Counsels on Stewardship


Chapter 51—Lifting Debts on Church Buildings

I rejoice with you in the prospect of clearing the church buildings from debt. How much might have been saved if extra efforts had been made every year to do this. There is no necessity for our meetinghouses to continue year after year in debt. If every member of the church will do his duty, practicing self-denial and self-sacrifice, for the Lord Jesus, whose purchased possession he is, that His church may be free from debt, he will do honor to God. CS 259.1

The Lord's great centers, His own instrumentalities, should be free from all debt. Every year many pounds [Written from Australia.] are being swallowed up by the interest paid on debts. If this money was all appropriated to settle the principal, the debt would not be eating, eating, and ever eating. It is a poor, wretched policy to go into debt. If the money that is needed to build could be first accumulated, by strenuous efforts, and the church dedicated free from debt, how much better it would be. O, shall we not make it a rule when building a house for the Lord, to put forth earnest, persevering efforts, that it may be dedicated to Him free from debt.... CS 259.2

The Lord has shown me that debts need not be left on our meetinghouses in Australia or New Zealand. A debt in every case means a neglect of God's special, sacred things; for selfish, common things are made first and all-absorbing.... The very highest honor is to be shown to God's tabernacle. Every other consideration should be second to this. Our ideas must be elevated, ennobled, and sanctified. Worldliness and covetousness have been indulged by parents for their children and for relatives and friends. Money has been appropriated when and where it could not honor God, where it has done positive harm. Gifts have been liberally bestowed on children and relatives and friends, while the gifts that have been made to that which the Lord honors, have been stinted and limited in value and in recurrence.... CS 259.3

Self-Denial and the Church Mortgage

The test question for every Christian to ask himself is, Have I, in my innermost soul, a love for Jesus? Do I love His tabernacle?... Is my love for God and my Redeemer strong enough to lead me to deny self? When temptations come to indulge in pleasure and selfish enjoyment, shall I not say, No, I will not spend one shilling or even sixpence for my own gratification while the house of God is under mortgage, or bearing the pressure of debt? CS 260.1

Should not Christ have our first and highest consideration? Should He not demand this token of our respect and loyalty? These very things underlie our heart life, in the home circle, and in the church life. If the heart, the soul, the strength, the life, is surrendered wholly to God, if the affection is given wholly to Him, you will make God supreme in all your service. The result will be that you will have a sense of what it means to be a partner with Jesus Christ in the sacred firm. The building erected for the worship of God will not be left crippled with debt. It will appear almost like a denial of your faith to allow such a thing.—Letter 52, 1897. CS 260.2