The Signs of the Times


June 21, 1899

“For Our Sakes He Became Poor”


Christ is the great Missionary to the poor, the sick, and the suffering. “The poor have the Gospel preached unto them,” He declared. The King of heaven, He could have lived among the wealthiest, but He chose poverty, honoring it by making it His lot, redeeming it from its humiliation by consecrating Himself to a life of poverty, stripping from it forever the reproach of scorn by blessing the poor, the inheritors of God's kingdom. Poverty with Christ is wealth of the highest value. Such poverty is sanctified and blessed. ST June 21, 1899, par. 1

Poverty abounds in this world; and why?—Because of selfishness. Many are made poor by the dishonest stewardship of those who are trading on their Lord's goods. Today, crime of every kind is practised in order to obtain money. Selfishness, deceit, robbery, and bloodshed are making this world a veritable Sodom, and its inhabitants as the inhabitants of the antediluvian world. In the greed for possession, God's law is transgressed. But retribution will overtake the wrong-doers. Riches can not save one soul from death. He who gives himself up to work the works of Satan creates a force of evil that he can not repress. ST June 21, 1899, par. 2

There is a false religion, endangering the souls of all who advance it, which teaches that selfish pleasure and enjoyment is the sum of happiness. The parable of the rich man and Lazarus shows us that this is false. It was the rich man's duty to help Lazarus by giving of his abundance. But he refused to do this, and gave himself up to intemperate, luxurious living. There came a time when the rich man would have given all he possessed to exchange places with Lazarus, once poor and covered with sores. He fell sick, and during his sickness he learned what suffering meant. He is represented as calling constantly upon Lazarus to relieve him in his burning fever. But he had no knowledge of God, and Abraham is represented as answering, “Between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that they which would pass from hence to you can not; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.” ST June 21, 1899, par. 3

Christ took His position with the poor, that He might lift from poverty the stigma that the world has attached to it. He knows the danger of the love of riches. He knows that this love proves the ruin of many souls. It places those who are rich where they indulge every wish for grandeur. It develops the weakness of humanity, and shows that, notwithstanding their abundance, many of the rich are not rich toward God. The man possessing houses and lands, uplifted and deceived by the respect paid to him, looks down upon the poor man, who, nevertheless, may possess virtues that the rich man does not. When weighed in the balances of the sanctuary, the selfish, covetous rich man will be found wanting, while the poor man who has depended only upon God for his goodness, will be pronounced heir to eternal riches. ST June 21, 1899, par. 4

God has made the rich man His steward, and if he walks in Christ's steps, maintaining a humble, godly life, he will become meek and lowly in heart. He will realize that his possessions are only lent treasures, and will feel that a sacred trust has been committed to him to help the needy and suffering. This work will bring its reward in rich treasures laid up beside the throne of God. Thus the rich man may make a success of life, as a faithful steward of his Lord's goods. ST June 21, 1899, par. 5

All suffering is not the result of a perverted life. Job is brought before us as a man whom the Lord permitted Satan to afflict. The enemy stripped him of all he possessed; his family ties were broken; his children were taken from him. For a time his body was covered with loathsome sores, and he suffered greatly. His friends tried to make him see that he was responsible, by his sinful course, for all his afflictions. But he denied the charge, declaring, “Miserable comforters are ye all.” By seeking to prove Job guilty before God, and deserving of punishment, his friends brought a grievous test upon him, and placed God in a false light; but Job did not swerve from his loyalty, and God rewarded his faithful servant. ST June 21, 1899, par. 6

There is a connection between the religion of Christ and poverty. Christianity is the solace of the poor. Christ has ever been the poor man's Friend. In His humanity there are golden threads that bind the believing, trusting poor to His own soul of infinite love. He is the Great Physician, the mighty Healer of all diseases. While in our world, He bore our infirmities and carried our sorrows. He was poor, yet He was the source of all goodness, all blessings. He is a reservoir of power to all who consecrate themselves to the work He came to do. ST June 21, 1899, par. 7

Jesus, the world's Redeemer, possessed heaven's activity, heaven's ambition. He longed to extend His kingdom to all parts of the world. He endured the agony of the cross to accomplish this work, cheered by the prospect of a universal triumph. In dying for the sinful race, He destroyed him who had the power of death. The blood of the cross sealed the irrevocable covenant which ensures to our Redeemer the heathen for His inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for His possession. ST June 21, 1899, par. 8

Christians have a sacred duty to perform in carrying forward the work that Christ came to accomplish. He declared, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” He longs to have men and women cooperate with Him. They may be ignorant, but if they are meek and lowly, He will make them vessels fit for the Master's use. They will be whole-hearted, sincere disciples, who can comprehend God's great design in favor of a perishing race. ST June 21, 1899, par. 9

The Lord calls for volunteers who will be self-denying, who will endure hardness as good soldiers of the cross of Christ. He calls for workers who are willing to be laborers together with Him. We can do much to help the poor and brighten their lives, if we will but realize it. Those who work with unselfish hearts, who share Christ's sympathies, who strive earnestly to fulfil His purpose for humanity, will help to swell the tide of His joy, and will give honor, majesty, and praise to His name. ST June 21, 1899, par. 10

The last great battle in behalf of truth and righteousness is to be fought, and God would have His soldiers go forth in faith. Christians, do you discern the signs of the times? Can you, with humble tread, put your feet in the footsteps of your Redeemer? Can you give yourselves heartily to a good work, a perilous undertaking? Verily, the Lord has need of armies of workers, and some of the most precious souls will be found in the pit of degradation. God calls upon us to work for this class. Do not lose your purity because you are among the impure, but “building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference; and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever.” ST June 21, 1899, par. 11

Mrs. E. G. White