Counsels on Stewardship


Church Debts Dishonoring to God

It is dishonoring to God for our churches to be burdened with debt. This state of things need not exist. It shows wrong management from beginning to end, and it is a dishonor to the God of heaven. Read and study prayerfully the fourth chapter of Zechariah. Then read the first chapter of Haggai, and see if this representation does not apply to you. While you have thought much of your own selves, of your own selfish interests, you have either neglected to arise and build, or have built on hired money, and have not made donations to free the church buildings from debt. Will you consider what it is your duty to do? Year after year passes by, and very little sacrifice is made to lessen the debt. The interest swallows up the means that should be used to pay off the principal. CS 261.1

Why the Debts Remain

Slothful servants is the charge that God makes of those in the churches. His will is not done when sacred things are left to remain in a withered, neglected condition. Self-sacrifice, self-denial in every church would change the order of things. “The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine, saith the Lord of hosts.” When that gold and silver is used for selfish purposes, to gratify ambition or pride or selfish indulgence, as has been done, God is dishonored. CS 261.2

Can those who are representative men be so sound asleep that they do not comprehend that the state of things that exists is a result of neglect on their part? When the people chosen by God embellish their own houses, and invest God's money in ... various things for selfish gratification, knowing that the very means thus used should be used to keep the house of God in the very best condition, that no means may be taken from the treasury to defray running expenses, they cannot be blessed. CS 261.3

I have a message from the Lord. The churches must awaken from their torpor, and think of these things. “The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine, saith the Lord of hosts.” Are we as families appropriating the Lord's silver and gold to selfish purposes, and doing nothing to lighten the debt on His house? The churches are burdened with debt, not because it is impossible for them to be freed, but because of selfish indulgence on the part of the members. By this neglect God is dishonored, and if He binds about your resources, be not blind as to the cause. When you place the Lord first, and realize that the Lord's house is dishonored by debt, God will bless you.—Manuscript 116, 1897. CS 262.1