The Bible Echo


March 5, 1894

Business and Religion


“Not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord,” is the exhortation of Paul to his Roman brethren. The first part of this injunction is quoted by many as an excuse for continually over-taxing their mental and physical powers in the pursuit of gain, while they entirely overlook the requirement to be “fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” BEcho March 5, 1894, par. 1

There are strong temptations to worldliness, and they will continue to exist while society is in its present state,—while gold is power, and a man is measured by his wealth and position. Many are fascinated by these alluring temptations. They see that the possession of wealth gives power and influence, and they would rather be ranked among those who enjoy the luxury and position that money gives, than among those who possess true goodness and nobility of character. BEcho March 5, 1894, par. 2

Among professed Christians even there are many who are selfish and grasping, and who love themselves better than they love their neighbour or their God. They appear before the world almost entirely in the character of business men, grasping for worldly gain. They are not known as humble, devoted, self-sacrificing Christians, kind and true-hearted in all the relations of life. They say, “God does not expect us to carry strict religious principles into our business affairs. Business is business, and religion is religion.” And so the plainest and most positive injunctions of the word of God are deliberately set aside for worldly wisdom and maxims. BEcho March 5, 1894, par. 3

The man who takes this selfish course denies the faith, and strengthens and confirms the ungodly in their impenitence, by making them believe that religion is all a pretense. He does not “seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness,” and he cannot claim the promise that all things needful shall be added unto him. BEcho March 5, 1894, par. 4

Gold is not the standard of judging with God. Jesus asks, “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Surely this is an exorbitant price to pay for the fleeting treasures of earth. Success here is terrible failure. He who judges correctly in the light of eternity, calls those who are rich in worldly possessions, while they are not rich toward God, poor, wretched, blind, and miserable. BEcho March 5, 1894, par. 5

Why will not men and women pursue a sensible course? All have some cherished object that absorbs the mind. They need employment. There is no virtue in indolence. The idle are encompassed by as great perils as beset those who are overtaxed with care. While excessive labour destroys physical and mental vigour, do-nothings rust from inaction. We are to be “not slothful in business.” BEcho March 5, 1894, par. 6

But no one has a right to so load himself down with a multitude of cares that he cannot obey the injunction to be “fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” However lawful the business prosecuted may be of itself, it must not be allowed to unduly absorb the mind and occupy the time. God will not accept a divided heart. His law requires supreme love to God, and unselfish love to our neighbour. Those who allow mind and body to become so worn down by constant and excessive labour that this law is disregarded, commit sin. They are serving other gods before the God of heaven; for when some other object usurps the devotion that belongs to God, that object becomes an idol. That to which is given the freshest hours of the day, the closest thought and study, the greatest skill, is that which is dearest and most valued. BEcho March 5, 1894, par. 7

“Not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord,” says the apostle. Here we find the straight, safe path, which escapes alike the entanglements of worldliness and the evils resulting from want of occupation. Jesus is acquainted with the human heart; He knows its longings, and the Bible is given us, not to check these desires, but to direct them into the proper channel. This holy word does not forbid activity; it does not leave men to lead aimless lives; it presents before them objects worthy of their best efforts. The Bible shows the pleasure-seeker the path of peace and joy; it directs the aspirations of the ambitious. If wealth is the object of desire, it unfolds treasures that will never disappoint,—unsearchable riches, imperishable as the throne of the Eternal. BEcho March 5, 1894, par. 8

The psalmist observed the righteous and the wicked. He saw the difference between their courses of conduct, and in the principles that governed them. Of the worldling he says, “I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay-tree. Yet he passed away, and lo, he was not; yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.” But of the righteous he says, “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for the end of that man is peace.” BEcho March 5, 1894, par. 9