Manuscript Releases, vol. 9 [Nos. 664-770]


5—Ministers and Business Matters

Business Matters to be Left to Business Men

I have been instructed in regard to the importance of our ministers’ keeping free from responsibilities that should be largely borne by business men. In the night season I was in an assembly consisting of a number of our brethren who bear the burden of the work. They were deeply perplexed over financial affairs, and were consulting as to how the work could be managed most successfully. 9MR 169.1

Some thought that the number of workers might be limited, and yet all the results essential be realized. One of the brethren occupying a position of responsibility was explaining his plans, and stating what he desired to see accomplished. Several others presented matters for consideration. Then One of dignity and authority arose, and proceeded to state principles for our guidance. To several ministers the Speaker said: 9MR 169.2

Counsel from One of Authority

“Your work is not the management of financial matters. It is not wise for you to undertake this. God has burdens for you to bear, but if you carry lines of work for which you are not adapted, your efforts in presenting the Word will prove unsuccessful. This will bring upon you discouragement that will disqualify you for the very work you should do—a work requiring careful discrimination and sound, unselfish judgment.” 9MR 169.3

Those who are employed to write and to speak the Word should attend fewer committee meetings. They should entrust many minor matters to men of business ability, and thus avoid being kept on a constant strain that robs the mind of its natural vigor. They should give far more attention to the preservation of physical health; for vigor of mind depends largely upon vigor of body. Proper periods of sleep and rest and an abundance of physical exercise are essential to health of body and mind. To rob nature of her hours for rest and recreation, by allowing one man to do the work of four, or of three, or even of two, will result in irreparable loss. 9MR 169.4

The Limitations of Qualifications

Those who think that a man's fitness for a certain position qualifies him to fill several other positions, are liable to make mistakes when planning for the advancement of the work. They are liable to place upon one the cares and burdens that should be divided among several. 9MR 169.5

Experience is of great value. The Lord desires to have men of intelligence connected with His work, men qualified for various positions of trust in our conferences and institutions. Especially are consecrated business men needed, men who will carry the principles of truth into every business transaction. 9MR 170.1

Those placed in charge of financial affairs should not assume other burdens, burdens that they are incapable of bearing; nor is the business management to be entrusted to incompetent men. Those in charge of the work have erred sometimes in permitting the appointment of men devoid of tact and ability to manage important financial interest. 9MR 170.2

Training Men for Business Responsibilities

Men of promise in business lines should develop and perfect their talents by most thorough study and training. They should be encouraged to place themselves where, as students, they can rapidly gain a knowledge of right business principles and methods. Not one business man now connected with the cause needs to be a novice. 9MR 170.3

If men in any line of work ought to improve their opportunities to become wise and efficient, it is those who are using their ability in the work of building up the kingdom of God in our world. In view of the fact that we are living so near the close of this earth's history, there should be greater thoroughness in labor, more vigilant waiting, watching, praying, and working. The human agent should strive to attain perfection, that he may be an ideal Christian, complete in Christ Jesus. 9MR 170.4

Right Principles Essential

Those who labor in business lines should take every precaution against falling into error through wrong principles or methods. Their record may be like that of Daniel in the courts of Babylon. When all his business transactions were subjected to the closest scrutiny, not one faulty item could be found. 9MR 170.5

The record of his business life, incomplete though it is, contains lessons worthy of study. It reveals the fact that a business man is not necessarily a scheming policy man. He may be a man instructed of God at every step. Daniel, while prime minister of the kingdom of Babylon, was a prophet of God, receiving the light of heavenly inspiration. His life is an illustration of what every Christian business man may be.—Gospel Workers, 422-424. 9MR 170.6

Ministers Not Ordained for Business Activities

Not a few ministers are neglecting the very work that they have been appointed to do. Why are those who are set apart for the work of the ministry placed on committees and boards? Why are they called upon to attend so many business meetings, many times at great distance from their fields of labor? Why are not business matters placed in the hands of business men? The ministers have not been set apart to do this work. The finances of the cause are to be managed by men of ability; but ministers are set apart for another line of work.... 9MR 171.1

Ministers are not to be called hither and thither to attend board meetings for the purpose of deciding common business questions. Many of our ministers have done this work in the past, but it is not the work in which the Lord wishes them to engage. Too many financial burdens have been placed on them. When they try to carry these burdens, they neglect to fulfill the gospel commission. God looks upon this as a dishonor to His name.—Testimonies for the Church 7:254-255. 9MR 171.2

Godliness Woven Into Every Transaction
Counsel to Publishing Leaders

We must be not only diligent in business but “fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” Devotion and piety and godliness must be interwoven into every transaction. Without this in your business you will commit robbery toward God while professing to serve Him. 9MR 171.3

We see family and home religion neglected, altars broken down, first love abandoned, and the religion of Christ expelled from the soul, to give place to engaging in speculation and business enterprises, and these things are constantly multiplying. Men are leaving God and heaven out of their calculations, and time spent in searching the heart is considered wasted. The Bible is neglected, and a multitude of cares overbalance the precious truth of God in the heart, and spiritual eyesight is put out. How much men need the heavenly anointing!—Manuscript 6, 1890, p. 8. 9MR 171.4

Business Meetings

All the council and committee meetings should be so planned and conducted that these wearing, taxing seasons may be lessened both in number and duration. Those who engage in them should give much thought to the matters to be considered, before bringing them before the committee, and should come quickly to the points of interest. Make them plain, and let everyone try to dispatch the business as speedily as possible, and not hold and tax the minds and bodies of men for long hours to do the business that might and should be dispatched promptly. 9MR 171.5

There should be a constant effort for brevity in business meetings. Harmony and simplicity in the work, an avoidance of all unnecessary machinery, will do much to preserve the courage and the physical and mental energies of those who have to consider so many points.—Manuscript 3, 1890, p. 9. 9MR 172.1

Delegate Responsibility

Satan is very active, and with cunning plans he is seeking to deceive a leader that ought to be a faithful steward of means and of souls. Let this man cease accumulating so many burdens that the Lord has not placed upon him—burdens that will hinder him from studying the plan of God concerning him. Let him not continue to follow his own plans and load himself with many burdens that the Lord has not appointed him to bear. 9MR 172.2

Hitherto, he has not heeded the warnings given him, but has taken upon himself burden after burden. This has necessitated great expenditure of means, and has drawn heavily upon his fund of physical and mental and moral power. 9MR 172.3

The one who has become so heavily burdened, should study to place some of these burdens upon others, that they may help him carry the load of responsibility which causes him to become impatient and fretful. Satan and his angels now look on the pitiful spectacle, and are highly pleased. The voice of Jesus is heard, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36).—Letter 32, 1906, p. 3. 9MR 172.4

Power is a Snare

Power placed in the hands of any man is, beyond a certain limit, a snare, and often will ruin his soul. The Lord's word to Solomon [1 Kings 9:1-9] is applicable to every man who consents to assume responsibilities in any place in the Lord's work. Strength of character is to be honored by those who claim to keep the commandments and statutes of God.—Manuscript 154, 1902, p. 12. 9MR 172.5

Counsel With the Brethren

Brother_____, you do not see the necessity of calling together the old hands in the cause, and setting your plans before them and asking their counsel. You need men of other and varied talents to counsel and plan with you. But you do not talk over matters freely with your brethren. 9MR 173.1

This I was taught my husband should do, and he obeyed the injunction of the Spirit of God. He called together his brethren, and urged them to express their mind as to the way in which the work should go, and not a move was made independently. Those experienced brethren felt that they shared the responsibility, and we carried the people with us in our efforts for the upbuilding of the work. Thus it should ever be. One man's judgment may be deficient in many respects, but in a multitude of counselors there is safety.... 9MR 173.2

Conference President to Concentrate on Spiritual Interests

Brother_____, it is not your duty at our camp meetings to engage in manual labor. That belongs to the laymen. They should be educated to attend to the fitting up of the grounds. As president, you should apply yourself more thoroughly to plan for the spiritual interests of the meeting, consulting with your ministering brethren. Let your efficiency be seen in this direction.—Letter 29, 1890, pp. 1, 3. 9MR 173.3