Lt 3, 1878

Lt 3, 1878

Olmstead, Brother [?]

Plano, Texas

November 24, 1878

Portions of this letter are published in PM 279-280; 1MCP 103; 2MCP 437-438. +Note

Dear Brother [Olmstead (?)]:

I have something to say to you. You indeed love the truth, but your affections have been manifestly divided between the service of God and the service of mammon. Some things stand as mighty barriers in the way of your being a man whom the Lord can use to advance His cause and correctly represent His faith. The plans you have used in your missionary work have not been for your spiritual good or for the moral health of those [with] whom you are brought in contact. You have a peculiar ability for looking out for the main chance. With the work of scattering our publications and advocating the truth, you have mingled scheming, buying, and selling. This makes a poor combination. As you labor to obtain advantages for yourself, you are allured by the prospect of buying things below their value and selling them above their value. Therefore the world regards you as a sharper, a man who will gain advantage for himself without considering the case of others. You do not keep the commandments of God; for you do not love your neighbor as yourself. If you had loved God with all your heart, you would not have had these dishonest principles to contend against. This greed for advantage is greatly to your spiritual injury. By indulging it you are placing yourself where poverty will come to you unless you are thoroughly converted. 3LtMs, Lt 3, 1878, par. 1

You have cherished scheming propensities until you have lost the love of the truth. Fraud has become second nature to you. Constantly you watch with keen business eye for the best chance of securing a bargain. This love of gain cannot abide in the heart where the love of the truth is an abiding principle. The love of gain wars against the Spirit of Christ. At times reason and conscience remonstrate, and you question your own course. The longings of your soul go out for holiness and heaven, and you put aside the din of the world to listen to the majestic and authoritative utterances of the Spirit of God. But the habits of years have left their impress upon your character. Your desires harmonize with the attractions of the enemy. You should prepare your soul to resist firmly your sinful inclinations. 3LtMs, Lt 3, 1878, par. 2

You are a man who should now be a teacher of truth. You should be far in advance of where you are in experience and in the knowledge of God. You should be a man in understanding; for God has given you intellectual faculties which are susceptible of the highest cultivation. Had you divorced yourself from your speculating propensities, had you worked in the opposite direction, you would now be able to do acceptable service for God. Had you cultivated your mind aright, and used your powers to God’s glory, you would have been fully qualified to bear the warning message to the world. But the mildew of the world has so affected your mind that it is not sanctified. You have not been cultivating the faculties that would make you a successful spiritual worker in the cause of God. You may carry forward the work of educating your mind in right lines. If you do not now become intelligent in regard to the truth, the fault will be all your own. 3LtMs, Lt 3, 1878, par. 3

You must accept and faithfully practice true religion in order to be the man you might be. Your present relation to God and to your fellow men demands a change in your life. In His sermon on the mount the great Teacher gave the injunction, “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.” [Matthew 7:12.] This is the golden rule by which we are to measure our conduct. Much is comprehended in these words. In all our business dealing, we must treat our neighbors as we would wish to be treated in like circumstances. 3LtMs, Lt 3, 1878, par. 4

While immured in a dungeon, the apostle Paul, pressed with infirmities, had a message for Timothy. He fears that the wicked Nero will cut his life short before he has the privilege of seeing his beloved son in the gospel, and he urges Timothy to come to him without delay. Yet, fearful that he will not be able to see him, he dictates to his companion in prison his dying charge to Timothy: “They that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. ... Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” [1 Timothy 6:9-19.] “And the things which thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned except he strive lawfully.” [2 Timothy 2:2-5.] 3LtMs, Lt 3, 1878, par. 5

My brother, you are not held in good repute where you are best known. This is not because of unjust prejudice and needless jealousy, but is the result of your own course of action. You have marred the work you have done in connection with the cause of God. Your practice has been too sharp. Your business deal does not bear the sanction of heaven. The traits of character which lead you to buy and sell to advantage, to get the best of a bargain, have been largely developed. In short, you have let many cheat themselves because they are not as sharp as you are. Where you ought to have made friends who would esteem you because of your charity, your goodness, your nobility, you have made men afraid of you. Your religious faith has been used as a means to secure confidence and practice your sharp dealing. This you have done so much that it is now as second nature to you, and you do not realize how these things appear in the eyes of others. 3LtMs, Lt 3, 1878, par. 6

The servants of God are obliged to be more or less connected with the worldly by business transactions, but they should buy and sell with a realization that the eye of God is upon them. No false balances or deceitful weights are to be used; for these are an abomination to the Lord. In every business transaction a Christian will be just what he wants his brethren to think he is. His course of action is guided by underlying principles. He does not scheme; therefore he has nothing to conceal, nothing to gloss over. He may be criticized, he may be tested, but his unbending integrity will shine forth like pure gold. He is a blessing to all connected with him; for his word is trustworthy. He is a man who will not take an advantage of his neighbor. He is a friend and benefactor to all, and his fellow men put confidence in his counsel. Does he employ laborers to gather in his harvest? Their hard-earned money is not kept back by fraud. Has he money for which he has no immediate use? He relieves the necessities of his less fortunate brother. He does not seek to add to his own land, or to fill his pocket by taking advantage of the distressing circumstances in which his neighbor is placed. His object is to help and bless his neighbor. A truly honest man will never take advantage of weakness or incompetency in order to fill his own purse. He accepts a fair equivalent for that which he sells. If there are defects in the articles sold, he frankly tells his brother or his neighbor, although by so doing he may work against his own pecuniary interests. 3LtMs, Lt 3, 1878, par. 7

In all the details of life the strictest principles of honesty are to be maintained. These are not the principles which govern our world, for Satan, deceiver, liar, and oppressor, is the master, and his subjects follow him and carry out his purposes. But Christians serve under a different Master, and their actions must be wrought in God, irrespective of all selfish gain. Deviation from perfect fairness in business deal may appear as a small thing in the estimation of some, but our Saviour did not thus regard it. His words on this point are plain and explicit: “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.” [Luke 16:10.] A man who will overreach his neighbor on a small scale will overreach in a larger scale if the temptation is brought to bear upon him. A false representation in a small matter is as much dishonesty in the sight of God as falsity in a larger matter. In the Christian world today fraud is practiced to a fearful extent. God's commandment-keeping people should show that they are above all these things. The dishonest practices which mar the dealing of man with his fellow man should never be practiced by one who professes to be a believer in present truth. God's people do great harm to the truth by the least departure from integrity. 3LtMs, Lt 3, 1878, par. 8

A man may not have a pleasant exterior, he may be deficient in many respects, but if he has a reputation for straightforward honesty, he will be respected. Stern integrity covers many objectionable traits of character. A man who steadfastly adheres to truth will win the confidence of all. Not only will his brethren in the faith trust him, but unbelievers will be constrained to acknowledge him as a man of honor. 3LtMs, Lt 3, 1878, par. 9

My brother, a path which God can approve is open before you, but you must be converted. Your mind must think in a different channel. You must be sanctified through the truth. Then God can use you as His instrument in the salvation of souls. You have abilities which God will use if they are consecrated to Him. But if you are connected with the work of God, you must cease your scheming. You must begin to work for time and for eternity. Since you embraced the truth your influence has not been good. You have not pursued the right course. You have shown yourself to be scheming and untrustworthy, when you should have been a man of the strictest honor and purest integrity. Then your brethren could have confided in you. 3LtMs, Lt 3, 1878, par. 10

If you go on as you have been going, you will dishonor the truth you profess to love. Be determined to overcome your love of gain. Resolve before God that in your future dealings no man shall have cause to say that you wilfully did wrong. Look over your past life carefully, prayerfully, and where you can see that you have wronged your neighbor or your brother in any matter, small or great, make it right at any cost to yourself. As you have watched for a good chance to make money, you have not thought you were dealing dishonestly, but you have been doing injustice which the law of God condemns. God cannot co-operate with you unless you make a determined and thorough effort to be a Christian in the fullest sense of the word, imitating day by day the unselfishness of Christ. You love money, you love gain; if you do not curb this unsanctified spirit, you will pierce yourself through with many sorrows. Wrench yourself free, and make an effort to cultivate the opposite traits of character by helping the needy, clothing the naked. Help the cause of God, and work for time and for eternity. You have not a moment to lose. Make no delay in reforming your life and character. 3LtMs, Lt 3, 1878, par. 11

Earnest reflection, with sincere prayer that your powers may be used to do good and not harm to your fellow men, is necessary to fit you to be a co-laborer with God. You need to feel the deep moving of the Spirit on your heart. You cannot always engage in the work of buying and selling and getting gain. The judgment is before you, the time is near when every man must answer to God for his deeds. The means of improvement are still within your reach. You can never make up for the great loss you have sustained, but you can now give yourself wholly to God, and gain the qualifications necessary for doing His work. Determine that you will be a man after God’s own heart. Seek as earnestly to know the best means for securing the salvation of your fellow men as you have sought to acquire worldly treasure. A resolute purpose is sure to win the desired end. 3LtMs, Lt 3, 1878, par. 12