Counsels on Stewardship
By Ellen G. White
Chapter 52 Aboiding Institutional Debts



God does not want His work to be continually embarrassed with debt. When it seems desirable to add to the buildings or other facilities of an institution, beware of going beyond your means. Better to defer the improvements until Providence shall open the way for them to be made without contracting heavy debts and having to pay interest.

The publishing houses have been made places of deposit by our people, and have thus been enabled to furnish means to support branches of the work in different fields, and have aided in carrying other enterprises. This is well. None too much has been done in these lines. The Lord sees it all. But, from the light He has given me, every effort should be made to stand free from debt.

In the Publishing House


The publishing work was founded in self-denial, and should be conducted upon strictly economical principles. The question of finance can be managed, if, when there is a pressure for means, the workers will consent to a reduction in wages. This was the principle the Lord revealed to me to be brought into our institutions. When money is scarce, we should be willing to restrict our wants.

Let the proper estimate be placed upon the publications, and then let all in our publishing houses study to economize in every possible way, even though considerable inconvenience is thus caused. Watch the little outgoes. Stop every leak. It is the little losses that tell heavily in the end. Gather up the fragments; let nothing be lost. Waste not the minutes in talking; wasted minutes mar the hours. Persevering diligence, working in faith, will always be crowned with success.

Some think it beneath their dignity to look after small things. They think it the evidence of a narrow mind and a niggardly spirit. But small leaks have sunk many a ship. Nothing that would serve the purpose of any should be allowed to waste. A lack of economy will surely bring debt upon our institutions. Although much money may be received, it will be lost in the little wastes of every branch of the work. Economy is not stinginess.

Every man or woman employed in the publishing house should be a faithful sentinel, watching that nothing be wasted. All should guard against supposed wants that require an expenditure of means. Some men live better on four hundred dollars a year than others do on eight hundred. Just so it is with our institutions; some persons can manage them with far less capital than others can. God desires all the workers to practice economy, and especially to be faithful accountants.--7T 206, 207.

Saving Expense Through Careful Sanitarium Management


Those connected with our institutions need to study how to save expense, so that the institutions shall not become involved in debt. Wisdom must be shown in the matter of purchasing. Money must be made to go as far as possible. By careful management, many dollars may be saved.

Expenditures should not be made unless they are warranted by the means in hand. There are those  connected with our institutions who incur debts that might be avoided. Perhaps unnecessary expense is entailed to beautify the building. Money is often used to gratify taste and inclination.

Every Worker to be a Producer


Let everyone now strive with courage and activity to save rather than to spend. Say to those who are willing to consume without producing, It is my duty to economize in every line. I cannot encourage extravagance. I cannot let means go out of my hands to purchase that which is not needed.

From the highest to the lowest, God's workmen are to study to economize. Let each one say to himself, I  am to restrain in myself any inclination to spend means unnecessarily. Let those who work in God's service be producers as well as consumers. Look at the greatness of the work, and restrain the unchristian inclination to spend money for self-gratification. Count the cost of the thing you desire to buy.

This is an excellent opportunity for everyone to stand in his lot and in his place. Let each one try to produce something. Those in God's work should be willing to help wherever help is needed. They should make their expenditures as few as possible; for  necessities will arise where every dollar will be needed to carry forward the Lord's work.

The employment of helpers, for indoor and outdoor work, is a matter that needs careful consideration. The managers of our institutions are to be careful and prudent. They should not engage large numbers of helpers unless it is a positive necessity. In this matter mistakes are often made.

Employees a Part of the Firm


The helpers in our institutions should act as though they were a part of the firm. They should not think that they must work only for a certain number of hours each day. When emergencies arise, and extra help is needed, they should respond willingly and cheerfully. They should feel an intense interest in the success of the institution for which they are working. Thus others are encouraged to work interestedly and conscientiously.

Christ said, "Gather up the fragments, that nothing be lost." Let those who act any part in our institutions heed this instruction. Let them take care that there is no waste in the spiritual and temporal supplies which the Lord provides. Economy is to be learned by the educators and taught to the helpers. And by precept and example parents should teach their children the science of making a small amount go as far as possible. Many poor families are poor because they spend their money as soon as they receive it.

The one who occupies the position of cook in a sanitarium should be trained to habits of economy. He should realize that no food is to be wasted.

"Not Slothful in Business"


The word of inspiration tells us that we are to be "not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord." Let all who are connected with our sanitariums take hold of their work interestedly and earnestly. If helpers have not learned the science of being quick, let them begin at once to train themselves in this line, or else consent that their wages shall be proportionate to the amount of work done. Every day nurses and helpers should become more efficient, more all-round and helpful. They can individually help themselves to reach a higher and still higher standard as the Lord's helping hand. Let those who are naturally slow train themselves day by day to do their work more quickly, and at the same time carefully. . . .

Those who receive pay for their labor should put in good time. They should be producers as well as consumers. As they obtain an education in these lines, they will become more and more able to do perfectly the work assigned to them. They will be ready to take hold of the work in any place.--Letter 87, 1901.

Economy in School Management


Economy must be practiced in every line to keep afloat, and not be drowned with debts; but there is to be an increase in the sum paid for tuition. This was presented to me while in Europe, and has been presented since to you and our schools. And the problem, "How shall our schools keep out of debt?" will always remain a problem until there are wiser calculations. Charge higher rates for students' educational advantages, and then let persons have the management in cooking who know how to save and economize. Let the best talent be secured, even if good, reasonable wages have to be paid. The binding about the edges is essential. When these precautions are attended to, you will not have increasing debts in your schools. . . .


The Students to Cooperate


Some will say, "We shall have fewer students." This may be; but those that you do have will appreciate their time, and see the necessity of diligent work to qualify them for the positions they must fill. If the Lord is kept ever before the students as the One to whom they should look for counsel, like Daniel, they will receive of Him knowledge and wisdom. All will then become channels of light. Lay the matter before the students themselves. Inquire who of them will practice self-denial and make sacrifice to cancel the debt already incurred. With some students only the willing mind is needed.

God help the managers of our schools never to allow the outgo to exceed the income, if the school has to be closed. There has not been the talent that is needed in the management of our schools financially. These things God will require of the managers. Every needless, expensive habit is to be laid aside, every unnecessary indulgence cut away. When the principles so manifestly indicated by the word of God to all schools, are taken hold of as earnestly as they should be, the debts will not accumulate.--Letter 137, 1898.

Guarding School Finance


Especially should the president of a school look carefully after the finances of the institution. He should understand the underlying principles of bookkeeping. He is faithfully to report the use of all monies passing through his hands for the use of the school. The funds of the school are not to be overdrawn, but every effort is to be made to increase the usefulness of the school. Those entrusted with the financial management of our educational institutions, must allow no carelessness in the expenditure of means. Everything connected with the finances of our schools should be perfectly straight. The Lord's way must be strictly followed, though this may not be in harmony with the ways of man. . . .

If you are tempted to appropriate the money coming into the school, in ways that bring no special benefit to the school, your standard of principle needs to be carefully criticized, that the time may not come when you will have to be criticized and found wanting. Who is your bookkeeper? Who is your treasurer? Who is your business manager? Are they careful and competent? Look to this. It is possible for money to be misappropriated, without anyone's understanding clearly how it came about; and it is possible for a school to be losing continually because of unwise expenditures. Those in charge may feel this loss keenly, and yet suppose they have done their best. But why do they permit debts to accumulate? Let those in charge of a school find out each month the true financial standing of the school.--MS 65, 1906.


Shun Debt as Leprosy


Economy should be exercised in everything connected with the school. Those who come to the school generally leave homes that are unadorned, where they have been accustomed to eat simple food without a number of courses. They are accustomed to plain, hearty food at noon. It would be better for all to have only a simple evening meal. There must be a strict regard to economy or a heavy debt will be incurred. Keep within bounds. Shun the incurring of debt as you would shun leprosy.--Letter 60, 1896.

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