi. The Lord provides gold and silver through His representatives upon the earth, to sustain the work of God in its various branches; therefore every child of God should consider and value money in the sense of the good that he can do with it, inasmuch as he can appropriate it to advance the cause and work of God upon the earth for the salvation of the purchase of Christ’s blood. In the wise disposal of His goods, the Lord does not act capriciously, but with an intelligent knowledge of the known ability of every entrusted agent. 10LtMs, Lt 37, 1895, par. 3

The Lord would have men of intellectual capacity connected with Him in the great work; but if this class do not appreciate their God-given abilities to study how to exercise their talents in the right way, they may make a decided failure. Therefore Jesus gives the invitation, “Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” [Matthew 11:28, 29.] Some may think it a curious method of finding rest, to take a yoke and wear it. This is the spiritual yoking up with Jesus. Some always refuse to wear Christ’s yoke and to be learners of Christ [and] laborers together with God. 10LtMs, Lt 37, 1895, par. 4

In the time of famine in Samaria, the Lord had His human agents to work the will of God. See 2 Kings 4:42-44. “And there came a man from Baal-shalisha, and brought the man of God bread of the first fruits, twenty loaves of barley, and full ears of corn in the husk thereof. And he said, Give unto the people, that they may eat. And his servitor said, What, should I set this before an hundred men? He said again, Give the people that they may eat: for thus saith the Lord, They shall eat, and shall leave thereof. So he set it before them, and they did eat, and left thereof, according to the word of the Lord.” The Lord Jesus was presiding over the people of God on this occasion. This same Jesus when He was in our world fed five thousand with five loaves and two fishes. It was the miracle working power of God that multiplied the loaves and fishes. Luke 9:16, 17. 10LtMs, Lt 37, 1895, par. 5

The Lord has need of human agents through whom He can work, and all have enough to supply their necessities, and have something left. We shall need larger faith. We cannot perceive there is the closest connection between God and nature. God works a miracle upon every plant and upon every tree that beareth fruit, and the Lord under the express necessity of the case, can work an instantaneous miracle and prepare food. Nature without God is dead. The continual life of men, of trees bearing fruit, of vegetables, and of every living substance in nature is [dependent] upon the active, living, working agency of God. God has a continual relation to this world and to all His people. 10LtMs, Lt 37, 1895, par. 6

We have evidence that when men acknowledge their allegiance to God and do their best, by the touch of His hand and the word of His power, the Lord Jesus can multiply a very meager supply of food, making it sufficient for all. The human agent at the Lord’s bidding does his part, and the Lord in the infinitude of His love condescends to human weakness and necessities in the presence of believers and unbelievers. He increases our faith in Him as our Great Benefactor who, in the case of the necessities of His people in the Old Testament history as well as in the New, should satisfy the wants of all. 10LtMs, Lt 37, 1895, par. 7

The Lord moves upon men’s hearts and minds to do a certain work, as in the case of the man from Baal-shalisha, who brought the man of God bread of the firstfruits. We thank our Heavenly Father that the church have not lost this benevolent spirit, but will be workers together with God. Individually we should not be remiss here. And if, as in the Old Testament history, the church would bring their firstfruits to God, would they not meet with rich blessings? The liberality of those who believe the truth is because of the work of the Holy Spirit upon their heart. 10LtMs, Lt 37, 1895, par. 8

It is not essential to have a large amount of wealth to bestow, or to be most highly educated, in order to act a part in this blessed service for the Master. A Christian is Christlike, and he works with the graces of Christ, and if he withholds, he will be incomplete, weighed in the balance and found wanting. We are offered the privilege of being complete in Him who is the Head of all principalities and powers. “And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.” John 1:16. First we receive grace, second we bestow grace, and as we impart we receive grace more abundantly. 10LtMs, Lt 37, 1895, par. 9

“Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; how that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; praying us with much entreaty that we should receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And as they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God. 10LtMs, Lt 37, 1895, par. 10

“Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also. Therefore as ye abound in everything, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also. I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the necessity of your love. For you know the grace of your Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” [2 Corinthians 8:1-9.] See also 2 Corinthians 9. 10LtMs, Lt 37, 1895, par. 11

The Lord Jesus has not left you who are compassed with poverty to receive no blessing. Bring in from your meager store your limited offerings, bearing in mind that His blessing can make these willing contributions bountiful, as He made the five loaves and two fishes by the blessing of God to feed a very large number. Christ’s blessing on the little will increase it to do a great work. But let not those who have received larger supplies from our heavenly Father do no more in sustaining His cause than those who have been entrusted with limited talents of means. Our gifts should be proportionate to our means. 10LtMs, Lt 37, 1895, par. 12

The tithe of all we possess, of all our income, is God’s. And if we withhold that which belongs to God, it is robbery toward God. A tenth the Lord claims as His own, and gifts and offerings beside this as His cause may need. All the Lord requires of anyone is to deal justly. See Malachi chapter three. With some a tenth would represent a sum far below the right proportion of their giving; let it be measured with an eye single to the glory of God, whose we are and whom we serve, whether our expenditures for our own gratifications exceed that which the treasury needs for the advancing of the work of God. There can no definite rule be laid down upon which individuals shall act, further than the Lord has given to us in His Word. The giving must be heartily, essentially acknowledging our responsibility to God for every blessing He has given us. 10LtMs, Lt 37, 1895, par. 13

“Bring ye all the tithes into the store house, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.” [Verses 10-12.] 10LtMs, Lt 37, 1895, par. 14

We are to shrink from constantly practicing robbery with the Lord’s goods, [for] the Lord will not, after sufficiently proving us, bless us in our withholding from Him. The cause of God does not depend upon us, although the Lord has graciously honored us in making us laborers together with Him, that we shall share the joy with Christ in seeing souls saved through our instrumentality. When we enter in through the gates into the city, we shall hear the heavenly benediction, Welcome thou good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler of many things, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. Who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of God. What was that joy? It was in seeing the travail of His soul and being satisfied. O let us shrink at no self-denial, or self-sacrifice for His dear name’s sake! For consider Him who endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. 10LtMs, Lt 37, 1895, par. 15

The Lord has condescended to make you greatly privileged, to yoke up with Jesus and learn of Him. If any one refuses to keep the way of the Lord, He will let us have our choice, and lose the eternal weight of glory. 10LtMs, Lt 37, 1895, par. 16