Counsels on Stewardship


Chapter 64—Shifting Responsibility to Others

Those Sabbathkeeping brethren who shift the responsibility of their stewardship into the hands of their wives, while they themselves are capable of managing the same, are unwise, and in the transfer displease God. The stewardship of the husband cannot be transferred to the wife. Yet this is sometimes attempted, to the great injury of both. CS 333.1

A believing husband has sometimes transferred his property to his unbelieving companion, hoping thereby to gratify her, disarm her opposition, and finally induce her to believe the truth. But this is no more nor less than an attempt to purchase peace, or to hire the wife to believe the truth. The means which God has lent to advance His cause the husband transfers to one who has no sympathy for the truth; what account will such a steward render when the great Master requires His own with usury? CS 333.2

Believing parents have frequently transferred their property to their unbelieving children, thus putting it out of their power to render to God the things that are His. By so doing, they lay off that responsibility which God has laid upon them, and place in the enemy's ranks means which God has entrusted to them to be returned to Him by being invested in His cause when He shall require it of them. CS 333.3

It is not God's order that parents who are capable of managing their own business, should give up the control of their property, even to children who are of the same faith. These seldom possess as much devotion to the cause as they should, and they have not been schooled in adversity and affliction, so as to place a high estimate upon the eternal treasure, and less upon the earthly. The means placed in the hands of such is the greatest evil. It is a temptation to them to place their affections upon the earthly, and trust to property, and feel that they need but little besides. When means which they have not acquired by their own exertion, comes into their possession, they seldom use it wisely. CS 333.4

The husband who transfers his property to his wife, opens for her a wide door of temptation, whether she is a believer or an unbeliever. If she is a believer, and naturally penurious, inclined to selfishness and acquisitiveness, the battle will be much harder for her with her husband's stewardship and her own to manage. In order to be saved, she must overcome all those peculiar, evil traits, and imitate the character of her divine Lord, seeking opportunity to do others good, loving others as Christ has loved us. She should cultivate the precious gift of love possessed so largely by our Saviour. His life was characterized by noble, disinterested benevolence. His whole life was not marred by one selfish act. CS 334.1

Whatever the motives of the husband, he has placed a terrible stumbling block in his wife's way, to hinder her in the work of overcoming. And if the transfer be made to the children, the same evil results may follow. God reads his motives. If he is selfish, and has made the transfer to conceal his covetousness, and excuse himself from doing anything to advance the cause, the curse of Heaven will surely follow. CS 334.2

God reads the purposes and intents of the hearts, and tries the motives of the children of men. His signal, visible displeasure may not be manifested as in the case of Ananias and Sapphira, yet in the end the punishment will in no case be lighter than that which was inflicted upon them. In trying to deceive men, they were lying to God. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” ... CS 334.3

Those who flatter themselves that they can shift their responsibility upon wife or children, are deceived by the enemy. A transfer of property will not lessen their responsibility. They are accountable for the means which Heaven has entrusted to their care, and in no way can they excuse themselves from this responsibility, until they are released by rendering back to God that which He has committed to them.—Testimonies for the Church 1:528-530. CS 335.1