The Review and Herald

855/1902

December 1, 1896

The Right Use of God's Gifts

EGW

The talents that God has given to each one of his children are to be used to honor and glorify him. They are the instrumentalities with which we are to work, and our final reward will depend upon the piety, the earnestness, and the unselfishness, which now characterize our lives. Day by day, hour by hour, in the use we make of these gifts, we are deciding our eternal destiny, determining what decisions shall be made in the Judgment. Day by day we are making our mark for eternity. Our whole life-work is bound up with the solemn period of the Judgment. RH December 1, 1896, Art. A, par. 1

Our eternal interests are involved in the use we make of our property, our time, our strength, our capabilities. The whole value of our life-work is measured by the employment of our entrusted talents. God will one day reckon with his servants, that he may know how much each one has gained by trading; and the rewards bestowed will be proportionate to the work done. “Behold,” said Christ, “I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Please read the third chapter of Malachi. The subject is there presented in a striking and decided manner. It is not traced by human pen; the voice of God is speaking for the benefit of all who live upon the face of the earth. RH December 1, 1896, Art. A, par. 2

The property we possess is given us by God, and it is to be used in his service. It is not to be regarded as our own, to be used as our fancy shall dictate; but is to be employed in doing the will of God in behalf of truth and righteousness. The Lord has need of this talent; and rich and poor should awake to their God-given responsibility in this matter, and work to the utmost of their ability to honor and glorify God. RH December 1, 1896, Art. A, par. 3

Those who allow a covetous spirit to take possession of them cherish and develop those traits of character which will place their names on the record-books of heaven as idolaters. All such are classed with thieves, revilers, and extortioners, none of whom, the word of God declares, shall inherit the kingdom of God. “The wicked boasteth of his heart's desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the Lord abhorreth.” Covetous attributes are ever opposed to the exercise of Christian beneficence. The fruits of selfishness always reveal themselves in a neglect of duty, and in a failure to use God's entrusted gifts for the advancement of his work. RH December 1, 1896, Art. A, par. 4

“They that will be rich,”—those who are fully determined to obtain riches and to enjoy the pleasures of this world,—“fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts.” For a time Satan holds out before them many worldly attractions and opportunities, but that which the word of God declares to be the sure result must come upon them. Their end is destruction and perdition. “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” RH December 1, 1896, Art. A, par. 5

As Christians, we are to follow our Leader step by step in the heavenward way. His gifts are not to be absorbed in worldly pursuits. He has enjoined upon us, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” By this sign the children of God and the children of the enemy are distinguished. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” RH December 1, 1896, Art. A, par. 6

Life is a gift of God. Our bodies have been given us to use in God's service, and he desires that we shall care for and appreciate them. We are possessed of physical as well as mental faculties. Our impulses and passions have their seat in the body, and therefore we must do nothing that would defile this entrusted possession. Our bodies must be kept in the best possible condition physically, and under the most spiritual influences, in order that we may make the best use of our talents. “Know ye not,” asks Paul, “that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” RH December 1, 1896, Art. A, par. 7

A misuse of the body shortens that period of time which God designs shall be used in his service. By allowing ourselves to form wrong habits, by keeping late hours, by gratifying appetite at the expense of health, we lay the foundation for feebleness. By neglecting to take physical exercise, by overworking mind or body, we unbalance the nervous system. Those who thus shorten their lives by disregarding nature's laws, are guilty of robbery toward God. We have no right to neglect or misuse the body, the mind, or the strength which should be used to offer God consecrated service. RH December 1, 1896, Art. A, par. 8

All should have an intelligent knowledge of the human frame, that they may keep their bodies in the condition necessary to do the work of the Lord. Those who form habits that weaken the nerve power and lessen the vigor of mind or body, make themselves inefficient for the work God has given them to do. On the other hand, a pure, healthy life is most favorable for the perfection of Christian character and for the development of the powers of mind and body. RH December 1, 1896, Art. A, par. 9

The law of temperance must control the life of every Christian. God is to be in all our thoughts; his glory is ever to be kept in view. We must break away from every influence that would captivate our thoughts and lead us from God. We are under sacred obligations to God so to govern our bodies and rule our appetites and passions that they will not lead us away from purity and holiness, or take our minds from the work God requires us to do. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” RH December 1, 1896, Art. A, par. 10

The uncertainty of life should teach us the necessity of working to the utmost of our ability to serve God and to be a blessing to our fellow men. No one is sure of a day. Accident, sickness, or death may come to us at any moment. None of us know how long our life will last; and while we have it in our possession, it should be most precious in our estimation. We are not our own; this life is not ours; and as the property of God, it is our duty, as far as possible, to keep our bodies free from disease. We are Christ's purchased possession, and we read in God's word, “His servants shall serve him.” Then let us devote our lives to his service. RH December 1, 1896, Art. A, par. 11

Our influence is given us by God. In whatever sphere of life we may be placed, it is our duty to use this gift for him, and to strengthen it. The first great secret to learn is that whatever degree of influence we possess, be it great or small, it will increase only by being used. RH December 1, 1896, Art. A, par. 12

We are God's servants, and individually we must yield ourselves to him; for he knows just what he would have us do, and just what position we can acceptably fill. As we act the part assigned us, he supplies, by his own power, the qualities essential for the place he wishes us to fill. The life that is dedicated to God will not be left to become the sport of Satan's temptations, or to be used as natural inclination may choose; for God co-operates with the one who strives to do his will. RH December 1, 1896, Art. A, par. 13

We must not attempt to shape circumstances for ourselves. Everything that has an evident tendency to dampen our zeal or devotion in the cause of God, must be avoided. Selfishness must be put away; for the love of God cannot dwell in the heart where self is enshrined. The inclinations which war against the holy principles of purity and godliness must be wholly given up. RH December 1, 1896, Art. A, par. 14

In our work for God, we often create many of our worries and trials by endeavoring to reach the world's standard. God would have us fix our eyes upon Jesus, and study his will. Christ calls to us: “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. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” The true believer is brought into close contact with the Redeemer. And if we preserve the meekness and lowliness of Christ, if we walk humbly by the side of the great Burden bearer, we receive his individuality, and work in his lines, and by the influence that we exert, others are drawn to him. RH December 1, 1896, Art. A, par. 15

God is personally dealing with each one of us. Some may be given credit for natural energy of character, but God is the source whence all our capabilities spring. He has given us knowledge and endowments and opportunities, that by diligent use we may be better qualified to do the duties and bear the responsibilities that are required of us as his servants. We are to make the best use of the gifts he has bestowed upon us. They must not be allowed to weaken and decay through misuse or indolence on our part. The words of inspiration exhort us, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” As we use our endowments in God's service, we become one with Christ. Our responsibility is then his, and he strengthens us for service. RH December 1, 1896, Art. A, par. 16

We may add to our talents by improving those we already have. The Lord expects us to gain knowledge, to increase our ability, and to improve our talents; but we can never do this if we allow our minds to be molded by worldly surroundings. Only by obedience to God's plans can we fulfil his design for us. “Giving all diligence,” writes the apostle Peter, “add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” RH December 1, 1896, Art. A, par. 17

As we work on the plan of addition, we shall find that God is working for us on the still broader plan of multiplication; for he says, “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” RH December 1, 1896, Art. A, par. 18

All are to stand as minutemen, ready for service at a moment's warning. From hour to hour, in your varied life, opportunities to serve God will open before you. These opportunities will constantly come and go. Be ever ready to make the most of them. The opportunity to speak in the hearing of some needy soul the word of life may never offer itself again; therefore let no one venture to say, “I pray thee have me excused.” Lose no opportunity that offers itself to hold forth the word of life, to make known to others “the unsearchable riches of Christ;” for opportunities neglected may soon be forever beyond recall. RH December 1, 1896, Art. A, par. 19

Every true Christian will be ready for instant action, not depending on his own ability, but trusting in God. He will be instant in season and out of season. At all times and in all places he will be ready to speak, to pray, or to sing to the praise of God. He will use his influence only for the Master. His sanctified energies and endowments will be employed in exalting the Lord Jesus, in magnifying the truth, and in extending the interests of the kingdom of God. RH December 1, 1896, Art. A, par. 20