The Unwise Use of Money and the Spirit of Speculation


Chapter 6—Unwise Investments

From a talk given at Los Angeles, Cal., August 15, 1905.

A few weeks ago, while I was attending the camp-meeting at San Jose, some of our brethren presented before me what they considered wonderful opportunities to invest means in mining and railroad stock, that would bring large returns. They seemed confident of success, and spoke of the good they would do with the profits they expected to receive. SpTB17a 8.3

Others were present, and seemed interested to see how I would receive their proposition. I told them that such investments were very uncertain. They could not be sure that these enterprises would succeed. I spoke to them of the everlasting reward that is assured to those who lay up their treasures in heaven; but in these uncertain ventures, I begged them, for Christ's sake, to stop right where they were. SpTB17a 9.1

In the night season I was instructed to tell God's people that it is not according to His will that those who believe in His near coming should invest their means in mining stock. This would be burying our Lord's talent in the earth. I will read a copy of a letter I wrote to one of the brethren I have mentioned: SpTB17a 9.2

“San Jose, Cal.,

July 2, 1905.

“Dear Brother,

“You have presented before me a proposition to invest in mining stock. You feel confident that such an investment would prove successful, and you think that in this way you will be able greatly to help the cause of God. SpTB17a 9.3

“The Lord has given me instruction that at meetings I would attend I would find men encouraging our people to invest their money to work mines. I am bidden to say that this is a device of the enemy to consume or to tie up means that is greatly needed to carry on the work of God. It is a snare of the last days, to involve God's people in loss of their Lord's entrusted capital, that should be used wisely in the work of winning souls. Because so much money is invested in these very uncertain enterprises, the work of God is sadly crippled for lack of the talent that will win souls to Christ. SpTB17a 9.4

“‘The kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. SpTB17a 10.1

“‘Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.... But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. SpTB17a 10.2

“‘After a long time the Lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His Lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.... SpTB17a 10.3

“‘Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: and I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth; lo, there thou hast that is thine. SpTB17a 10.4

“‘His Lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.’ ... SpTB17a 10.5

“All around us there are souls to save. There is a work to be done by every man or woman who hears the truth to enlighten some other one. To every one is given some responsibility in the Lord's work. As these responsibilities are assumed, there will be an increase of strength and power to win souls. SpTB17a 11.1

“A great work is before us. We must watch and work for souls, in this time of waiting for our Lord. Cultivate personal piety. Every precaution must be taken to prevent spiritual declension, lest the day of the Lord come upon us as a snare. To be good and to do good should be the study of every human being. There is, my brother, great need that your spiritual eyesight be enlightened. ‘Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine.’ Keep the channel of your mind clear, that you may understand how to use the Lord's entrusted capital. If there are those who have means that they can possibly spare, it is their duty to use it to advance the cause of God. SpTB17a 11.2

“Last night in vision, I was raising my voice in warning against worldly speculations. I said, ‘I invite you to take shares in the greatest mine that has ever been worked.’ SpTB17a 11.3

“‘The kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth and that he hath, and buyeth that field.’ SpTB17a 11.4

“‘Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth not?’ SpTB17a 11.5

“If we will invest in God's mining stock, the return is sure. He says, ‘Hearken diligently unto Me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto Me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.’ Please read this whole chapter. SpTB17a 11.6

“‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchantman, seeking goodly pearls: who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.’ SpTB17a 12.1

“My brother, will you make an investment to secure the heavenly pearl of great price? SpTB17a 12.2

“‘Then answered Peter and said unto Him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed Thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, 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.’ SpTB17a 12.3

“This is mining stock, in which you may invest without running a risk of disappointment. But, my dear friend, we have not a dollar of the Lord's money to invest in mining enterprises in this world.” SpTB17a 12.4

I am exceedingly sorry that any of our people have made the mistake of burying their God-given capital in mining stock, thinking thereby to increase their revenue. The prospect may seem flattering, but many will be sadly disappointed. SpTB17a 12.5

I recall the case of a brother who was once interested in the work and cause of God. Some years ago, when I was in Australia, this brother wrote to me, saying that he had purchased a mine from which he expected to receive great profits. He said that he would give me a portion of what he would receive. Occasionally he would write to me, saying: “Now the prospects are good. Soon we shall receive returns.” But the returns did not materialize; and after sinking many thousands of dollars, his ventures proved to be an entire loss. SpTB17a 12.6

This is one of many similar cases that have come to my attention. Many have expressed to me their sorrow that they had ever encouraged any one to invest their means in mining stock. If there is one here who has received money from a brother or sister for any such investment, it is his duty to return it, if the one who gave it so desires. SpTB17a 13.1

I warn you to be careful what you do with your Lord's goods. By placing it in God's treasury you may insure for yourselves a revenue from the inexhaustible treasures of His kingdom. SpTB17a 13.2

The people of God have been too easily satisfied with mere surface truths. We should search diligently for the deep, eternal, far-reaching truths of God's word. Having found them, we shall joyfully sell all, that we may buy the field. SpTB17a 13.3