The Review and Herald

834/1902

July 14, 1896

The Cheerful Giver Accepted

EGW

“But 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: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” If we act in the spirit of this counsel, we may invite the divine One to audit the accounts of our temporal matters. We may feel that we are only giving offerings from that which is our Lord's entrusted gift. All our offerings should be presented with cheerfulness; for they come from the fund which the Lord has seen fit to place in our hands for the purpose of carrying forward his work in the world, in order that the banner of truth may be unfurled in the highways and byways of the earth. If all who profess the truth would give to the Lord his own in tithes and gifts and offerings, there would be meat in the house of the Lord. The cause of benevolence would no longer be dependent on the uncertain gifts of impulse, and vary according to the changing feelings of men. God's claims would be welcomed, and his cause would be considered as justly entitled to a portion of the funds entrusted to our hands. The Lord is our divine Creditor, and he has made us promises through the prophet Malachi that are very plain, positive, and important. It means very much to us whether or not we are rendering to God his own. He allows his stewards a certain portion for their own use, and if they will trade upon that which he claims, he will divinely bless the means in their hands. “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. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.” RH July 14, 1896, par. 1

The only plan which the gospel has marked out for sustaining the work of God is one that leaves the support of his cause to the honor of men. With an eye single to the glory of God, men are to give to God the proportion which he has required. Viewing the cross of Calvary, looking upon the world's Redeemer, who for our sake became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich, we shall feel that we are not to lay up for ourselves treasures on the earth, but to lay up treasures in the bank of heaven, which will never suspend payment nor fail. The Lord has given Jesus to our world, and the question is, What can we give back to God in gifts and offerings to show our appreciation of his love? “Freely ye have received, freely give.” RH July 14, 1896, par. 2

How much more eager will every faithful steward be to enlarge the proportion of gifts to be placed in the Lord's treasure-house, than to decrease his offering one jot or tittle. Whom is he serving? For whom is he preparing an offering?—For the One upon whom he is dependent for every good thing which he enjoys. Then let not one of us who is receiving the grace of Christ, give occasion for the angels to be ashamed of us, and for Jesus to be ashamed to call us brethren. Shall ingratitude be cultivated, and made manifest by our niggardly practises in giving to the cause of God?—No, no! Let us surrender ourselves a living sacrifice, and give our all to Jesus. It is his; we are his purchased possession. Those who are recipients of his grace, who contemplate the cross of Calvary, will not question concerning the proportion to be given, but will feel that the richest offering is all too meager, all disproportionate to the great gift of the only begotten Son of the infinite God. Through self-denial, the poorest will find ways of obtaining something to give back to God. RH July 14, 1896, par. 3

Time is money, and many are wasting precious time which might be used in useful labor, working with their hands the thing that is good. The Lord will never say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant,” to the man who has not taxed the physical powers which have been lent him of God as precious talents by which to gather means, wherewith the needy may be supplied, and offerings may be made to God. The rich are not to feel that they can be content in giving of their money merely. They have talents of ability, and they are to study to show themselves approved unto God, to be earnest spiritual agents in educating and training their children for fields of usefulness. Parents and children are not to regard themselves as their own, and feel that they can dispose of their time and property as shall please themselves. They are God's purchased possession, and the Lord calls for the profit of their physical powers, which are to be employed in bringing a revenue to the treasury of the Lord. RH July 14, 1896, par. 4

Were the thousand channels of selfishness cut off that now exist, and the means directed in the right channel, there would be a large revenue flowing into the treasury. Many purchase idols with money that should go to the house of God. No one can practice real benevolence without practicing genuine self-denial. Self-denial and the cross lie directly in the path of every Christian who is truly following Christ. Jesus says: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Will every soul consider the fact that Christian discipleship includes self-denial, self-sacrifice, even to the laying down of life itself if need be, for the sake of Him who has given his life for the life of the world? RH July 14, 1896, par. 5

Christians who view Christ upon the cross, are bound by their obligation to God because of the infinite gift of his Son, to withhold nothing which they possess, however dear it may be to them. If they possess anything that can be employed to draw any soul, no matter how rich, or no matter how poor, to the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world, they are to use it freely for this purpose. The Lord employs human agents to be coworkers with him in the salvation of sinners. RH July 14, 1896, par. 6

All heaven is actively engaged in furnishing facilities by which to extend the knowledge of the truth to all peoples, nations, and tongues. If those who profess to have been truly converted, do not let their light shine forth to others, they are neglecting the doing of the words of Christ. We need not tax ourselves with rehearsing how much has been given to the cause of God, but rather let us consider how much has been kept back from his treasury to be devoted to the indulgence of self in pleasure-seeking and self-gratification. We need not reckon up how many agents have been sent forth, but rather recount how many have closed the eyes of their understanding, so that they might not see their duty and minister to others according to their several ability. RH July 14, 1896, par. 7

How many might now be employed were there means in the treasury to sustain them in the work! How many facilities might be used in extending the work of God as his providence opens the way! Hundreds could be employed in the field in doing good in various branches, but they are not there. Why?—Selfishness keeps them at home; they love ease, and so remain away from the vineyard of the Lord. Some would go into regions beyond, but they have not the means to take them; for others have left undone that which they ought to have done. These are some of the reasons why a few workers have to go loaded down as a cart beneath sheaves, while others take no burden. Those who ought to be laborers in the vineyard will not undertake the work in faith and hope. The stay-at-home, professed Christians are misrepresenting Jesus Christ. They refuse to be partakers with him of his trials, of his humiliation, and of his burden bearing. They do not wear his yoke. If they would engage all their powers for God, they would not work alone. But many feel no genuine burden for souls. Step by step they might work their way until, by study and prayer, they might become skilful in the Scriptures, and be able to lay hold with intense earnestness of the God of all grace, beseeching him for his Holy Spirit to mold and fashion them and make them wise to win souls to Christ. RH July 14, 1896, par. 8

Actual efforts must be put forth to save souls from sin and Satan. Why is it that men and women who know the truth do not work with all their God-given powers while mercy's sweet voice is heard? Jesus is entreating, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Many of those who are stay-at-home believers, are not taking upon them the yoke of Christ. They refuse to lift his burdens, although he says, “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light” Christ carries the pressing weight, and bears the heaviest end of the yoke. A large number will not go without the camp, bearing the reproach, as did Jesus their Master, and yet by their attitude, by their inconsistent conduct, they actually weaken the efforts of those who are bearing the heavy burdens. They know nothing of what it means to be meek and lowly of heart. They know nothing of what it means to be self-denying, of what it means to be a partaker with those who do go forth to labor in the cause of God. They misjudge the workers and depreciate their efforts. They are not prepared to sympathize with them in their trials, in their heartaches and disappointments. They cannot be partakers with their brethren in their sufferings, nor can they be partakers with Christ in his sufferings. Failing of this, they will not be partakers with Christ in his glory, nor enter into the joy of their Lord in seeing souls saved in his eternal kingdom as a result of their self-sacrificing efforts in being laborers together with God. RH July 14, 1896, par. 9