Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 20 (1905)


Ms 40, 1905

Faithful Stewardship


April 9, 1905 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in UL 113.

I have a decided message to bear at this time. Jesus, the Majesty of heaven, clothed His divinity with humanity and came to our world, that He might, as head of the human family, set an example of perfect obedience to all God’s requirements. He was born of humble parents and lived the life of a man among men. For our sakes He became poor, that in His poverty He might be an example to the poor of earth, showing them how to climb the ladder heavenward, and to come into possession of eternal, inexhaustible riches. In every respect He demonstrated what humanity may be by becoming partaker of the divine nature. 20LtMs, Ms 40, 1905, par. 1

What excuse have those who profess to be followers of Christ, if they copy not the example He has given them? It is possible for us to form our characters in harmony with the character of Christ, our Pattern. 20LtMs, Ms 40, 1905, par. 2

“And, behold, one came and said unto Him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And He said unto him, Why callest thou Me good? There is none good by One, that is God; but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He said unto Him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness, honor thy father and thy mother: and, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 20LtMs, Ms 40, 1905, par. 3

“The young man saith unto Him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow Me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.” [Matthew 19:16-22.] 20LtMs, Ms 40, 1905, par. 4

This man was a ruler in Israel, yet in Christ he recognized a teacher by whom he was willing to be taught. He had observed Jesus’ compassion for the poor and ignorant, and he had been touched by His meekness and lowliness of heart. This young man had high motives, but he was not perfect in understanding. The close teaching of Christ meant too much to him, and he went away sorrowful. 20LtMs, Ms 40, 1905, par. 5

“Then Jesus said unto His disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” [Verses 23, 24.] 20LtMs, Ms 40, 1905, par. 6

The possession of riches opens the way to great temptation to become covetous and selfish, to add riches to riches, and to bury in houses and lands the means that should be returned to God. Many use their means to gratify the demands of appetite, to follow the fashions, and to build for themselves grand houses. They do not follow the example of Christ, who gave Himself with all He had for the benefit of the world, to deliver men from the power of Satan. 20LtMs, Ms 40, 1905, par. 7

But if those who possess means will follow the example of Christ, their hearts will be filled with benevolence, and they may help in the proclamation of the truth in the cities, in the highways and the byways, and in carrying the gospel to all nations. 20LtMs, Ms 40, 1905, par. 8

Some of the disciples were exceedingly amazed at the words of Christ concerning the rich who use their earthly advantage to exalt and glorify self. They ask the question, “Who then can be saved?” [Verse 25.] If riches are a hindrance to men, what can we say of those who, professing to be followers of Christ, withhold from Him that for which He calls and expend their Lord’s goods in self-gratification, in pride, and in display? 20LtMs, Ms 40, 1905, par. 9

“With men,” Jesus replied, “this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.” [Verse 26.] He is able to change and subdue the human heart. Many place themselves where it is impossible to appreciate the heavenly riches. It is difficult for the rich to resist the fatal current of worldliness, and many are carried away to perish. It is difficult for them to use their riches as Christ has given an example. Yet some have done this, and others will do this in the future. Some of the wealthy will become united to Christ and will invest their means in the work of God. 20LtMs, Ms 40, 1905, par. 10

Peter inquires concerning the reward of those who fulfil the conditions that Christ set before the rich man. “We have forsaken all, and followeth Thee,” he says. [Verse 27.] They had forsaken their all, but their all had consisted of a few fishing boats and nets. But Christ did not upbraid them because they had forsaken but little. Like the widow’s mite, their sacrifice was accepted, because it was all they had and was as dear to them as were the riches of the wealthy. With tenderness and compassion Jesus looked upon His disciples, and said: 20LtMs, Ms 40, 1905, par. 11

“Verily, verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.” [Verses 28-30.] 20LtMs, Ms 40, 1905, par. 12

God’s work must be sustained by tithes and gifts and offerings. The Lord now calls for the means that He has entrusted to His stewards. There should be a constant stream flowing into the treasury, that the work may not be hindered. To some God has entrusted earthly riches to be held in trust and to be returned to Him as they may be required to carry forward His work in the earth. He requires from His stewards a faithful tithe of all their capital; and in addition to the tithe, He calls for gifts and offerings. 20LtMs, Ms 40, 1905, par. 13

The Lord Jesus requires nothing more from His followers than He Himself has performed. Those who practice self-denial and self-sacrifice for the cause of God are but following His example. He laid off His royal robe and kingly crown and stepped down from His high command. He became poor, that through His poverty we might come into possession of the eternal treasures. He gave not only His riches, but His own life in self-denial and self-sacrifice, that He might remove every hindrance from those who seek an entrance into the kingdom of God. Those who are not exposed to the temptations of those who are rich in this world’s goods have no reason to complain; for the Prince of life has shared with them a life of poverty. He was tempted in all points like as we are. In our behalf He placed Himself as one with us in poverty, to show us how we may withstand the temptations of satanic agencies. For us He bore the cross, and He says, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” [Matthew 16:24.] By sacrificing as Christ sacrificed, we may enlarge our conception of eternal life. 20LtMs, Ms 40, 1905, par. 14

The Lord Jesus invites us to become laborers together with Him. He is the owner of and has claims upon all that we possess. By our willingness to help in His work, we may now show our love for Him. 20LtMs, Ms 40, 1905, par. 15

To those who have received a knowledge of the truth, and who profess to believe, we say, “Hold fast the beginning of your confidence firm unto the end.” [Hebrews 3:14.] “Remember how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” [Revelation 3:3.] 20LtMs, Ms 40, 1905, par. 16