The Review and Herald

915/1902

January 11, 1898

Christian Benevolence—No. 2

EGW

Those who are yoked up with Christ will not give with a patronizing air, as though they should have great praise for their benevolence. They will realize that they are trading in their Lord's goods, not their own, and that they will have to give an account, in the Judgment, of the use they have made of their entrusted capital. Those truly love their neighbor as themselves who realize their responsibilities and the claims that suffering humanity has upon them, and carry out the principles of God's law in the daily life. RH January 11, 1898, par. 1

It is not God's plan at all that the rich should give gifts to those who have abundance. It is the distressed, the downtrodden, the discouraged, the hungry, the suffering, the naked, the poor, of whom Christ says, “Ye have the poor always with you.” We need to take closer views of God's word and of eternity. This will not disqualify any one for the duties of life, or to act a Christlike part in society. The gospel of Christ is not only to be believed, but to be acted. We are to be doers of the word. We are daily determining our destiny in the future life by the character we develop in this. RH January 11, 1898, par. 2

Jesus, the world's Redeemer, laid off his royal crown, laid aside his royal robe, and clothed his divinity with humanity; though adored and worshiped by the angelic host, he left his high command, and for our sake became poor, that we, through his poverty, might be made rich. This is not riches in houses and lands, but the riches which will endure unto eternal life. RH January 11, 1898, par. 3

Christ penetrated into the very inner circles of life. He sought to arrest the actors in domestic life, in the midst of their household cares, and call their attention to the fact that they had eternal interests to secure. He told them: Your various endowments are so many talents. These the Lord has entrusted to you to be improved, and by their use to gain other talents. They will increase through constant exercise. God has made men almoners of his providence, to use wisely the entrusted capital, as well as the endowments of his grace, to do all the good they possibly can, and thus constitute themselves wise, faithful stewards, laborers together with God, to reshape characters, and to elevate and help those who need help. RH January 11, 1898, par. 4

The command is given, Work while the day lasts: the night cometh, when no man can work. Jesus asks, “Are there not twelve hours in the day.” If these hours were employed as if men realized that they were accountable human beings, responsible before God, as serious, candid, heaven-bought subjects, keeping eternity in view, there would be sufficient time to secure for every soul an inheritance among the sanctified in the kingdom of God. There would be time for each one to be instrumental in the saving of many souls through precept and example. But we have no time to waste, no time to devote to selfish pleasure-loving, no time to give to the indulgence of sin. Time is golden. We have characters to form for the future, immortal life. Angels of God are watching our development of character; they are weighing moral worth. RH January 11, 1898, par. 5

It is said that one of earth's rulers, when told by the physician that he could live but a few moments, exclaimed, “A kingdom for one hour's time!” Year after year he had been granted the twelve hours of the day, but he had not spent them in securing his eternal interests. RH January 11, 1898, par. 6

Christ points out to us that which he expects us to do. He has given us a glimpse of eternity, that we may realize that there is something higher than temporal things to engage our attention, and call into activity all our delegated powers. They must be used to glorify our Redeemer. Christ calls for the human agents to co-operate with the divine agencies in saving the world. Not one is to feel that he can use his time as he chooses. Heavenly requirements are not to be ignored. RH January 11, 1898, par. 7

It is the almost universal practise of men to subordinate the eternal to the temporal; the claims of the future, the unseen, to the common affairs of the present. But Christ declares, “Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.” “No man can serve two masters.” The god of this world claims wonderful activity and constant slavery to his will. Christ, the uplifted Saviour, calls men to look and live. He declares, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness,” he declares, and all needed things of secondary importance “shall be added unto you.” RH January 11, 1898, par. 8

If the churches that have had great light and great opportunities will walk humbly with God, the Lord will give every member a work to do for him. If you make no success in the highways, go into the byways, to those who are poor, despised, and forsaken. If you work for them while mounted upon the stilts of your dignity and superiority, you will accomplish nothing; but if you will be truly converted to the Lord Jesus Christ, and learn of him who is meek and lowly in heart, you will show that you have learned how to work the works of God. This is the work of God, that you believe on him whom he hath sent, that you go to him for counsel and instruction, and pray, and watch, and work. RH January 11, 1898, par. 9

Waste nothing in your life practise. Jesus worked a miracle to feed the five thousand tired people. He selected a pleasant place for them,—for “there was much grass in that place,”—and gave his orders, commanding them to sit down. Then he took the five loaves and two small fishes. No doubt many remarks were made as to the impossibility of satisfying five thousand hungry men, besides women and children, from that scanty store. Then Jesus gave thanks, and placed the food in the hands of his disciples, to distribute to the multitude. The food increased in the hands of Christ, and as often as the disciples returned to him, they received a fresh supply. RH January 11, 1898, par. 10

Here is a lesson to be learned. Blessings, either spiritual or temporal, will accompany those who impart to the multitudes that are in need of these gifts. In the act of imparting, an increase is given of God. RH January 11, 1898, par. 11

The necessities of the great multitude were supplied. Then came the words of Christ. “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.” He who had all reserves at his command gave a lesson that not a fragment should be wasted. He who has plenty should not waste. Let nothing be wasted that can do good to any one. Collect every fragment; for some one will need it. RH January 11, 1898, par. 12

The souls of the poor are of just as much value in the sight of God as are the souls of the rich. Then labor for those who need your help, although you may receive very little sympathy from those who are prosperous. Christ says, “Freely ye have received, freely give.” RH January 11, 1898, par. 13

In every large city there are human beings who are not cared for, and are made of less consideration than the brutes. Moral degradation meets the eye and pains the senses. Human beings live in dark cellars, in houses that are reeking with dampness and filth. Children are born in these terrible places. Through the years of infancy and youth, their eyes behold nothing attractive; nothing of the beauty of nature cheers their vision. They hear the name of God only in profanity. RH January 11, 1898, par. 14

These children are allowed to grow up molded and fashioned in character by low precepts, disagreeable surroundings, and wretched examples. Impure words and the fumes of liquor greet the senses. Want and wretchedness are on every hand, because of the insufficient and miserable food, which is unfit for human beings to subsist upon; and from these abodes of want there are sent forth piteous cries for food and clothing by many who know nothing about prayer. RH January 11, 1898, par. 15

Christians, will you consider that Jesus gave his life to save these souls? Will you not co-operate with him in this great work? It is not fitful service that God accepts; it is not emotional spasms of piety that make us children of God. He calls upon us to work for principles that are true, firm, and abiding. If Christ is formed within, the hope of glory, he will be revealed in the character, it will be Christlike. We are to represent Christ to the world, as Christ represented the Father. RH January 11, 1898, par. 16