Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)


Ms 30, 1902

Christlikeness in Business Dealing


March 2, 1902 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in UL 75.

“Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal, knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven. Continue in prayer, and watch unto the same with thanksgiving. ... Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.” [Colossians 4:1, 2, 5.] 17LtMs, Ms 30, 1902, par. 1

God’s stewards must be fair and honest in all their dealing, remembering that they have a Master in heaven, and that all unrighteous actions are recorded in the books of heaven. Strict justice is to be shown in dealing with those connected with our schools, our publishing houses, our sanitariums. God holds the managers of our institutions accountable to deal justly and mercifully with those in their charge, always revealing the Spirit of Christ, dealing with those with whom they are connected as they wish to be dealt with by Christ. They are to be careful always to treat their fellow workers with respect. 17LtMs, Ms 30, 1902, par. 2

When men claim high wages, is it because their work is of so much more value than the work of those who labor hard and faithfully in different lines? Those who have the responsibility of paying workers must be careful to be just in their settlements. Careful consideration should be given to the cases of those who work in our food factories. They are to be paid according to the faithful work they do. Many workers are wronged in this respect. To hold back from a worker that which he has earned, in order to add to the profits of an institution, to gratify an ambition to show financial gain, is displeasing to God. No one is to feel at liberty to deal as he feels disposed with the matter of the wages paid to workers because he has opportunity to do this. This is a matter deserving of careful consideration. We are to deal with one another according to the Lord’s order. 17LtMs, Ms 30, 1902, par. 3

There are many who need to understand that it is not position that makes the man, but the faithful performance of duty out of love to Christ and to His service. If managers and directors expect to be respected, they must carry with them into the daily life the atmosphere of obedience to Christ’s requirements. They are to show the energy of sound, practical good sense. The love of Christ revealed in the daily life will do more than anything else to provoke those working with them to love and good works. “All ye are brethren.” [Matthew 23:8.] Treat one another kindly, and mark the result. 17LtMs, Ms 30, 1902, par. 4

Christ is all sympathy and love and tenderness. He hears the ravens when they cry in their hunger and delights to feed them. “Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the mind? Who can number the clouds by wisdom? or who can pour out the bottles of heaven, when the dust runneth into a mass, and the clods cleave fast together? Wilt thou hunt the prey for the lioness? or satisfy the appetite of the young lions, when they couch in their dens, and abide in the covert to lie in wait? Who provideth for the raven his food when his young ones cry unto God, and wander for lack of meat?” [Job 38:36-41.] 17LtMs, Ms 30, 1902, par. 5

Let the managers and directors remember that life is a sacred trust, that Christ has given us this present time in which to prepare for the home above. Just in accordance with the life which the human agent lives in the time of probation granted him will be the decision made regarding his case by the Judge of all. 17LtMs, Ms 30, 1902, par. 6

We need to realize the necessity of exercising that faith which is acceptable to God—the faith which works by love and purifies the soul. Without faith it is impossible to hear the Word in such a way as to profit by the hearing, even though it be presented in a most impressive manner. Paul declares, “Unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them; but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” [Hebrews 4:2.] 17LtMs, Ms 30, 1902, par. 7

Unless we mix faith with our hearing of the Word, unless we receive the truths we hear as a message from heaven, to be carefully studied, to be eaten by the soul and assimilated to the spiritual life, we lose the impression of the Spirit of God. We do not understand by experience what it means to find rest by receiving the divine assurances of the Word. 17LtMs, Ms 30, 1902, par. 8

The importance of studying the Word cannot be overestimated. Its promises are large and full of richness. In no case should we fail of securing the heavenly treasure. Christ is our only security. We cannot trust to human reasoning. The world is full of men and women who cherish deceptive theories, and it is dangerous to listen to them. Writing to the Colossians, Paul says, “And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him, rooted and built up in Him, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” [Colossians 2:4-8.] This is the great danger of some. We must be keen, wide awake, spiritual-minded, else we shall imperil our souls by yielding to the enticements of the enemy. 17LtMs, Ms 30, 1902, par. 9

“For in Him (Christ) dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principalities and powers.” [Verses 9, 10.] In learning of Christ, in wearing His yoke, we shall become meek and lowly in heart, and we shall learn by experience that which the world cannot explain—that rest is found in service. With joy we shall give the testimony—“His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.” [Matthew 11:30.] 17LtMs, Ms 30, 1902, par. 10

“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth.” [Colossians 3:1, 2.] Let not the spirit which many look upon as necessary to keenness and sharpness in business be woven into the religious life. It turns the soul into an abiding place for Satan, in which he works out his schemes. Bring into your stewardship the spirit of truth, of strict honesty, of liberality. Give a fair, just equivalent for the work done. Put away all sharp scheming to get work done for the lowest possible figure. Do not make it your aim to give the impression that you are a sharp financier. Follow this policy, and what do you gain?—nothing that you will wish to meet in the day of judgment. 17LtMs, Ms 30, 1902, par. 11

“For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” [Verse 3.] “Ye are dead.” Your natural temperament was buried in a watery grave when at your baptism you consecrated yourself body, soul, and spirit to God’s service. As you thus pledged yourself to walk in the light of truth, to represent in your life the character of Christ, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit pledged themselves to work in your behalf, helping you to live the new life of righteousness. “Ye are dead”—dead to your former life, and you have risen to live the life of Christ in union with Christ. The three great powers of heaven work in you and for you, that in you may be revealed the divine life, in contrast with the life of worldliness, selfishness, and covetousness that you lived before your conversion. 17LtMs, Ms 30, 1902, par. 12

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him, rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” [Colossians 2:6-8.] These words point out our danger. The soldier of the cross is to be always on guard, that the enemy may never take him at a disadvantage. Those who claim that their lives are hid with Christ in God cannot too carefully guard against the principles of the world. 17LtMs, Ms 30, 1902, par. 13

“When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also”—who in this life of probation have followed the principles of heaven—“appear with Him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” Covetousness is more to be dreaded than the most contagious disease. “For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience; in the which ye also walked sometimes, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing ye have put off the old man with his deeds.” [Colossians 3:4-9.] 17LtMs, Ms 30, 1902, par. 14

The religion of Jesus Christ works a reformation in life and character. The true Christian seeks constantly for the grace that changes the objectionable features of the natural character. Instead of speaking sharp, dictatorial words, he speaks the words of encouragement that Christ would speak were He in his place. He shows benevolence to all, not only to the few who may flatter him and exalt his wisdom. The purity and holiness revealed in Christ’s life radiates from the life of the true Christian. 17LtMs, Ms 30, 1902, par. 15

Christians are to be light-bearers in the world, shining amid the darkness of sin and crime. In the kingdom of this world, the principalities and powers that take Satan as their leader must constantly be met. Following Christ’s example of cross-bearing and self-denial makes those who receive Christ children of God. “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” [John 1:12.] They are victors in the battle of life; for they have put on the new man, “which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him; where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond, nor free; but Christ is all and in all. Put on therefore as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering, forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any, even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” [Colossians 3:10-13.] 17LtMs, Ms 30, 1902, par. 16

“And above all these things, put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness, and let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body, and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.” [Verses 14-17.] 17LtMs, Ms 30, 1902, par. 17

Let those who are standing in positions of responsibility remember that the foregoing is the Word of God. Why do men exalt self when they are entrusted with the work of watching for souls? Why do they pervert the precious talent of speech, given them to be a power in God’s service, to magnify the grace of heaven? In all your dealings with those connected with you, do exactly that which would be satisfactory to you were you in their position. 17LtMs, Ms 30, 1902, par. 18

My brother, I am sorry that you have left the impression on the minds of those connected with you that you are not a converted man, but a man who hurts others by sharp, stinging, unfeeling words. You are not fit to occupy the position of manager in a business firm; for you are not straight in your dealings. You do not reveal the gospel in your daily life. Your religion is valueless as far as its influence on your fellow workers is concerned. How is your stewardship to be treated in the future? If it is to be treated as it has been in the past, you might better take up some other line of work. 17LtMs, Ms 30, 1902, par. 19

It is better for workers to be under the management of a man who makes no profession of religion, than under the management of a professing Christian who does not deal with minds with wise discrimination, whose actions are not in harmony with his profession. 17LtMs, Ms 30, 1902, par. 20

Several representations of the management of those supposed to be stewards of Christ have passed before me. Yesterday, while I was writing, a scene passed before me, in which you were manifesting a spirit more satanic than Christlike. A hand was laid upon your shoulder, and a voice said, “You have much to learn. You are doing great harm to the cause of God. You need correction.” 17LtMs, Ms 30, 1902, par. 21