Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)


Ms 33, 1896

Ministers and Business Matters


November 27, 1896

This manuscript is published in entirety in SpTA #9 63-67. +Note

I was awakened at half past eleven o’clock. Matters of importance had been presented before me. I was in an assembly consisting of a number of our people who had the burden of the work upon them. They were laying out work for the future, consulting as to how the work could be managed in the most successful manner. W. C. White was explaining his plan and that which he desired to have accomplished, and several others had matters to present for consideration. Finances were the great burden of some, and they were studying how to limit the workers, and yet realize all the results essential. One brother had spoken in reference to plans for his part of the moral vineyard. Then there stood among us One with dignity and authority, who proceeded to state principles for our guidance. I have strength to write only a few points, although the things suggested affected me deeply. 11LtMs, Ms 33, 1896, par. 1

To several the Speaker said, Your work is not the management of financial matters. It is not wise for you to undertake this. God has burdens for you to bear, but if your attention is called to lines for which you are not adapted, your efforts will not prove successful. This will bring upon you discouragement that will disqualify you for the very work you should do, which requires a discriminating mind and deep, unselfish judgment. 11LtMs, Ms 33, 1896, par. 2

Far too little attention is given to the preservation of physical health. Nothing is gained by robbing nature of her hours for rest and recuperation. To allow one man to do the work of four, or of two or three, will result in irreparable loss. There is need of physical vigor in order for healthful thought. Fewer committee meetings should be attended by men who are employed to write and to speak the Word. Many minor matters should be adjusted without keeping one or two men on the strain constantly. Under such a strain the mind loses its vigor. Its action cannot be a healthful and all-sided as if it were allowed proper periods of sleep and refreshment. An abundance of physical exercise is required in order to keep the machinery in healthful action. You may load on to one man the care and burden which should be divided with several, but you will gain nothing by this. 11LtMs, Ms 33, 1896, par. 3

Men should be educated as business men. Experience is of value. Elder Farnsworth has his field assigned him in New Zealand, but let him keep his hands off the machinery. If he should undertake the management of financial matters, he would be disappointed; and failing there, he would not do as efficient, whole-sided work in the preaching and teaching of the Word. Let the business management be left with men who better understand how to plan and financier. 11LtMs, Ms 33, 1896, par. 4

You work at great disadvantage when you suppose that because one man can fill a certain position, he is qualified to fill several positions. There is great necessity of selecting men as students, to learn rapidly all they can in business lines of education. This line of work is essential, and those who do the business in the work of God are not to assume responsibilities which they suppose themselves capable of bearing. Those who carry responsibilities of the work have erred in allowing persons to be placed as managers of financial matters when there was the best of evidence that these persons had not tact nor ability for the position. 11LtMs, Ms 33, 1896, par. 5

The case of Daniel, portrayed in a very limited manner by the prophetic pencil, has a lesson for us. It reveals the fact that a business man is not necessarily a sharp policy man. He can be a man instructed of God at every step. Daniel, while prime minister of the kingdom of Babylon, was a prophet of God, receiving the light of heavenly inspiration. Worldly, ambitious statesmen are represented in the Word of God as the grass that groweth up, and as the flower of the grass that fadeth. Yet the Lord would have intelligent men in His work, men qualified for the various lines of the work. Especially are business men needed, not irreligious business men, but those who will weave the great, grand principles of truth into all their business transactions. 11LtMs, Ms 33, 1896, par. 6

Men who have qualifications for the work need to have their talents exercised and perfected by most thorough study and training. Not one business man that has any appointment in the work needs to be a novice. If men in any line of work need to improve their opportunities to become wise, efficient business men, it is those who are using their ability in the work of building up the kingdom of God in our world. The lessons of the present time are for all to understand, but they are very feebly appreciated. There should be greater thoroughness in labor, more vigilant waiting, <more vigilant watching and praying,> and more vigilant working in prospect of the events now taking place and <which are> swelling to larger importance as we near the close of <this> earth’s history. The human agent is to reach for perfection, to be an ideal Christian, complete in Jesus Christ. 11LtMs, Ms 33, 1896, par. 7

Those who labor in business lines should exercise every precaution against error through wrong principles or methods. Their record may be like that of Daniel in the courts of Babylon. In all his business transactions, when subjected to the closest scrutiny, there was not found one item that was faulty. He was a sample of what every business man may be. But the heart must be converted and consecrated. The motives must be right with God. The inner lamp must be supplied with the oil that flows from the true messengers of heaven through the golden tubes into the golden bowl. Then the Lord’s communication never comes to man in vain. God will not accept the most splendid services unless self in laid upon the altar, a living, consuming sacrifice. The root must be holy, else there can be no sound, healthful fruit, which alone is acceptable to God. 11LtMs, Ms 33, 1896, par. 8

Truths, precious, vital truths, are bound up with man’s eternal well-being both in this life and in the eternity which is opening before us. “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.” [John 17:17.] The Word of God is to be practiced. The Word of God liveth and endureth forever. While worldly ambition and worldly projects, and the greatest plans and purposes of men, shall fade like the grass, “they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament: and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” [Daniel 12:3.] 11LtMs, Ms 33, 1896, par. 9

Man’s experience and history are occupied with himself, his own achievements and victories. God’s history, as traced with unerring accuracy in the books of heaven, describes men as seen in the light of eternity. All his motives and all his actions are seen in their relation to eternal realities. Everything said and done has a reference to tremendous issues which we must meet again. 11LtMs, Ms 33, 1896, par. 10