Counsels on Stewardship


The First Lesson—Self-Denial

I have seen poor families struggling with debt, and yet the children were not trained to deny themselves in order to aid their parents. In one family where I visited, the daughters expressed a desire for an expensive piano. Gladly would the parents have gratified this wish, but they were embarrassed with debt. The daughters knew this, and had they been taught to practice self-denial, they would not have given their parents the pain of denying their wishes; but although they were told that it would be impossible to gratify their desires, the matter did not end there. The wish was expressed again and again, thus continually adding to the heavy burden of the parents. CS 251.2

On another visit I saw the coveted musical instrument in the house, and knew that some hundreds of dollars had been added to the burden of debt. I hardly know whom to blame most, the indulgent parents or the selfish children. Both are guilty before God. This one case will illustrate many. These young persons, although they profess to be Christians, have never taken the cross of Christ; for the very first lesson to be learned of Christ is the lesson of self-denial. Said our Saviour, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” In no way can we become disciples of Christ, except by complying with this condition.—The Signs of the Times, March 31, 1887. CS 251.3