The Signs of the Times


July 28, 1887

Christian Devotion and Its Reward


“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” “No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” ST July 28, 1887, Art. A, par. 1

In these words the Saviour presents before us the importance of laying up for ourselves a treasure in Heaven. Christ understood full well what he was saying. He knew that if men should lay up their treasures here in this world, their interests also would be here; and these worldly interests would shut the love of God out of the heart. If we keep our eye fixed too intently upon things of the world, how can we see those that are heavenly? ST July 28, 1887, Art. A, par. 2

God would have the things of this world take a secondary place; but it is Satan's object to make them the most attractive to us. As the great deceiver succeeds in his purpose to draw our minds from God, it is impossible for us to estimate the loss we are sustaining. If we are getting daily views of heavenly things, we shall be constantly hungering and thirsting after righteousness. And if our eye is single to the glory of God, his rich blessing can flow into our hearts and homes. Then why do we not have the glory of God in view in all that we say and do? It is because we invite the world into our hearts, and the love of the world strengthens continually, until it crowds out the work of grace from the heart, and separates us from our Creator. ST July 28, 1887, Art. A, par. 3

When in the temple at Jerusalem the water was poured out at the foot of the altar, commemorating the water that flowed from the smitten rock in the wilderness, the voice of Jesus was heard, clear and penetrating, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.” He was the Rock that followed them in the wilderness, refreshing his thirsty people. And now he would draw away the mind from that which can never satisfy the thirsting, fainting soul, to the Rock of Ages, from which flow the pure streams of eternal life. From this fountain the nations may drink and drink again, and the supply is fresh, and inexhaustible, and free to all. ST July 28, 1887, Art. A, par. 4

We may drink here and satisfy our thirst. But how many there are, even of those who profess to be the children of God, who while longing to be free from the troubles that beset them on the right hand and on the left, are yet bending all their energies to lay up a treasure on earth.—the very thing which Christ has told them not to do. ST July 28, 1887, Art. A, par. 5

Jesus would not have his people worrying and toiling and fretting under a yoke of their own imposing. He invites them: “Take my yoke upon you.” The world's yoke is galling, and too heavy to bear; but the gracious words of our Lord are, “Take my yoke upon you,” and “ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Oh, how many galling yokes, how many unnecessary burdens, are borne because men will grasp this world and this world's treasures, because they choose things that are of no importance, while things of eternal importance are considered of little or no value! The things of this world are the things that worldlings love and seek for; but should Christians do the same as they? No, they must take an entirely different course. They must seek those things that are above, “where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God.” ST July 28, 1887, Art. A, par. 6

What will it amount to in the end, if we devote all our time and energies to the poor, selfish life of the worldling? We shall not be the happier here for having our treasure in this earth, and we shall miss the eternal reward. It is of infinitely more consequence to build up a character that God can approve than to carry on the most successful business career. Jesus, our perfect pattern, has shown man the way to form such a character. Day by day, through the help of divine grace, he may be making a record which he will not be ashamed to meet in the Judgment. As the artist prints the face upon the polished plate, so our characters are printed upon the books of Heaven, and it should be our first care to know that the impressions made there are fair and perfect. ST July 28, 1887, Art. A, par. 7

It is our duty to render to God the best service possible. There are some who have talents that would enable them to stand in the sacred desk, and speak the word of God to the people. These talents have been intrusted to them to do good with, and they are responsible for the use they make of them; but oh, how many are using these God-given powers for purposes of mere worldly gain! Perhaps they are trying to serve both God and mammon; but while they are serving themselves, they are not serving God. ST July 28, 1887, Art. A, par. 8

Christ is the great foundation stone; and we read that some are building on that foundation, wood, hay, and stubble, while others are bringing to it gold, silver, and precious stones. The fires of the great day will test every man's work, and if the material he furnished is consumed, he will suffer loss. ST July 28, 1887, Art. A, par. 9

Dear Christian friend, stop and think. You are trading with your Lord's money; and what use are you making of it? You may suffer your mind to be engrossed with business transactions and the cares of this life; but you cannot carry these things with you into the other world. There will be no use for this kind of education there. Then why not use your talents to build up Christ's kingdom? Why not give to the service of God the tact, skill, and energy that have made you successful in business? The works of this world will be destroyed. Would it not be better to put some of your thinking powers into the cause of God, and build where the work will be enduring, and you will not suffer loss? ST July 28, 1887, Art. A, par. 10

The constant burden of our hearts should be, What can I do to save souls for whom Christ died? All around me are precious souls lying in wickedness, that must perish unless someone shall work for their salvation. How can I best reach these wandering ones, that I may bring them to the glorious city of God, and present them before the throne, saying, Here am I and the children whom the Lord hath given me? ST July 28, 1887, Art. A, par. 11

Some may excuse themselves by saying, I have had no experience in this kind of work; I have used my ability only in the things of this life. Well, it is for you to say whether you will continue to devote your time and strength to worldly interests, or will use them in the cause of God. None of us will be forced into this service. If we choose to concentrate our powers upon worldly matters, there will be nothing to hinder us. But why is it that we persist in laying up treasure here instead of above? Suppose you should change the order of things, and lay up some of your treasure in Heaven, would you not rejoice to receive it again by and by, imperishable? ST July 28, 1887, Art. A, par. 12

It takes time and patience to learn the truth, and to become an accomplished workman in the vineyard of the Lord; yet this you may do. Go to the milliner, or dressmaker, and she will tell you how long and hard she toiled before she had a correct knowledge of the business. The architect will tell you how long it took him to understand how to plan and erect a tasteful and commodious building. And so it will be in all the callings which men follow. They do not expect success without care and diligence in mastering their business. But how few of us who are called to be co-laborers with the Master, have “learned the trade” as Christians. Let these men and women who are so successful in business and so eloquent in talking of worldly things, come into the social meeting, and often when they arise to testify for Christ, they will mumble a few words in a scarcely audible tone, and sit down. Why are they willing to be dwarfs in religious things? Does it not show where their heart is? ST July 28, 1887, Art. A, par. 13

Christ has appointed to every man his work. The second death will be the portion of those who labor not, and the dreadful words will be heard, “Depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” But the faithful servants will not lose their reward. They will gain eternal life, and the “Well done, good and faithful servant,” will fall as sweetest music on their ears. Soon the books of record will be examined, and the cases of all decided; and it will then appear that the heavenly treasure will repay a life-time of earnest devotion. ST July 28, 1887, Art. A, par. 14

Basel, Switzerland.