The Review and Herald


June 26, 1894

Parable of the Rich Man



God has made men his stewards, and he is not to be charged with the sufferings, the misery, the nakedness, and the want of humanity. The Lord has made ample provision for all. He has given to thousands of men large supplies with which to alleviate the want of their fellows; but those whom God has made stewards have not stood the test; for they have failed to relieve the suffering and the needy. When men who have been abundantly blessed of heaven with large wealth fail to carry out God's design, and do not relieve the poor and the oppressed, the Lord is displeased and will surely visit them. They have no excuse for withholding from their neighbors the help that God has put it into their power to provide; and God is dishonored, his character is misinterpreted by Satan, and he is represented as a stern judge who causes suffering to come upon the creatures he has made. This misrepresentation of God's character is made to appear as truth, and thus through the temptation of the enemy, men's hearts are hardened against God. Satan charges upon God the very evil he himself has caused men to commit by withholding their means from the suffering. He attributes to God his own characteristics. RH June 26, 1894, par. 1

If men would do their duty as faithful stewards of their Lord's goods, there would be no cry for bread, none suffering in destitution, none naked and in want. It is the unfaithfulness of men that brings about the state of suffering in which humanity is plunged. If those whom God has made stewards would but appropriate their Lord's goods to the object for which he gave to them, this state of suffering would not exist. The Lord tests men by giving them an abundance of good things, just as he tested the rich man of the parable. If we prove ourselves unfaithful in the [unrighteous] mammon, who shall intrust to us the true riches? It will be those who have stood the test on the earth, who have been found faithful, who have obeyed the words of the Lord in being merciful, in using their means for the advancement of his kingdom, that will hear from the lips of the Master, “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things.” RH June 26, 1894, par. 2

The psalmist says: “The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.” The Lord has claims upon every living soul, and those whom he blesses with means should help those who are not thus blessed. “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes, he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” The followers of Jesus are required to practice self-denial, to cultivate the same beneficent spirit that characterized our Lord. They are to remember the poor, and be kind and sympathetic to the sorrowing, and thus show that they are following in the footsteps of Jesus. “For he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.... Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” RH June 26, 1894, par. 3

We are in probationary time, placed here to develop character. We are to do good; for Christ went about doing good. He gave his life a ransom to save from ruin a wicked, fallen race. Let no one who has named the name of Christ, entertain the idea that selfishness and worldliness are in harmony with Christian character. Let no one imagine that he can live for self, spend money to please self, and yet have a place with Christ on his throne. “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.” “They that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in 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.” “For this ye know, that ... no covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” “The wicked boasteth of his heart's desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the Lord abhorreth.” RH June 26, 1894, par. 4

Angels of God are weighing moral worth. Avarice, worldliness, and covetousness are opposed to Christian benevolence. “Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first-fruits of all thine increase.” “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” RH June 26, 1894, par. 5

“Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rearward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; and if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drouth, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.” RH June 26, 1894, par. 6

The second commandment is like unto the first, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” We can love our neighbor as ourselves, only as we love God supremely. The love of God will bear fruit in love to our neighbors. Many think that it is impossible to love our neighbor as ourselves; but it is the only genuine fruit of Christianity. Love to others is putting on the Lord Jesus Christ; it is walking and working with the invisible world in view. We are thus to keep looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. RH June 26, 1894, par. 7

The solemn warning that was given to the foolish rich man, should be a sufficient warning for all men to the close of time. Lesson upon lesson was given by our Lord to take every one away from selfishness, and to establish close bonds of fellowship and brotherhood between man and man. He desired that the hearts of believers should be closely knit together in strong bonds of sympathy, so that there might be unity in himself. They are together to rejoice in hope of the glory of God, looking for eternal life through the virtue of Jesus Christ. If Christ is abiding in the heart, his love will diffuse itself to others through its possessor, and will bind heart to heart. The grace of Christ must be the sole dependence of the Christian, and when it is, he will love his brethren as Christ has loved him. Then he can say, “Come,” and beseech and woo souls, entreating them to be reconciled to God. His influence will be more and more decided, and he will devote his life to Christ, who was crucified for him. Where love is perfected, the law is kept, and self finds no place. Those who love God supremely, work, suffer, and live for him who gave his life for them. We can keep the law only through making the righteousness of Christ our own. Christ says, “Without me ye can do nothing.” When we receive the heavenly gift, the righteousness of Christ, we shall find that divine grace has been provided for us, and that human resources are powerless. Jesus gives the Holy Spirit in large measure for great emergencies, to help our infirmities, to give us strong consolation, to illuminate our minds, and purify and ennoble our hearts. Christ becomes unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. From the first to the last of the Christian life, not one successful step can be taken without Christ. He has sent his Spirit to be with us constantly, and by confiding in Christ to the uttermost, surrendering our will to him, we may follow him whithersoever he goeth. RH June 26, 1894, par. 8