Counsels on Stewardship
By Ellen G. White
Chapter 29 Methods of Acquiring Wealth



There are those, even among Seventh-day Adventists, who are under the reproof of the word of God, because of the way they acquired their property and use it, acting as if they owned it, and created it, without an eye to the glory of God, and without earnest prayer to direct them in acquiring or using it. They are grasping at a serpent, which will sting them as an adder.

Of God's people He says, "Her merchandise and her hire shall be holiness to the Lord: it shall not be treasured nor laid up." But many who profess to believe the truth do not want God in their thoughts, any more than did the antediluvians or Sodomites. One sensible thought of God, awakened by the Holy Spirit, would spoil all their schemes. Self, self, self, has been their god, their alpha and their omega.

Christians are safe only in acquiring money as God directs, and using it in channels which He can bless. God permits us to use His goods with an eye single to His glory, to bless ourselves, that we may bless others. Those who have adopted the world's maxim, and discarded God's specifications, who grasp all they can obtain of wages or goods, are poor, poor indeed, because the frown of God is upon them. They walk in paths of their own choosing, and do dishonor to God, to truth, to His goodness, to His mercy, His character.

Now, in probationary time, we are all on test and trial. Satan is working with his deceiving enchantments and bribes, and some will think that by their schemes they have made a wonderful speculation. But lo, as they thought they were rising securely, and were carrying themselves loftily in selfishness, they learned that God can scatter faster than they can gather.-- TM 335, 336.

Integrity in Business


As we deal with our fellow men in petty dishonesty, or in more daring fraud, so will we deal with God. Men who persist in a course of dishonesty will carry out their principles until they cheat their own souls, and lose heaven and eternal life. They will sacrifice honor and religion for a small worldly advantage. There are such men right in our own ranks, and they will have to experience what it is to be born again, or they cannot see the kingdom of God. Honesty should stamp every action of our lives. Heavenly angels examine the work that is put into our hands; and where there has been a departure from the principles of truth, "wanting" is written in the records.

Says Jesus, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal." Treasures are those things which engross the mind, and absorb the attention, to the exclusion of God and the truth.

The love of money, which prompts the acquisition of earthly treasure, was the ruling passion in the Jewish age. High and eternal considerations were made subordinate to the considerations of securing earthly wealth and influence. Worldliness usurped the place of God and religion in the soul. Avaricious greed for wealth exerted such a fascinating, bewitching influence over the life, that it resulted in perverting the nobility, and corrupting the humanity of men, until they were drowned in perdition. Our Saviour gave a decided warning against hoarding up the treasures of earth.

All branches of business, all manner of employments, are under the eye of God; and every Christian has been given ability to do something in the cause of the Master. Whether engaged in business in the field, in the warehouse, or in the counting room, men will be held responsible to God for the wise and honest employment of their talents. They are just as accountable to God for their work, as the minister who labors in word and doctrine is for his. If men acquire property in a manner that is not approved by the word of God, they obtain it at a sacrifice of the principles of honesty. An inordinate desire for gain will lead even the professed followers of Christ into imitation of the customs of the world. They will be influenced to dishonor their religion, by overreaching in trade, oppressing the widow and the orphan, and turning away the stranger from his right.--R. & H., Sept. 18, 1888.

Intelligence and Purity in Every Transaction


Holiness to the Lord was the great characteristic of the Redeemer's life on earth, and it is His will that this shall characterize the lives of His followers. His workers are to labor with unselfishness and faithfulness, and with reference to the usefulness and influence of every other worker. Intelligence and purity are to mark all their work, all their business transactions. He is the light of the world. In His work there are to be no dark corners where dishonest deeds are done. Injustice is in the highest degree displeasing to God.-- R. & H., June 24, 1902.

Temptation Resisted


God is very particular that all who profess to serve Him shall manifest the superiority of right principles. By the true follower of Christ every business transaction will be regarded as a part of his religion, just as prayer is a part of his religion. . . .

Satan is offering to every soul the kingdoms of this world in return for the carrying out of his will. This was the great inducement he presented to Christ in the wilderness of temptation. And so he says to many of Christ's followers. If you will follow my business methods, I will reward you with wealth. Every Christian is at some time brought to the test which will reveal his weak points of character. If the temptation is resisted, precious victories are gained. He must choose whether he will serve Christ or become a follower of the deceiver, and a worshiper of him.-- Signs, Feb. 24, 1909.

The Registry in Heaven's Ledger


The customs of the world are no criterion for the Christian. He is not to imitate its sharp practices, its overreaching, its extortion. Every unjust act toward a fellow being is a violation of the golden rule. Every wrong done to the children of God, is done to Christ Himself in the person of His saints. Every attempt to take advantage of the ignorance, weakness, or misfortune of another, is registered as fraud in the ledger of heaven. He who truly fears God, would rather toil day and night, and eat the bread of poverty, than to indulge the passion for gain that oppresses the widow and fatherless or turns the stranger from his right.

The slightest departure from rectitude breaks down the barriers, and prepares the heart to do greater injustice. Just to that extent that a man would gain advantage for himself at the disadvantage of another, will his soul become insensible to the influence of the Spirit of God. Gain obtained at such a cost is a fearful loss.--PK 651, 652.

A Sacrifice of Principle


We often see men who stand high in positions of trust, as Christ's followers, but who have made shipwreck of faith. A temptation comes to them and they sacrifice principle and their religious advantages to secure a coveted earthly treasure. The bait of Satan is taken. Christ conquered, thus making it possible for man to conquer also; but man places himself under the leadership of the god of this world, and steps from beneath the banner of Jesus Christ into the ranks of the enemy. All his powers are devoted to gain, and he worships other gods before the Lord.

The worldly man is not content with a present sufficiency, or with even an abundance. He is always aiming to possess a larger stock, and turns every thought, every power, in this direction.--R. & H., March 1, 1887.

Close and Selfish Dealing


I appeal to my brethren in faith, and urge them to cultivate tenderness of heart. Whatever may be your calling or position, if you cherish selfishness and covetousness, the displeasure of the Lord will be upon you. Do not make the work and cause of God an excuse for dealing closely and selfishly with anyone, even if transacting business that has to do with His work. God will accept nothing in the line of gain that is brought into His treasury through selfish transactions. Every act in connection with His work is to bear divine inspection. Every sharp transaction, every attempt to take advantage of a man who is under pressure of circumstances, every plan to purchase his land or property for a sum beneath its value, will not be acceptable to God, even though the money gained is made an offering to His cause. The price of the blood of the only-begotten Son of God has been paid for every man, and it is necessary to deal honestly, to deal with equity with every man, in order to carry out the principles of the law of God. . . .

If a brother who has labored disinterestedly for the cause of God, becomes enfeebled in body, and is unable to do his work, let him not be dismissed and be obliged to get along the best way he can. Give him wages sufficient to support him; for remember he belongs to God's family, and that you are all brethren. --R. & H., Dec. 18, 1894.

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