The Review and Herald

343/1902

February 23, 1886

What Shall We Answer?

EGW

Jesus warned the people, “Take heed, and beware of covetousness; for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully; and he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee; then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” He then addressed his disciples, “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. RH February 23, 1886, par. 1

These warnings are given for the benefit of all. Will they be benefited? Will they improve the warnings given? Will they regard these striking illustrations of our Saviour, and shun the example of the foolish rich man? He had abundance; so have many who profess to believe the truth, and they are acting again the case of the poor foolish rich man. Oh that they would be wise, and feel the obligations resting upon them to use the blessings God has given them in blessing others, instead of turning these blessings into a curse! God will say to all such, as to the foolish rich man, “Thou fool.” RH February 23, 1886, par. 2

Men act as though they were bereft of their reason. They are buried up in the cares of this life. They have no time to devote to God, no time to serve him. Work, work, work, is the order of the day. All about them are required to go upon the high-pressure plan, to take care of large farms. To tear down and build greater is their ambition, that they may have room wherein to bestow their goods. Yet these very men who are weighed down with their riches, pass for Christ's followers. They have the name of believing that Christ is soon to come, that the end of all things is at hand; yet they have no spirit of sacrifice. They are plunging deeper and deeper into the world. They allow themselves but little time to study the word of life, and to meditate and pray. Neither do they give others in their family, or those who serve them, this privilege. Yet these men profess to believe that this world is not their home—that they are merely pilgrims and strangers upon the earth, preparing to move to a better country. The example and influence of all such is a curse to the cause of God. Hollow hypocrisy characterizes their professed Christian life. They love God and the truth just as much as their works show, and no more. A man will act out all the faith he has. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” The heart is where the treasure is. Their treasure is upon this earth, and their heart and interests are here. RH February 23, 1886, par. 3

“What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and hath not works? Can faith save him?” “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” When those who profess the faith show their lives to be consistent with their faith, then we shall see a power attending the presentation of the truth, that will convict the sinner, and draw souls nigh to Christ. RH February 23, 1886, par. 4

A consistent faith is rare among rich men. Genuine faith, sustained by works, is rare. But all who possess this faith will be men who will not lack influence. They will copy after Christ in that disinterested benevolence and interest in the work of saving souls that he had. The followers of Christ should value souls as he valued them. Their sympathies should be with the work of their dear Redeemer, and they should labor to save the purchase of his blood at any sacrifice. What are money, houses, and lands, in comparison with even one soul? RH February 23, 1886, par. 5

Christ made a full and complete sacrifice, sufficient to save every son and daughter of Adam who should show repentance toward God because they have transgressed his law, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Yet notwithstanding that the sacrifice was ample, but few consent to a life of obedience, that they may have this great salvation. But few are willing to imitate his amazing privations, and endure his sufferings, and his persecutions, and share his exhausting labor to bring others to the light. But few will follow the example of our Saviour in earnest, frequent prayer to God for strength to endure the trials, and to perform the daily duties, of this life. Christ is the captain of our salvation, and by his own sufferings and sacrifice, has given an example to all his followers, that watchfulness and prayer and persevering effort were necessary on their part if they would rightly represent the love which dwelt in his bosom for the fallen race. RH February 23, 1886, par. 6

Men of property are dying spiritually because of their neglect to use the means God has placed in their hands to aid in saving their fellow-men. Some become aroused at times, and resolve that they will make to themselves friends with the unrighteous mammon, that they may finally be received into everlasting habitations. But their efforts in this direction are not thorough. They commence, but not being heartily, earnestly, and thoroughly in the work, they make a failure. They are not rich in good works. While lingeringly retaining their love and grasp of their earthly treasures, Satan outgenerals them. RH February 23, 1886, par. 7

Some who have been intrusted with only one talent, excuse themselves because they have not as large a number of talents as those to whom are intrusted many talents. They, like the unfaithful steward, hide the one talent in the earth. They are afraid to render to God that which he has intrusted to them. They engage in worldly enterprises, but invest little, if anything, in the cause of God. They expect those who have large talents, to bear the burden of the work, while they feel that they are not responsible for its success and advancement. RH February 23, 1886, par. 8

When the Master comes to make an investigation of his servants, in confusion the unwise servants acknowledge, “I knew thee that thou art a hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strewed; and I was afraid [afraid of what?—That the Lord would claim some portion of the small talent intrusted to him.], and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou has that is thine.” His Lord answered, “Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strewed; thou oughtest, therefore, to have put my money to the exchangers, and then, at my coming, I should have received mine own with usury. Take, therefore, the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath, shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but from him that hath not, shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” RH February 23, 1886, par. 9

Many who have but little of this world, are represented by the man with one talent. They are afraid to trust God. They are afraid that God will require something they claim to be their own. They hide their talent in the earth, fearing to invest it anywhere, lest they be called to give back the improvements to God. Instead of putting out the talent to the exchangers as God required, they bury it, or hide it, where neither God nor man can be benefited with it. Many who are professing to love the truth, are doing this very work. They are deceiving their own souls; for Satan has blinded their eyes. In robbing God, they have robbed themselves more. They have deprived themselves of the heavenly treasure through their covetousness, and because of their evil heart of unbelief. Because they have but one talent, they are afraid to trust it with God, and they hide it in the earth. They feel relieved of responsibility. They love to see the truth progress, but do not think that they are called upon to practice self-denial, and aid in the work through their own individual effort and with their means, although they have not a large amount. RH February 23, 1886, par. 10

All should do something. The case of the widow who cast in her two mites, is placed upon record for the benefit of others. Christ commended her for the sacrifice she made. He calls the attention of his disciples to the act of the widow: “Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in than all they which have cast into the treasury; for all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.” Christ esteemed her gift more valuable than the large offerings of the most wealthy. They gave of their abundance. They would not feel the least privation because of their offerings. The widow, to do her little, had deprived herself of even the necessaries of life. She could not see how her future needs were to be supplied. She had no husband to support her in want. She trusted God for the morrow. The value of the gift is not estimated so much by the amount as by the proportion that is given, and the motive that prompts the gift. When Christ shall come, whose reward is with him, he will give every man according as his work shall be. RH February 23, 1886, par. 11

All, both high and low, rich and poor, have been trusted by the Master with talents; some more, and some less, according to their several ability. The blessing of God will rest upon the earnest, loving, diligent workers. Their investment will be successful, and will secure souls to the kingdom of God, and for themselves an immortal treasure. All are moral agents, and are intrusted with the goods of heaven. The amount of talents is proportioned according to the capabilities possessed by each. RH February 23, 1886, par. 12

God gives to every man his work, and he expects corresponding returns, according to their various trusts. He does not require the increase from ten talents of the man to whom he has given only one talent. He does not expect the man of poverty to give alms as the man who has riches. He does not expect of the feeble and suffering, the activity and strength which the healthy man has. The one talent, used to the best account, God will accept “according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” RH February 23, 1886, par. 13

God calls us servants, which implies that we are employed by him to do a certain work, and to bear responsibilities. He has lent us capital for investment. It is not our property; and we displease God if we hoard up, or spend as we choose, our Lord's goods. We are responsible for the use or abuse of that which God has thus lent us. If this capital which the Lord has placed in our hands lies dormant, or we bury it in the earth, be it only one talent, we shall be called to an account by the Master. He requires, not ours, but his own, with usury. RH February 23, 1886, par. 14

Every talent which returns to the Master, will be scrutinized. The doings and trusts of God's servants will not be considered an unimportant matter. Every individual will be dealt with personally, and will be required to give an account of the talents intrusted to him, whether he has improved or abused them. The reward bestowed will be proportionate to the talents improved. The punishment awarded will be according as the talents have been abused. RH February 23, 1886, par. 15

The inquiry of each one should be, What have I of my Lord's? and how shall I use it to his glory? “Occupy,” says Christ, “till I come.” The heavenly Master is on his journey. Our gracious opportunity is now. The talents are in our hands. Shall we use them to God's glory? or shall we abuse them? We trade with them today; but tomorrow our probation may end, and our account be forever fixed. RH February 23, 1886, par. 16

If our talents are invested for the salvation of our fellow-men, God will be glorified. Pride and position are made apologies for extravagance, vain show, ambition, and profligate selfishness. The Lord's talents, lent to a man as a precious blessing, will, if abused, reflect back upon him a terrible curse. Riches may be used by us to advance the cause of God, and to relieve the wants of the widow and the fatherless. In thus doing, we gather to ourselves rich blessings; not only in expressions of gratitude from the recipients of our bounties, but the Lord himself, who has placed the means in our hands for this very purpose, will make our souls like a watered garden, whose waters fail not. When the reaping time shall come, who of us will have the inexpressible joy of seeing the sheaves we have gathered, as a recompense of our fidelity and our unselfish use of the talents the Lord has placed in our hands to use for his glory? RH February 23, 1886, par. 17