The Review and Herald

670/1902

May 16, 1893

Liberality the Fruit of Love

(Concluded.)

EGW

In the Bible system of tithes and offerings the amounts paid by different persons will of course vary greatly, since they are proportioned to the income. With the poor man, the tithe will be a comparatively small sum, and his gifts will be according to his ability. But it is not the greatness of the gift that makes the offering acceptable to God; it is the purpose of the heart, the spirit of gratitude and love that it expresses. Let not the poor feel that their gifts are so small as to be unworthy of notice. Let them give according to their ability, feeling that they are servants of God, and that he will accept their offering. RH May 16, 1893, par. 1

The one to whom God has intrusted a large capital will not, if he loves and fears God, find it a burden to meet the demands of an enlightened conscience according to the claims of God. The rich will be tempted to indulge in selfishness and avarice, and to withhold from the Lord his own. But he who is true to God will, when tempted, answer to Satan, “It is written,” “Will a man rob God?” “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?” RH May 16, 1893, par. 2

The offerings made to God by his professed people would be much larger if it were not for the selfish love of ease, the manufactured wants, the lack of economy, the love of luxuries, the gratification of appetite, the desire for self-pleasing. But the life and character of Christ and the lessons he has given to his followers present no encouragement to selfishness. How much of self-indulgence did Christ have in his life? He for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might be rich. And he said, “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Self-indulgence, self-pleasing, pride, and extravagance must be renounced. We cannot be Christians and gratify these propensities. We cannot love God supremely and our neighbor as ourselves, and devote to our own use the means intrusted to us to honor and glorify God. We need to make a practical application of the lessons of our Saviour's life and teachings. RH May 16, 1893, par. 3

In view of all the gifts of God to us, the question is asked, “Will a man rob God?” As though such a sin were not possible. But the Lord declares, “Ye have robbed me.” God reads the covetous thought in every heart that purposes to withhold from him. Those who are selfishly neglectful in paying their tithes, and bringing their gifts and offerings to the treasury, God sees. The Lord Jehovah understands it all. As a book of remembrance is written before him of them that fear the Lord, and that think upon his name, so there is a record kept of all who are appropriating to themselves the gifts which God intrusted to them to use for the salvation of souls. RH May 16, 1893, par. 4

We should never forget that we are placed on trial in this world, to determine our fitness for the future life. None can enter heaven whose characters are defiled by the foul blot of selfishness. Therefore God tests us here, by committing to us temporal possessions, that our use of these may show whether we can be intrusted with eternal riches. And the time is near when the case of every soul will be forever decided. “Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.” RH May 16, 1893, par. 5

Those who keep eternal realities in view, who love the Lord with all the heart and soul and strength, and their neighbor as themselves, will conscientiously do their whole duty, as if the curtain were rolled back, and they could see that they were working in view of the heavenly universe. The spirit of Christian liberality will strengthen as it is exercised, and will not need to be unhealthfully stimulated. All who possess this spirit, the Spirit of Christ, will with cheerful alacrity press their gifts into the Lord's treasury. Inspired by love for Christ and for the souls for whom he has died, they feel an intense earnestness to act their part with fidelity. RH May 16, 1893, par. 6

Should all who claim to be sons and daughters of God, conscientiously meet their obligation to God and their fellow-men in tithes and offerings, an abundance would flow into the treasury to sustain the work of God in its different branches throughout our world. As they should impart, the Lord would open ways whereby they would be able continually to bestow, because they were continually receiving. There would then be no occasion to make appeals for means to sustain the cause. If the principle of giving to the Lord his own were carried out regularly and systematically, it would be acknowledged of God. “Them that honor me will I honor.” RH May 16, 1893, par. 7

“This I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity [not feeling that he is compelled to give]: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work (as it is written, he hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth forever. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness): being enriched in everything to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.” RH May 16, 1893, par. 8

The offerings that are the fruit of self-denial prompted by love are represented by the words spoken by God to Cornelius: “Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.” Who does not desire such memorials—deeds which are before God as a voice speaking in behalf of the human agent, keeping our names fresh and fragrant in the heavenly sanctuary? RH May 16, 1893, par. 9

Alms and prayers are to be united; both are offerings to God, the one the supplement of the other. Merely to pray and to have good intentions is not enough. All Christians are under obligation to labor and sacrifice in the spirit with which Christ labored for the salvation of souls. Not only has the Lord given us as his stewards, talents of means to render back to the Giver, but he has endowed us with mental powers to use for him. He has made us the stewards of his grace, that both spiritual and temporal gifts may be employed for the saving of souls and the glory of him who so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. RH May 16, 1893, par. 10

The fields are opening everywhere, calling for the living preacher. At home and abroad are openings that there seems no way to fill. Yet there is a large number who have the light of truth, and if these would do all in their power to give light to others, how much might be accomplished! All cannot be preachers of the word, but in their own homes all might do something for Christ. They could do a good work among their neighbors. If they would put their minds and hearts to the work, they might devise plans by which they could be useful in a small way, whatever their position. The ever-increasing opportunities for usefulness, the providential openings for the word of God to be presented, demand our offerings of time and intellect and money, gifts large and small, as God has prospered us, to make a way for the truth in the dark places of the earth, to set up the standard of righteousness, and to advance the interests of the kingdom of Christ. The heavenly angels are waiting to unite with the human agent, that many souls may hear and be impressed by the Holy Spirit, and be converted. RH May 16, 1893, par. 11

We have long been looking and waiting for the coming of the Lord; but are we doing all in our power to hasten his coming? “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” While the Lord is ever working, while all heaven is engaged in the work on earth to draw men to Christ and repentance, what are the human agents doing to be channels of light, that they may co-operate with the divine agencies? Are they daily inquiring, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” Are they practicing self-denial, as did Jesus? Are they deeply stirred, their hearts drawn out in prayer to God that they may be receiving of his grace, the Holy Spirit of God, that they may have wisdom to work with their ability and their means to save souls that are perishing out of Christ? RH May 16, 1893, par. 12

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” RH May 16, 1893, par. 13