The Signs of the Times


January 21, 1897

“Your Reasonable Service”


“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. And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” We are not our own. By creation and by redemption we belong to God. The clay out of which we are formed is his production; and “hath not the potter power over the clay?” Not only this, but we have been bought with a price, even “with the precious blood of Christ.” The great Master Artist alone is the rightful owner of the work of his hands; and he has a claim on our willing service; “for in him we live, and move, and have our being.” ST January 21, 1897, par. 1

“The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” The cattle upon a thousand hills are his; all the gold and silver belong to him. He has made men the stewards of his goods. To some he has intrusted special talent; to others worldly possessions. All have some capacity of usefulness. These talents are given that they may be used to honor and glorify God. He claims our time; for it is his. Our strength should be used in his service; our intellect and our means should be given willingly to him. ST January 21, 1897, par. 2

God has not given men talents capriciously. He who knows all things, who is acquainted with each one, has given to every man his work. Those to whom he has intrusted much are not to boast, for what they possess is not their own; it is lent them on trial; and the greater the endowment, the greater the returns required. Day by day God is testing men, to see whether they will acknowledge him as the giver of all that they have. He watches to see whether they will prove themselves worthy of eternal riches. The use they make of their precious endowments, decides their destiny for eternity. ST January 21, 1897, par. 3

Of all the gifts that God has bestowed upon men, none is capable of being a greater blessing than the gift of speech. With the tongue we convince and persuade; with it we offer prayer and praise to God; and with it we tell others of the Redeemer's love. God would have us consecrate this gift to his service, speaking only such words as will help those around us. And if Christ rules in our hearts, our words will reveal the purity, beauty, and fragrance of a character molded and fashioned by him. But if we are under the guidance of the enemy of all good, our words will echo his sentiments. Watch well your words. Consecrate your gift of speech to the Lord's service; for he will one day require it at your hands. ST January 21, 1897, par. 4

Every one of us exerts an influence on those with whom we come in contact. This influence we have from God, and we are responsible for the way it is used. God designs that it shall tell on the side of right; but it rests with each one of us to decide whether our influence shall be pure and elevating, or whether it shall act as a poisonous malaria. Those who are partakers of the divine nature exert an influence that is Christlike. Holy angels attend them on their way, and all with whom they come in contact are helped and blessed. But those who do not receive Christ as their personal Saviour can not influence others for good. Whatever their station in life, they carry with them an influence that Satan uses in his service. Such lose all hope of eternal life themselves, and by their example lead others astray. Guard well your influence; it is “your reasonable service” to place it on the Lord's side. ST January 21, 1897, par. 5

God also intrusts men with means, not to be used selfishly. He desires that his gifts be used to help those who need assistance. He gives men power to get wealth. He waters the earth with the dew of heaven and with the showers of refreshing rain. He gives the sunlight, which warms the earth, awakening to life the things of nature, and causing them to flourish and bear fruit. Is it too much for him to ask for a return of his own? ST January 21, 1897, par. 6

God permits misfortune to come to men, adversity to try them, in order that he may test those whom he has placed in more favorable circumstances. If his stewards are faithful, he declares them worthy to walk with him in white. But if they use his gifts solely for their own benefit, it will be said to them, “If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your care the true riches?” ST January 21, 1897, par. 7

Many, instead of consecrating their means to God s service, look upon their money as their own, and say that they have a right to use it as they please. Like the inhabitants of the Noatic world, they use God's gifts in their own service. Even some who profess to know and love the Lord do this. God has revealed his will to them. He has called upon them to surrender all that they have to him; but the love of the world has perverted their will, and hardened their hearts. They refuse to obey him to whom they owe all that they have. Regardless of his call, they clasp their treasures in their arms, forgetting that the Giver has any claim upon them. Thus the blessings given by God are turned into a curse, because a wrong use is made of them. ST January 21, 1897, par. 8

Christ understood the danger of the love of money; for he said, “How hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!” He looked with sorrow upon the enthusiasm shown for the things that perish, and, lifting the curtain that veiled eternity from view, he declared, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness.” “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” Today he calls upon us to give close attention to our eternal interests. He would have us subordinate every earthly interest to his service. “For what shall it profit a man,” he asks, “if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” ST January 21, 1897, par. 9

God's right to our service is measured by the infinite sacrifice he has made for our salvation. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” For our sake Christ lived a life of sorrow and privation. He was pure and holy, yet on him was laid the iniquity of us all. He gave relief to the afflicted; yet he himself was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” With a touch of his hand he healed the sick; yet he suffered grievous bodily pain. He cast out demons with a word, and delivered those bound by Satan's temptations; yet temptations such as have never beset any man assailed him. He raised the dead by his power; yet he suffered the agony of a most terrible death. ST January 21, 1897, par. 10

All this Christ suffered for us. What are we giving him in return? He, the Majesty of heaven, submitted patiently to scorn and insult. Can we complain if the service of God requires patience and self-denial? He who laid the foundations of the world consented to become a servant for our sake; and with his own footsteps smoothed the rough path for our feet. Should we look upon any sacrifice as too great? Should we hesitate to render to God our reasonable service? ST January 21, 1897, par. 11

There is no religion in the enthronement of self. God asks us to be true to him, to trade upon the talents he has given us, that we may gain others. His will must be made our will in all things. Any departure from this standard degrades our moral nature. It may result in lifting us up, in enriching us, and in seating us beside princes; but in the eyes of God we are unclean and unholy. We have sold our birthright for selfish interest and gain, and in the books of heaven it is written of us, Weighed in the balances of the sanctuary, and found wanting. ST January 21, 1897, par. 12

But if we regard our talents as the Lord's gifts, and use them in his service by showing compassion and love toward our fellow-men, we are channels through which God's blessings flow to the world; and at the last great day we shall be greeted with the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” ST January 21, 1897, par. 13

Time, laden with precious, golden opportunities for serving the Lord, is fast passing into eternity. Dear reader, are you improving these opportunities as they pass? You can not afford to slight them; for you must stand before the judgment seat of God, to answer for the deeds done in the body. Do your words cheer and encourage those who come to you for help and comfort? Does your influence strengthen those with whom you associate? Are your possessions faithfully given to the Lord? ST January 21, 1897, par. 14

Consecrate yourself today to the Lord's service. Remember how brief is the period of life allotted to you. Say not presumptuously, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain.” God may have different plans for you. You have no lease of life in which to carry out your own purposes. Life is but a vapor that “appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” You know not how soon your hand may lose its cunning, your step its firmness. Cast your care upon the Lord, and on no account allow the things of the world to separate you from him. Consecrate all you have and are to him. This is but “your reasonable service.” Do not delay; for there is peril in a moment's delay. A few more years at the longest will be yours to work for the Master, and then the voice which you can not refuse to answer will be heard, saying, “Give an account of thy stewardship.” ST January 21, 1897, par. 15

Mrs. E. G. White