Manuscript Releases, vol. 16 [Nos. 1186-1235]

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MR No. 1222—The Wise and Unwise Use of Money

(Written September 28, 1896, at “Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, N.S.W.)

[Revelation 1:3, 7, 8; Ephesians 6:11-18; 1 Timothy 6:9-12, quoted.]

The Lord has need of thee. The Lord has a work for thee to do for Him. Place yourself under the blood-stained banner of Prince Immanuel. You need to have the words in the last clause of 1 Timothy 6:12 true in your case: “And hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” When the charge from God comes to you, [verses 13-19, quoted]. 16MR 256.1

My brother, I write these things to you, which is the word of the Lord to you. Temptations surround you. The Lord has committed to you talents to be used to His name's glory. To be entrusted with the use of money is a talent from God not to be demerited, not to be misapplied, to be an injury to the user by selfishly and unwisely appropriating these trusts to administer to selfish ends, but to be wisely employed to confer its benefits to the saving of souls for whom Christ has died. 16MR 256.2

A selfish use of riches proves one unfaithful to God, and unfits the steward of means for the higher trust of heaven. So far from an inactive life in heaven, those who prove themselves faithful in this life shall be stewards of much higher responsibilities. [Says God], “If, therefore, ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, if ye have not used the worldly goods that I have committed to your trust to advance my interests as one of the firm, who shall commit to your trust the true riches?” Riches are not ours. All is God's. 16MR 256.3

Those who invest the Lord's goods in expensive buildings, in extravagant adornment, in furniture, in dress, in needless ornaments of show or display, are embezzling our Lord's goods that are only lent us for a time to prove what is in our hearts, to see if we will individually appreciate the responsibilities entrusted to our hands to advance the interests of the firm of which the Lord has honored us by taking us in connection with Himself as partners. And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own? 16MR 257.1

There are many advantages Satan manages to place in our way to enamor the mind, to lead to extravagance in the indulgence of appetite, to create false surroundings which are dangerous to the spirituality of the soul. These opportunities to advantage one's self are a temptation from Satan to entangle the human agent into gratifications of hurtful practices, in intemperance and hurtful lusts that destroy the sense of the value of their own souls. 16MR 257.2

When Satan works to ruin souls, he comes clothed like an angel of light, as a friend, and representing himself as Jesus Christ. We need divine enlightenment at every step. There is no safety for our souls unless we commit the keeping of our souls to God in faith and earnest supplications. 16MR 257.3

As money is a snare, made so by the greed after it, we need to be guarded on every side. We are put into possession of money for a little while to try us individually. The soul has its test—whether money stands as having greater power over us than God and His requirements. Our Saviour says, “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” 16MR 257.4

If the human agent acts wisely in the use of means which comes into his possession, he evidences that money is not his god. Mammon is not his master. In the hands of faithful stewards it shall be made to serve the purpose of God always. Then will the entrusted talents be so wisely employed as to gain for the steward a rich experience, directly and indirectly, and enable him to be rich in good works, blessing his fellow men. He is not required to part with his money in large sums and thus shift his responsibility upon other men. He is to acquire wisdom to stand as [a] faithful steward, dealing with his Lord's goods with wisdom and discrimination. 16MR 257.5

There has not been all that wisdom exercised that the Lord requires of His stewards. Large investments have been made. This was not the wisest thing to do in trading upon our Lord's entrusted goods, for temptation has come in consequence of doing this, placing out of their power means which they afterwards see they could use in various lines as the necessity of the cause of God shall present itself to them as the standard of Truth is raised in new fields, and in places where the standard of Truth is to be planted. 16MR 258.1

Churches need to be built to accommodate those who have moral courage to accept the truth when the whole world is opposed to its principles and will use every opportunity to hedge up the way of God's commandment-keeping people. 16MR 258.2

There must not be a moving by impulse. There should not be a pressure brought to bear upon those who have means that they will virtually shift their responsibility upon other men. Every man and woman who is under rule to God is to listen to His counsel. The workings of the arch-adversary of souls will be revealed in various ways. The deceitfulness of riches oft ensnares the soul. 16MR 258.3

There is a positive necessity for the steward of God to pray much that he may not be deceived in anywise in handling the Lord's goods. He is a steward, a partner in the firm, and if he moves not by impulse but from a sense of conviction that he must invest his Lord's goods to advance the glory of God in the work of saving souls to Jesus Christ, then [he] himself will be benefited eternally, if he holds fast his confidence and faith and trust in God firmly unto the end. 16MR 258.4

The improvement of our God-given talents composes a strong feature in our probationary state in the development of character. Now we are on test and trial to reveal Christian character. If we are unguarded now, if we let time pass and act indifferent to the requirements of God, if we misuse our talent of reason, of intellect, if we fritter away upon amusements and self-gratifications our precious opportunities and talents, we are being conquered by the enemy in this life and depriving God of the service due Him, and are imperiling our interests for eternity. 16MR 259.1

If individually we recognize and accept our responsibilities, if we seek the Lord as did Daniel, if we have the moral courage, we will conquer, and the eternal benediction will be ours. Satan works himself in to make the Lord's entrusted talents of means a source of evil to corrupt the whole man, by keeping his heart fastened upon his earthly treasures, and ignoring God and destroying himself physically, mentally, and morally. Satan has usurped the title as god of this world. He is not thus, only as man shall choose him to be thus. 16MR 259.2

He was represented as Barabbas when placed beside Jesus, who made the world and all things that are therein. The opportunity was given to man to choose. “Whom shall I release unto you, Barabbas or Christ?” The roar of voices was like wild beasts: “Barabbas, Barabbas, Release unto us Barabbas.” Here was Satan personified, chosen before Christ, the Son of God. What exaltation had Satan on that occasion! What exaltation he has on every such occasion! 16MR 259.3

Now in our world the choice is being made. “Barabbas, Barabbas.” “But what shall be done with Christ?” “Crucify Him.” This is being repeated in our world today. Whom are we individually choosing? We are demonstrating our choice. 16MR 260.1

Money has a great value because it can do great good. Absolute necessities are met, and the faithful steward to God can bring relief at a time when help is needed. Money may be withheld from the treasury “that there may be meat in Mine house.” The Lord's money is misused in extravagance, in indulgence of appetite. This entrusted capital should be used to relieve human suffering, to clothe the naked, to feed the hungry, to advance the truth, to build up the kingdom of God in our world. 16MR 260.2

There are constant tests, constant temptations, constant trials; but if the agent will bring himself under the control of God, and to wise men, everyone who acquires a competence more than is sufficient to sustain frugal living and supply his personal wants is thrown upon his own responsibility to acknowledge God as the beneficent giver, and to keep his heart with all diligence to do righteousness. 16MR 260.3

“And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted Him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. And He said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live” [Luke 10:25-28]. 16MR 260.4

This entire chapter is worthy of careful study, but the lesson I wish you to take in and understand is contained in verses 25-37. When God is loved supremely, then property of any description will be looked upon as talent loaned to be used with wisdom, to take its proper place subordinate to the eternal interests. Sanctified judgment is to be exercised as to how to appropriate the goods of trust to best advance the glory of God. 16MR 261.1

Money cannot confer happiness without the Lord's name is glorified with its use. When money charms the heart because it is [in] the hands of the human agent, it is a snare; it is a master, not an agent for accomplishing the greatest amount of good. It is regarded above the favor of God, takes the place of an idol, and is worshiped as such. But when property, money, or any other thing interposes itself between man and his obedience to God, that money is ruinous to the eternal interests of the soul. We cannot serve God and mammon. 16MR 261.2

When men allow property to get too strong a hold on the mind, it is a snare. When one uses the property lent him in trust to gratify any passion, it becomes a snare, for it fosters pride and leads its possessor into extravagance in its outlay, and his soul is imperiled, serving lust. To serve God with the heart and mind and affection, we must work for His name's glory, and use His entrusted gifts as one who must give an account to God as to how he has used his Lord's goods. 16MR 261.3

We are ever to consider that no amount of property can make us independent of God. He gives us intellect, He gives us life and health; if we will obey His sovereign will, His blessing will abide with us. His word is our assurance. There is no dependence to be placed on property, and wealth cannot keep us in peace. We may depend upon it, but it cannot be our physician to heal or restore us from infirmities. 16MR 261.4

But when prosperity comes to the human agent, does he give glory to God? Does he honor God with thanksgiving? Does it increase his faith and love to God and his fellow men, or does he trust in his riches and expect to be favored and honored for his riches? Does he become impatient of restraint? Unless heart, mind, and soul are daily consecrated to God, and unless he renders thanksgiving to God for his entrusted gifts, thankful that the Lord has placed His talent in his hands to do good, to advance His cause, to bring in his gifts—tithes and offerings to the Lord's treasury as property accumulates—there will be a turning of these talents into wrong channels, where they will do positive harm to the human agent, and prove a temptation to allure and harm souls for whom Christ has died. 16MR 262.1

We may make the Lord's entrusted gifts just what God designed they should be—a blessing to the needy. Read 2 Corinthians 9:11, 12: “Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. For the administration of this service not only supplieth the wants of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God.” The whole chapter is a lesson to be practiced. 16MR 262.2

If we manifest that we acknowledge God as the Giver to whom we must give an account, there will be a watchfulness to make wise investments in the expenditure of means, with an eye single to the glory of God. Thus our will will be brought into conformity to the will of God. The world, its habits, its practices, and its customs, will not be the standard. Our own inclinations will not lead to extravagance in the outlay of means, but we will conform to the rules of Christian principles—to be of greatest benefit and usefulness to our fellow men. 16MR 262.3

The Lord is soon to come. We are to do our best as laborers together with God, exerting our God-given faculties to a good purpose; helping others by our carefulness to practice economy; teaching our children that we live not to please ourselves; teaching habits of industry, and not dressing for display; teaching all with whom we come in contact to develop better faculties and to form their characters after the character of Christ; and teaching that whether we eat or drink or whatsoever we do, to do all to the glory of God. By using the money to advance God's glory, all such work may be accomplished, and indolence will not be encouraged. 16MR 263.1

Giving to advance the truth, because it is the truth as it is in Jesus, increases our love for the truth. To give to the Lord's cause that which He has entrusted to us to bestow wisely at times when the cause and work of God needs help, provides a fund from which to draw to sustain the work in its different branches, and this giving will be a personal benefit in uplifting and strengthening the one who invests. When one shows his special interest in this way, that action will react upon himself in this world, and the deed lives in the record of heaven to bring its reward in the future eternal world. 16MR 263.2

There are schools to be established for the education and training of youth in science and in the knowledge of the Scriptures, which is the true Bible science, to prepare young men and women to become intelligent in the Scriptures and prepare them for earnest missionary work in communicating the light that God has given them. 16MR 263.3

The humblest child of God may act a part in this grand work. They should have the privilege, even if it requires self-denial and self- sacrifice, to contribute according to their ability. The education of youth should be of a different order than that which has been in the past. The word of the Most High, who is infinite in wisdom, will, if carefully studied, become enlarged and continually enlarging in light and interest. The welfare of children and youth in all parts of the world demands far more in their interests and welfare than has been given them. 16MR 264.1

The religious affections need to be educated and trained and enlisted in revealing the principles of the Word of God by being brought into practical life, and will evidence in gifts and offerings made to extend the knowledge of the truth. We have the last message of warning, the last call of mercy, to give to our world, and this message will be far-reaching in its influence. And if we have an abiding Christ, our words and works will tell in its beneficial action upon ourselves, and be an active agent in the saving of souls and in glorifying God. 16MR 264.2

What will be the gratitude of souls that shall meet us in the heavenly courts as they understand the interest and sympathy and love which have been revealed for their souls? They felt the burden to labor and to invest means to place souls in positions where they could learn the truth, and in their turn become channels of light. Receiving the light from the Word of God, they communicated that light to others and became a part of the Lord's firm, co-partners with Jesus Christ in saving souls ready to perish. While all praise, all honor, and all glory will be given unto God and to the Lamb as our Redeemer, there will be no detracting from the glory of God in expressing gratitude to the instrumentality God has employed for the salvation of the souls ready to perish. 16MR 264.3

Those redeemed by the blood of the Lamb will meet there and know the very ones who called their attention to [the] uplifted Saviour. What blessed converse they have with these souls. “I was a sinner,” they say, “without God and without hope in the world, and you came to me and drew my attention to the precious Saviour as my only help, and I believed in Him. I repented of my sins and was made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” 16MR 265.1

And other redeemed ones rejoice as they meet those who have had a burden in their behalf. They say, “I was a heathen in heathen lands. You left your friends and comfortable homes, and came to teach me how to find Jesus, and believe in Him as the only true God. I demolished my idols and worshipped God, and now I see Him face to face, saved, eternally saved, to ever behold Him who I now love. I then saw Him only by an eye of faith, but now I see Him as He is. I now can express my gratitude to Him who loved me, who gave His own life for me, with a pure, immortal tongue, for His redeeming mercy.” 16MR 265.2

Others will express their gratitude to those who fed the hungry, who clothed the naked. “When despair bound my soul in unbelief, the Lord sent you to me to speak words of faith and hope and comfort. You brought me food for my physical necessities. You treated me as a brother. You sympathized with me in my sorrows, and restored my bruised and wounded soul, that I could grasp the hand of Christ that was reached out to save me. You taught me patiently in my ignorance that I had a heavenly Father who cared for me. You read to me the precious promises of God's Word. You inspired in me faith that He would save me. My heart was softened, subdued, broken, as I contemplated [that] Christ gave His life for me. I became hungry for the word of life, and the truth was precious to my soul; and I am here, saved, eternally saved, to ever live in the presence of Him, and to praise Him who gave His life for me.”—Manuscript 25, 1896. 16MR 265.3

Ellen G. White Estate

Washington, D. C.,

October 30, 1986.

Entire manuscript.